TRIMBLE TAKES A WIN AND KNIGHT VISITS THE PODIUM IN QUEENSLAND Astuti Motorsport pair Michael Trimble and Andy Knight were right in the thick of the action in Round 7 of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star...
TRIMBLE TAKES A WIN AND KNIGHT VISITS THE PODIUM IN QUEENSLAND
Astuti Motorsport pair Michael Trimble and Andy Knight were right in the thick of the action in Round 7 of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star held at Queensland Raceway.
The battle at the top of the field was intense in practice and qualifying. Driving the King Springs Renault-Sodemo Dallara F304, Trimble was in striking distance in each session - and just 0.0146 off pole in Qualifying 1 - as he secured a pair of third-place starting positions for Sunday's two races.
After moving into the lead on Lap 3, the Gold Coast resident made Race 1 his own, controlling proceedings. By the end of the 20-lap duration, he had amassed a five second victory margin to take his second race win of the year.
"It was pretty good," he enthused. "I got a good start, was able to put pressure on Chris Gilmour in the first couple of laps and then get past him.
"After that I was able to put my head down, get a gap and control the race from the front. There probably wasn't a lot in terms of pace between me and the other three guys behind me, but while they were battling in those first few laps I was able to get away enough and get build a good gap."
Out to make it a pair of wins for the weekend, Trimble sat in third position early in Race 2, stalking Gilmour. However, an engine problem developed which would end his race on a premature and frustrating note.
"The first few laps I was right behind Gilmour, and just had to get close enough to make a lunge," Trimble, 21, explained. "I was definitely getting closer and closer, and everytime I went into Turn 3 it was looking like I could probably have a go there.
"After five or six laps we started to lose a bit of power, the shift points were getting later and later, and it got worse with each lap. Gilmour pulled away, Stuart Kostera got past me then the guys said there was smoke coming out of it, so we brought it in.
"We didn't have any realistic hopes of winning the Championship, but I wanted to keep it alive until Oran Park, so it's a bit frustrating, but that's how it is in motorsport sometimes."
On the other side of the Astuti Motorsport garage, New Zealander Andy Knight picked up where he left off in his Formula 3 debut at Phillip Island a fortnight earlier. Knight started the weekend on a strong note, setting the second-fastest time in Practice 1 and was on the pace all weekend.
In Race 1, he scored his first Australian Formula 3 podium finish, with third place. The 20 year-old was fourth in Race 2, having lost time early while challenging eventual second place finisher Kostera.
"It's very close up at the front," Knight said, "especially with the times in qualifying. On Friday we weren't quite where we wanted to be, but we made up a bit of ground for qualifying on Sunday.
"It was good to get on the podium in the first race, unfortunately in Race 2 I put a wheel off coming onto the front straight which cost us a bit of time.
"These cars are very different to anything we've got at home, so each time I've been in the car, it has been about learning how to set it up and get the most out of it for the way I drive.
"We didn't quite have the pace to win this weekend, but we were only a tenth of two away from the absolute front. It was satisfying to be that close in my second meeting."
Astuti Motorsport now turns their attention to the final round of the 2006 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star, which will be held at Oran Park Raceway in Sydney, on October 28-29.
"It started off well today, with Michael getting the win in Race 1 and Andy making it a 1-3 finish," Astuti Motorsport team owner Sam Astuti said. "Then in the second race it didn't go our way, Michael was doing it easy and working towards the front when the engine started to lose power.
"With the bumps on this circuit, it puts a lot of extra stress on the engine in particular, and we saw a number of cars have engine problems during the weekend.
"Andy drove well again this weekend and has shown he has the speed. It looks like he'll be doing a Formula Toyota test on the weekend of Oran Park, which will mean he won't be racing with us there, but it's been good to work with him.
"After a busy month with two race meetings in quick succession and the arrival of the second car, it will be good to have a bit of a break before the next round, where we will be looking to end the year on a strong note."
Astuti Motorsport thanks the support of Kings Springs, PWR Performance Products, Elf, Alcon and Revolution Racewear.