F3

AUSF3: Astuti Motorsport Oran Park race report

TOP FIVES FOR PAPPAS AT ORAN PARK Astuti Motorsport's Daniel Pappas has raced into the Top Five in his Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star return at Oran Park Raceway today. The weekend was Pappas' first drive...

TOP FIVES FOR PAPPAS AT ORAN PARK

Astuti Motorsport's Daniel Pappas has raced into the Top Five in his Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star return at Oran Park Raceway today.

The weekend was Pappas' first drive of a wings and slicks open-wheeler for over two-years, with the Queenslander taking a steady approach over the course of the weekend. Aboard the DiBella Coffee Renault-Sodemo Dallara F304, Pappas came to grips with the car and set the seventh and sixth fastest times in Qualifying 1 and 2 respectively.

"This weekend is about getting back into the swing of things in an open-wheeler," said Pappas.

"I'm working towards an opportunity to get involved with the Greek A1 Grand Prix team, I have a Greek passport, and getting miles in an open-wheeler is important on that front.

"In every session we've been going quicker and quicker as I get more laps in the car. The car is awesome, I feel very comfortable in it and it's very smooth to drive. It's just getting used to the feeling of driving wings and slicks again."

Keen to continue the progression, Pappas lined up from seventh on the grid for Race 1, but encountered an early setback. He was among a number of drivers to stall off the line and dropped down to the rear of the field, before recovering to fifth.

"The clutch was slipping off the line and I stalled," explained Pappas. "It was good fun to get into a rhythm for the 15 laps and come back up the order; I had a great battle with Leanne [Tander] for a couple of laps.

"It's a little bit frustrating because I felt we had the pace to finish higher up the order, but at the end of the day we're not racing for the Championship or anything so it's not a major deal."

It was smoother sailing in Race 2, as Pappas made his way up to take fifth place in the race, and fourth for the weekend.

"Overall, I'm satisfied with how the weekend went," said Pappas. "We probably should've had fourth place finishes in the races instead of fifth places, but it didn't go that way.

"In Race 2 I tagged the wall early, which meant the car picked up a big vibration and was a bit of a handful, so I just had to push on and consolidate fifth place.

"Still, it's a pretty good result with the circumstances for the weekend. I came here this weekend and really just wanted to have a clean run and get a taste of running open wheelers again which I was able to achieve.

"The Astuti guys have been great to work with and I'm looking forward to running with them again in the future."

The 2007 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star will commence at the Eastern Creek as part of the Australian leg of the A1 Grand Prix World Cup of Motorsport on February 2-4. Announcements about Astuti Motorsport's 2007 campaign will be made between now and then.

-credit: www.astutimotorsport.com.

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