Thompson bags fine podium at Sugo Irish racing driver Gary Thompson scored another podium finish in the Japanese F3 Championship at the weekend after a breakthrough performance at Sugo which saw the Cebu Pacific Air-backed driver deliver one of...
Thompson bags fine podium at Sugo
Irish racing driver Gary Thompson scored another podium finish in the Japanese F3 Championship at the weekend after a breakthrough performance at Sugo which saw the Cebu Pacific Air-backed driver deliver one of his best displays yet.
The 18-year-old Dubliner's weekend didn't start on such a good footing as his Achievement by KCMG Racing-run Dallara chassis suffered balance problems that hampered progress in Friday's practice sessions.
An improvement for qualifying saw the youngster secure seventh and fifth places on the highly-competitive National Class grid for the two races, just a few tenths of a second down on the pole time, leaving Thompson feeling positive ahead of race 1.
A strong start to the opening 18-lap event saw the teenager, who also enjoys support from Aviation Display, immediately make a position into the first corner and then dive through to fifth into turn 2.
Unfortunately, his race was then ruined when the driver in third spun and Thompson had to take a trip through the gravel trap in avoidance. After rejoining at the very back of the 17-car field, he managed to fight back to seventh place at the chequered flag but was frustrated to be denied the chance of a podium finish.
That disappointment was erased in race 2 as Thompson produced perhaps his finest drive of his rookie season in the prestigious category, which has been used by the likes of Adrian Sutil and Pedro de la Rosa as a springboard to Formula One.
Despite losing a place off the line, Thompson drove a stunning first lap which saw him pass four cars in the opening three corners to run third. He then continuously challenged the two drivers ahead, consistently lapping quicker than both, but couldn't find a way through on the challenging 3.737km circuit, eventually finishing third in class and with second fastest race lap.
Gary Thompson: "It's a very promising result and probably our best performance of the season. In the second race my best lap was faster than the two guys ahead and I finished in front of the championship leader and the factory-backed drivers from Toyota and Honda.
"Race 1 was a bit frustrating because I had good pace and one of the guys I was ahead of at the start ended up finishing on the podium, so that was a missed opportunity but not one I could do much about unfortunately!
"The most important thing is that we're moving forward. There is still a lot of work to do before the next round, as we still haven't found the perfect balance on the car, but we're definitely going in the right direction."
Thompson returns to action on 16-17 October at the final round of the 2010 season at Auto Polis