Breen Shines at Donington Park with Fine Second Place
DRIVER NEWS: Niall Breen’s incredible drive to second place in round four of the Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series at Donington Park on Sunday, gave notice of the first of many podium places the Dundalk rookie aims to take this year.
His second place was made all the more special having been taken out of the first race on Sunday morning by Atte Mustonen on lap 20 while lying in a strong eighth place.
Racing with Carlin Motorsport in the Bar One Racing Dallara Mercedes, Breen annexed fifth and sixth places respectively during Saturday’s two qualifying sessions, the 20-year old taking top Carlin spot on the grid for round three of the championship. The first race on Sunday saw Breen make a poor start, dropping back to seventh and then eighth as Esteban Guerrieri demoted him at the Craner Curves. Following a safety car incident, Guerrieri also took Breen’s team mate Maro Engel but then held them both up as Atte Mustonen closed up behind Niall. Finally on lap 20, Mustonen aimed for a gap which wasn’t there, hitting Breen’s sidepod and knocking off the master switch, leaving him out of the race, as Estonian Marko Asmer took his second win in the series.
Having rained before the second race, the track was slippery but Breen was totally fired up and made a brilliant start, leap-frogging from sixth to fourth at the start and taking Stephen Jelley. Then when team mates Alberto Valerio spun and Engel went on the grass, Breen, who has support from Motorsport Ireland, was into second and chasing down leader Asmer. At times, Niall closed on Asmer but as they lapped back markers, it was impossible to close the gap further.
At the end of 26 laps, law student Breen finished the race as a worthy runner-up, and the highest placed Carlin driver of the weekend. He said: “It’s a great result for my fourth Formula 3 race. Finishing second really made amends for not finishing the first race and hauls me up to seventh place with 18 points. I got a great start too, which has given me confidence to make good starts from now on.”
Team boss, Trevor Carlin commented: “Niall has driven brilliantly all weekend and put in a fantastic race this afternoon which was made even more impressive by the fact that this is only his fourth F3 race. His first podium position was well deserved.”
The next two rounds are in Bucharest on May 19/20.