DRIVER NEWS: Banbury driver, Mike Meadows notched up another victory in the British F3 International Series this weekend in his first street circuit race. With a tally of two wins, four podiums and three fastest laps from six races, Meadows continues to demonstrate his talents as a rising star of motorsport.
The British F3 Series made its first of three overseas trips this season and its first street event in Bucharest, Romania. Meadows, undaunted by the narrow sections and close barriers of the city centre track, was quickly on the pace in the practice sessions. In his first event since moving to the Raikkonen Robertson Racing outfit and despite gearshift problems, Meadows qualified second in class for the first race less than one tenth of a second off leader and team mate, Alistair Jackson. For the second race the qualifying session was held on a damp, drying track which led to most drivers setting their fastest times on the final lap. Meadows, aiming for the class pole position, was on course for this but traffic caught out the young driver, and he was forced to settle for fifth.
The first of the two races was held yesterday and from his second place slot Meadows made quick work of jumping into the lead immediately after the green flag flew, taking Jackson on the first lap of full speed racing, after the race had been forced to start under safety car condition. Many drivers fell victim to the tight street circuit, so further safety car periods interrupted the flow of the 24 lap race, but Meadows kept himself away from the barriers to take his second victory of the season.
For the second Bucharest race Meadows lined up for the start with four class contenders ahead of him in the National championship. As in the first race, the cars lined up behind the safety car for the start, with the green flag flying on lap three. Meadows was quickly up to race pace, and began to make his way past his rivals, lying third by lap eight. Meadows was then unfortunate to be caught behind Hamad Al Fardan, who clipped the wall and, while Meadows was able to slow down to avoid contact, Albert Costa behind him didn’t manage to stop, hitting Meadows’ car and forcing him to retire. Although he was unable to finish the race, Meadows strong pace gave him a point for the fastest race lap.
Meadows said of his Bucharest weekend, “I really enjoyed racing in this environment and it wasn’t as difficult as I expected, although I did brush the wall a couple of times, and quickly realised that precision is very important in these situations. It was definitely very different than the big, open tracks I’m used to racing on. You also have to have faith in the drivers around you, and make sure that others have enough room, as it’s easy to squeeze someone into the wall.
“I’m really pleased that we took another win with the NewNet car, but a little disappointed we didn’t get another podium, as I definitely had the pace of Sergio (Perez). It’s qualifying that makes the difference in these situations, but it’s heartening to know that we’re in the thick of the title race and we’re still only a third of the way through the season, so there’s time to overhaul the competition.”
Meadows lies third in the National class championship with six of 22 races completed. Next stop for him is Snetterton with rounds seven and eight taking place from 2 – 3 June at Snetterton, Norfolk.