First Masters, Seventh quickest Frenchman Guillaume Moreau took part in his first Marlboro Formula 3 Masters last week-end. He really enjoyed the circuit, the atmosphere of the meeting, the Formula 1 Ferrari show (starring: RenÃ© Arnoux, Jacky...
First Masters, Seventh quickest
Frenchman Guillaume Moreau took part in his first Marlboro Formula 3 Masters last week-end. He really enjoyed the circuit, the atmosphere of the meeting, the Formula 1 Ferrari show (starring: René Arnoux, Jacky Ickx, Eddie Irvine.), the high level of the competition. But not the qualification system!
With 36 entries, including Euro Series, British and other national championships competitors, 2 groups of drivers had to qualify separately. Guillaume appeared in the even numbers group, the strongest obviously, with 7 drivers within a second, compared to just two in the other group! "It has been a lottery. With an odd number on my car, I would have started just behind my team mate Loïc Duval, on the 6th row of the grid, and not on the 10th."
Guillaume suffered oversteering during the first session. "We tried to improve the car's handling for the second session, but it turned to too much understeering. I prefer a slightly oversteering car, so I couldn't improve. But we found a good balance during the warm-up."
"Good" is not exactly the right word to define the Signature driver's start, but his first braking certainly was. "We had a hot first lap, with sometimes 3 or 4 drivers side by side in the fast corners. I overtook one or two cars, then had a tough time when Bruno Senna spun in front of me. He went to the left, to the right, and I chose to pass on the right hand side when he finally stopped to spin on the left!" Other drivers coming together and out of the race helped Guillaume's recovery. Pulling away from the rest of the field, he could see an eight-driver pack, the equivalent of a pit straight far ahead of him. "I pushed hard, in order to come back close to them and see what would happen. I set the 7th fastest lap, and I was hot on Conway's wheels during the very last laps. Then I made a small mistake, and a backmarker hampered me in late stages, but I was still able to put Mike under some pressure for 13th on the finish line."
There can be no miracle when you start from 20th, but Guillaume was happy to be the fastest Signature driver, and 2nd Opel-Spiess driver, 0''012 behind Japanese Kohei Hirate, a Toyota Development Driver. "Zandvoort is a particular venue, with the sand coming from the dunes around. It's a little bit like on a wet track when rain has stopped, and the line gets dry. You have to be careful about where your wheels are, otherwise the tyres get dirty and it's easy to spin. Thanks to what I learned this week-end, I expect to be competitive at the end of August, when we'll be back here for the Euro Series."
The next event will be another Formula 3 Euro Series and DTM meeting, in the North of Germany, on June 25th and 26th. Guillaume experienced Oschersleben at the wheel of a Formula Renault car in 2003, and encouraging practicing last Tuesday in Magny-Cours confirmed his high hopes for the near future.