RACE WINNING PACE NOT ENOUGH FOR BRATT IN VALENCIA Banbury racing star Will Bratt saw his hopes of a brace of top finishes in the seventh and eighth rounds of the FIAT Spanish Formula 3 Championship ended by the intervention of race officials ...
RACE WINNING PACE NOT ENOUGH FOR BRATT IN VALENCIA
Banbury racing star Will Bratt saw his hopes of a brace of top finishes in the seventh and eighth rounds of the FIAT Spanish Formula 3 Championship ended by the intervention of race officials yesterday, Sunday, 27th July, when an all too harsh drive-through penalty ruined his chances of battling for the podium.
Even though qualifying didn't work out for the EmiliodeVillota.com Motorsport driver due to a multitude of red flags during Saturday's session, Will's race pace was such that he was able to scythe his way through the order during both encounters on Sunday -- setting the fastest time in both races and, therefore, a new lap record for the Valencia Street Circuit.
Starting in 16th position for round seven, the 20-year-old raced well to climb into the top eight before being given a completely unnecessary drive-through penalty for cutting the chicane when, in actual fact, Will was simply avoiding a major collision with another car.
Dropping him down the order, the Oxon ace eventually fought back to 12th place but this was no consolation having had the pace in himself and the car to have mounted a strong bid for an impressive top six result and, potentially, a front row grid start for round eight.
One highpoint for Will to take away from the weekend though was the fact he produced a searing lap time of 2m 04.788s seconds (156.249km/h) in round seven -- the new F3 lap record for the Valencia Street Circuit.
"We're unbelievably disappointed with the decision of the officials, I don't know why they chose to be so harsh", said Will following race one, "There were plenty of cars cutting the chicane which didn't get penalised and the only reason I did it was to avoid a big collision, I had nowhere else to go."
Even though he was bitterly disappointed with the outcome to Sunday morning's first race, the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star put it all out of his mind for race two and went on to record an excellent top five finish to underline his true pace and ability.
Producing blistering pace, Will outperformed the likes of British Formula 3 International Series race winner and title contender Jaime Alguersuari during round eight and again produced the fastest race lap of 2m 05.089 seconds (155.873km/h). Lining up 12th on the grid, by virtue of his finishing position in race one, Will fought through brilliantly into fifth.
"The team has done a fantastic job with the car this weekend and I feel I'm driving very well at the moment so for outside decisions to interfere with that is pretty hard to take, especially when we didn't do anything which warranted the penalty", said Will, "It's very annoying as I was the quickest driver in both races.
"Looking on the positive side of things, the Valencia Street Circuit is an incredible place, absolutely unbelievable and I'm sure it'll make a fantastic Formula One track. It's a great shame the weekend has been tarnished for us though."
Will now has just four weeks to wait until the biggest event of his motor racing career, a return to the Valencia Street Circuit for the ninth and 10th rounds of the FIAT Spanish Formula 3 season in support of the FIA Formula One World Championship's European Grand Prix.
Taking place over the weekend 23rd/24th August, the event is set to mark the first time the Oxon racer will have ever competed at a Formula One event -- a truly special moment for Will in only his first season of international competition.