TEAM BRMs MAPELLI AND KOSTERA IN THE THICK OF IT AT MALLALA Team BRM has rebounded superbly from a difficult qualifying day to post a podium performance in last weekend's fourth round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship at...
TEAM BRMs MAPELLI AND KOSTERA IN THE THICK OF IT AT MALLALA
Team BRM has rebounded superbly from a difficult qualifying day to post a podium performance in last weekend's fourth round of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship at Mallala Raceway.
Both team drivers, Marco Mapelli and Stuart Kostera, were able to deliver strong runs on Sunday after starting on the fourth row of the grid for both races.
Mapelli (#4 Gawler Farm Machinery Dallara F304 Spiess) qualified seventh for both races whilst Kostera (#29 Audi Centre Melbourne) qualified eighth in challenging conditions.
In race one both Team BRM cars were clearly amongst the quickest on the circuit, electing to start both cars on slick tyres on a drying circuit with a gamble that may or may not have payed off.
As it turned out, it did, and both Kostera and Mapelli charged through the field with Kostera leaping to third at the finish, just one tenth behind second place. Mapelli finished just behind in fourth place to secure his second-best finish of the year.
Mapelli banked fastest lap -- his first for the year -- towards the end of the 18-lap event showing that he had the pace to win.
In a more straightforward second race Mapelli fought a race-long dice with James Winslow for fifth and sixth, Mapelli prevailing in the end to back up his strong performance in race one -- Kostera finished seventh.
The strong results -- especially in race one -- helped slightly close the margin to the championship lead with both drivers less than a round win outside of the championship lead.
Kostera is currently 5th in the championship with 65 points, with Mapelli just a solitary point behind in 6th.
"I knew that we could have a good weekend if it was wet," Kostera said after race one.
"Our car was fantastic in the opening race and I think we made the right call on tyres. If the safety car hadn't had come out we could have won. I just didn't have the pace in race two but it was satisfying to get on the podium in the first -- it was a great race."
"It was hard race," Agreed Mapelli.
"But it was good to get championship points. I'm looking forward to going to Eastern Creek next because I am fast there. I want to start winning races, for sure."
Team BRM director Mark Rundle said that the weekend was one of damage limitation -- with some surprise results.
"It was a weekend of consolidating our championship positions so we can attack in the second half of the season," Rundle said.
"Having said that both guys drove brilliantly in the first race. It was taking a few laps for the slicks to come up to temperature and the early safety car period really hurt that for those cars on slick rubber. If it wasn't for that I'm confident that both drivers would have been at the front much earlier.
"Stuart drove very intelligently to score a podium in race one, and Marco continues to show his speed with the fastest race lap. I think we should be in for a good second half of the season." He said.
Team BRM has a short break between Formula 3 rounds with the next round scheduled for Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway in just two weeks time.
That round will be followed by the next instalment of the Australian Formula Ford Championship at Queensland Raceway, a round that will see the debut of Nick Percat in a Team BRM Van Diemen RF06 -- alongside existing driver John Magro.