TEAM NEWS: Marko Asmer and the Hitech Racing team have extended their lead in the Lloyds TSB Insurance British Formula 3 International Series with a solid performance in today’s sixth round at Bucharest. The Silverstone-based team arrived in the Romanian capital city leading the series after three wins from four rounds.
Yesterday’s historic fourth victory by the young Estonian, to become the first ever winner of a race around the streets of the Eastern European country, was followed up today by a strong fifth place finish around the tricky 1.9mile track. Starting from the fifth row, after yellow flags put paid to him repeating his earlier pole position, Marko drove a steady and mature race to bring his Dallara F307 Mercedes HWA home in one piece and extend his lead to 47 points over Stephen Jelley.
The 22 year-old kept his head throughout the 20 lap race, which saw the safety car deployed to retrieve the stricken cars of Michael Meadows, Alberto Costa and Hamad Al Fardan, plus a number of other incidents to rack up more valuable championship points. A mid-race battle for fifth with Rodolfo Gonzalez proved costly though, as the Venezuelan forced Marko offline and enabled John Martin to dive up the inside of both of them, dropping Marko down the order.
He recovered well though and was able to capitalise on the retirement of another driver to claim sixth place at the flag. Gonzalez was later penalised 5secs for his part in the incident, dropping him to tenth and elevating Marko to fifth place.
Marko Asmer: “It was slow for the first couple of laps, really slow, and I lost a couple of places. But when the tyres heated up it was good, I was having a battle for fifth with Gonzalez but he made some stupid moves, including overtaking me under the yellow flags and basically he held me up pretty much throughout the race. When I tried to pass him at one point, he pushed me wide which allowed Martin through past both of us, without that, we could have been fourth at the finish. Overall though, I’m happy to come away still with a good lead in the championship, it’s early days yet, but it’s good.”
David Hayle: “Before the race if I was offered fifth place from 10th on the grid I would have said thank you because it’s impossible to pass here, but in reality we should have been on the podium again. We were held up for most of the race by a guy who was driving so badly and so dangerously that we just couldn’t get past, but in the end we increased our championship lead which is perfect.”