81 WINS AND COUNTING FOR TEAM BRM AFTER PHILLIP ISLAND DOUBLE Now in its 10th season in the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship, Team BRM remains the benchmark for wings and slicks success in Australia after taking its 80th and 81st F3...
81 WINS AND COUNTING FOR TEAM BRM AFTER PHILLIP ISLAND DOUBLE
Now in its 10th season in the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship, Team BRM remains the benchmark for wings and slicks success in Australia after taking its 80th and 81st F3 race wins at the Phillip Island GP circuit at the weekend.
The results came as Team BRM driver Nathan Caratti edged ahead to the largest lead of the 2008 championship series with a pair of stunning performances in his #5 Parklands on Bertram Team BRM Dallara F307 -- Mercedes entry.
Caratti won race one after a massive dice with Leanne Tander, going wheel to wheel with his rival for most of the 14-lap affair before slipping in front with four laps remaining and eventually winning by .06s. It was Team BRMs 80th race win from the 146 races held to that point - a strike rate of almost 55%.
Caratti was equally as good in race two and charged from 7th on the grid to a brilliant second in the race to extend his championship lead to 18 points with three rounds remaining.
Rejoining Team BRM after contesting the first two rounds of the series with the team, British driver James Winslow was also super fast from the outset, snaring pole position for race one in trying weather conditions.
After being hit from behind in the first race and loosing time and track position, Winslow bounced back in style in race two by leading home Caratti to record a Team BRM 1 -- 2 and the teams 81st win in F3 competition. It lifted Winslow to equal second in the championship on 110 points.
Second-round driver John Magro (#3 Rockstar Energy Drink / Unit Clothing Dallara F307 Mercedes) posted his most convincing F3 performance yet, running towards the front of the pack despite his lack of race experience at the demanding, high speed Phillip Island circuit.
After qualifying a career-best 7th for race one, Magro was one of five cars involved in a heated mid-pack dice throughout a majority of the event and was running strongly until caught out when Tim Macrow spun at the top of Lukey heights. Taking avoiding action -- Magro was stranded in the sandtrap and could not recover until refiring the car and eventually finishing 14th.
In race two he rebounded well and logged a solid 8th position, but showed enough pace to be able to challenge for a top five result.
In the F3 National Class Team BRM driver Lee Farrell was back in top form and raced to the front of his class on two occasions, winning the first race after a thriller with season-long rival Chris Gilmour.
The pair swapped positions several times throughout the first race with Farrell prevailing by just .0051s, Farrell recording his first win since the Clipsal 500 Adelaide three rounds ago.
He finished second in race two to record his best points haul from a round this year and keep himself well within class championship contention.
"It was a great weekend for Team BRM at Phillip Island and we're obviously very pleased to have scored our 80th and 81st race wins in F3," Team manager Mark Rundle said.
"It's a great achievement and it's down to the crew that work very, very hard at each round to prepare good cars and give our drivers something to go and win with.
"Nathan is looking pretty good at the moment and is certainly the quickest driver out there. I think he's opened a lot of eyes as to what he's capable of and the next three rounds should be good for him. He's been quick at Eastern Creek, we know he's quick here (Phillip Island), so there's a level of confidence about his current position -- though we're not resting on our laurels just yet.
"It was also great to see Lee get back to the front. It's been a tough run for him of late so to bounce back like that was an excellent performance.
"We always knew James would be quick and he proved that in both races. He was unlucky to be taken out in race one and certainly had a car to finish on the podium in that race. Phillip Island was also John's best performance by far and even though he was unlucky he showed that he now has the pace to run top-five.
"Bring on Eastern Creek -- we can't wait."
Nathan Caratti - #5 Parklands on Bertram Dallara F307 Mercedes
"It was great to win; it was the race I really needed to do well in because we didn't qualify well for race two.
"It was a fantastic race. I had a really great dice with Leanne for most of it -- it was very clean and a lot of fun. Our car had great straight line speed so I was able to use the tow and get past her. She didn't have so much and once she was behind me didn't have as good a chance at getting by. It's a great win and very important for the championship."
James Winslow - #4 Driving Solutions Dallara F307 Mercedes
"It's great to win and it keeps us right in the hunt for the championship.
"The car was fantastic all weekend long, and very competitive. Qualifying was a bit of a lottery but in race one we were going really well and had made up a heap of ground before Neil hit me from behind, and that was it.
"In race two I got a great start and was able to hold out Nathan and the others to get home in front. Thanks to the team because they gave me a great car."
John Magro - #3 ROCKSTAR Energy / Unit Clothing Dallara F307 Mercedes
"It was a good weekend and I think I showed the speed needed to run inside the top five.
"I was fifth In the first qualifying session but I was the first driver to get the flag at the end, and everyone got another lap more than I did, so we ended up 7th. Race one was looking good but Tim (Macrow) spun in front of me at Lukey and I had no where to go but across the gravel. The car stalled and by the time I had got going again I was 14th.
"Overall I'm pretty happy with my speed and I'm a lot closer now to the leaders. I cant wait to go to Phillip Island again."
Lee Farrell - #6 No Fear Dallara F304 -- Spiess Opel
"it's been such a tough few rounds it's really nice to bounce back here and get a win. It's a shame we weren't able to duplicate that in the second race because we really needed to try to get as many more points than Gilmour as possible.
"Race one was probably the best race I've had since coming here to race. When Tate blew up in front of me I lost the position to Chris and had to push really hard to get past again -- and in the end we were able to do that at the line, just!"