ASTUTI MOTORSPORT TAKES FIRST FORMULA 3 RACE WIN OF 2006 A race win has highlighted a great weekend for Astuti Motorsport's Michael Trimble in Round 2 of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star at Symmons Plains...
ASTUTI MOTORSPORT TAKES FIRST FORMULA 3 RACE WIN OF 2006
A race win has highlighted a great weekend for Astuti Motorsport's Michael Trimble in Round 2 of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star at Symmons Plains Raceway in Tasmania.
After a challenging start to the weekend in Friday's practice sessions, the team shot to the front of the field in qualifying on Saturday. Trimble secured third on the grid for the opening race, and pole position for Race 2.
The long first-gear ratio the team were running in the first race hampered Trimble off the line in the opening race. He dropped down to seventh place, but fought back strongly to finish third.
"Basically, we've been gearing the car to run first gear through the hairpin," said Trimble. "Unfortunately we hadn't tested to see what it's like to get off the line beforehand, and we found out the hard way that you can't get the car off the line with that first gear ratio.
"So unfortunately I stalled it, quickly had to get it restarted again and get it going, but by then it was too late.
"It didn't take too long to get the places back. I think I was back up to third within three or four laps, but by then [Ben] Clucas and [Chris] Alajajian were well up the road so I couldn't challenge them.
"We've changed the first gear now, hopefully we'll have good pace in the next one. We start it from pole so hopefully we can stay there."
With a changed gear ratio and the knowledge that the Kings Springs Renault-Sodemo Dallara F304 was strong, Trimble lined up for the second race in pole position.
He bided his time in the early parts of the 25-lap race, before starting his charge. Trimble moved up to second place, then closed the gap to race leader Chris Alajajian before making a pass to take the race lead at the final corner with six laps remaining.
From there, he kept it going and took the race win. It is Trimble's first of the 2006 season, his fourth in Australian Formula 3 competition and his third with Astuti Motorsport.
Trimble also picked up the bonus points for recording pole position and setting the fastest lap of the race, 50.6287 seconds, to go with his points for the race win.
"It was an intense race," he said. "It took a couple of laps for my car to come on in the race, I'm not exactly sure why, but I just wasn't totally comfortable with it in the early stages.
"Once the car had settled, I was sitting there in third, but once I saw Ben was slowing a little bit and was able to get past him, I had a sniff of the lead and just drove hard to close the gap to Alajajian and pass him.
"I know they were running a lot more rear wing here so I just had to focus on the exits and make sure he couldn't get a good run on me.
"We had to change first gear between races so we could get off the line which changed the car a lot through the hairpin, and actually changed the characteristics of the car completely and made it really difficult to get a good run onto the back straight."
Astuti Motorsport team owner Sam Astuti was full of praise for Trimble and the team, crediting the success to their hard work in recent weeks.
"We've worked very hard since Wakefield Park on everything and we deserved this result thoroughly today," he said.
"Michael drove a fantastic race, the guys put together a car good enough to win, and it was a great result. We showed we had the speed and the application, and Michael put it all together out there.
"He asked about halfway through the race how many laps there were left and we made a plan of attack and it all worked out well."
The hard work doesn't stop now, though. The next round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star is at Phillip Island Raceway, Victoria, on May 19-21.
"There will be an official test day at Phillip Island in the week before the round, so we'll work hard between now and then to make sure we're well prepared for that weekend too."
Trimble's results saw him end the weekend tied on points for the weekend with Ben Clucas and remains in second place in the race for the CAMS Gold Star.