A WIN, A POLE, A SECOND AND A STUNNING DEBUT -- TEAM BRM ON FORM IN F3 OPENER Running four cars in the 2007 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship has translated into some early success for Team BRM. The three-time series champions --...
A WIN, A POLE, A SECOND AND A STUNNING DEBUT -- TEAM BRM ON FORM IN F3 OPENER
Running four cars in the 2007 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship has translated into some early success for Team BRM.
The three-time series champions -- including last seasons dominant victory with Ben Clucas -- are now co-leaders of the 2007 series thanks to the efforts of Chris Alajajian and have also created the series' newest race winner in West Aussie Stuart Kostera.
Team BRM has also continued its longstanding reputation for finding young driving talent following the debut of 19-year-old Italian driver Marco Mapelli.
Maher Algadri posted one of his best ever performances since joining the championship in the fourth of Team BRMs entries.
Stuart Kostera -- Team BRM / PHR Dallara F304
Kostera, one of the form drivers from the conclusion of the 2006 season, joined Team BRM in the off season and was immediately on the pace at Eastern Creek.
After sitting inside the top four in practice, Kostera snatched a sensational pole position for the first race by just .0391s -- his first career pole since joining the championship mid way through last season.
Whilst unable to replicate his qualifying one pace in a hotter second session, he still qualified in eighth place less than a second from pole position and with hopes of moving up the order.
Kostera made a perfect start in the first race and lead from start to finish -- including holding off a late race charge from teammate Chris Alajajian -- to record his maiden Formula 3 win.
A concerted effort from the fourth row saw the West Australian driver move up the order to finish race two in fifth place. He finished the weekend with 29 points, just two outside the championship lead.
"I'm obviously really happy with that performance," Said Kostera, who now sits just three points out of the championship lead.
"In the second race I had a go at the start but it got a bit crazy so I just went for the points. The strong first race set us up really well but there was only so much I could do from eighth on the grid for the second race.
"It's been a good start for the championship, which is the important thing."
Chris Alajajian -- Team BRM / Jack Hillermans Smash Dallara F304
Sydneysider Chris Alajajian was one of the undoubted stars of the Eastern Creek round in his first drive since joining Team BRM in the off season.
Alajajian only qualified seventh and ninth for the two races respectively but his Sunday performance produced two stunning drives that elevated him up the order on both occasions.
In race one he made up three places on the opening lap, before chasing after Tim Macrow in a close battle for second place.
On Lap five he made an astounding move around the outside of the 230kph turn one to move into second place, holding on to score a Team BRM 1 -- 2 with teammate Kostera.
"We had our downs on Saturday and our ups today -- from Zero to not quite hero -- but we've made a good step forward," Alajajian said.
"The guys just prepared such a special car. Experience says it all and Team BRM have got that experience and the knowledge, and they have given me the confidence and the knowledge to allow me to do the job. Thanks to the team because they did such an awesome job."
Marco Mapelli -- Team BRM / Gawler Farm Machinery - Spiess Opel
At just 19, Marco Mapelli had his first ever drive of a Formula 3 car in Friday morning's first practice session at Eastern Creek.
In difficult conditions that started out with a fully wet circuit and ended with a drying surface, Mapelli completed 8 laps of the 3.9km circuit and logged third fastest time, less than a second from the fastest recorded in the session.
In drier conditions Saturday, Mapelli continued his learning process and qualified sixth and seventh for the two races, respectively.
In race one he was an unfortunate victim of a turn two collision, the resulting impact leaving the young Italian out of his first ever Formula 3 race after less than a kilometer.
The second race was much more productive, Mapelli making a strong start from seventh and moving forward to finish his first full Formula 3 race distance in sixth place.
The result left Mapelli with six championship points to his credit, and left Team BRM with a certain star of the future on their hands.
"For me it was a hard weekend," Marco said.
"Race one was disappointing, to be taken out, so it was good to finish the second race. I would have liked to be on the podium but when the two people in front of me hit each other I lost positions.
"Before the next round we will do some testing to help me get experience in a difficult championship like Formula 3." He said.
Team BRM owner Bronte Rundle, was justifiably pleased with the weekend.
"It's been a good one for us, all the drivers did a great job and produced some fantastic performances," he said.
"Congratulations to Stuart for his first race win -- we're pleased to have him on board this year and happy that he has been able to make such a strong start to the championship.
"Chris was at his very best, especially in the races, and we're really happy to be working with him this season. He's undoubtedly a talent and proved his race craft in both races.
"In Macro we have an undoubted talent who put together a very strong weekend given his level of experience in these cars. We'll take him testing between now and the Grand Prix and I think once he has spent some more time behind the wheel he will be very, very competitive as well.
"It's shaping up to be a fantastic year for Team BRM, we can't wait!" Rundle added.