DRIVER NEWS: Breen Pulls More Points Out of the Bag in Monza
DRIVER NEWS: Niall Breen left Monza in Italy on Sunday night with another haul of points and an incredible fourth place despite qualifying way back in 11th for round 10 of the Lloyds TSB Insurance British Formula 3 Championship.
The teams had their first outing on the Grand Prix circuit on Saturday morning before the first qualifying session and almost immediately Breen had brake problems and a faulty master cylinder. He fought hard with the Bar One Racing Carlin Motorsport Dallara but he had trouble stopping the car, which left it difficult to apex the corners and the best he could manage was ninth on the grid for round 9.
With only an hour between the two qualifying sessions, there was not enough time to change the offending master cylinder and Breen was back out on track with a huge disadvantage. This time he was 11th quickest but undeterred the 21-year old Dundalk driver braced himself for the mammoth job in hand.
The first race on Sunday morning was all about the battle for seventh place with Carlin team mate Mario Moraes and fellow countryman Michael Devaney. This became one of the highlights of the 16-lap race as the trio swapped places continually with the cars crossing the line three abreast at the end of the ninth lap. Finally Breen won the place, taking seventh behind his winning team mates, Maro Engel, Sam Bird and Alberto Valerio. Championship leader Marko Asmer was fourth from Jonathan Kennard and Esteban Guerrieri.
What happened in the second race was even more remarkable, Breen making a great start to take Kennard. There was mayhem into the first corner when Valerio collided with Atte Mustonen whose car blocked the track, sending everyone behind scrambling across the grass. Breen managed to collect debris on the front wing which slowed the Dallara but once it dislodged, he chased Rudolfo Gonzales and Stephen Jelley. They touched and Gonzales was sent into a barrel-roll right in front of Niall! He managed to avoid the accident and Jelley was given a drive-through penalty into the pits. Breen took Sebastian Hohenthal and Guerrieri to finally finish an exciting race fourth behind Asmer and Carlin team mates, Engel and Bird.
Breen said: “Considering where I started in the second race, I’m delighted to get fourth. With the earlier seventh place, that’s another 14 points in total. It was a shame I had problems in qualifying but they were good results at the end of the day.”
A British Formula 3 rookie, Niall remains in fourth place in the series with 81 points behind Asmer (156), Bird (105) and Engel (99). The next two rounds are on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit on July 14/15th.