TEAM NEWS: Carlin Motorsport return to the UK this weekend, for rounds 11 and 12 in the British F3 championship. The Hampshire based squad will be racing at the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent, after another dominant outing in Italy three weeks ago.
The Carlin squad have taken 14 of the last 18 podiums and have claimed a 1-2-3 finish at the last two F3 events. After a triumphant weekend in Monza, British rookie Sam Bird retains second place in the drivers’ championship, while Maro Engel has leap-frogged team mate Niall Breen to take third in the standings. Breen consequently lies fourth with Alberto Valerio seventh and Mario Moraes 15th.
The Brands Hatch circuit is widely considered by drivers to be one of the most challenging and rewarding circuits in the UK. The fierce undulating circuit features many fast corners including the infamous Paddock Hill Bend which has ended many a drivers’ race.
Having recorded four podium finishes so far this season, Alberto Valerio is aiming to secure his first British F3 win this weekend. “It’s my favourite circuit in the UK for sure. Last year Brands Hatch saw quite a turnaround in fortunes for me. Hopefully this year will be the same and I will improve further and get the win that has been just out of reach so far this season! It’s a challenging circuit to drive, the wall is very close, and you have to be quick, but always know where the limit is. Last year there were a couple of big accidents there.
“We had the fastest car in Monza, and I set a new lap record in race two, but again I was a bit unlucky. Mustonen spun and touched my front wing at the start which took away any chance of a podium or victory. Let’s see if we can get everything together at Brands; if we’re fast again and have a little bit of luck on our side, I think we could get the first race win.”
F3 race winner Maro Engel has good memories of the Kent circuit, having claimed two second places there last year, as well as setting a new British F3 lap record. Speaking ahead of the weekend, Engel said, “We had a great time at Brands Hatch last year, it’s one of the best tracks in the UK, if not the best. I’m feeling very confident ahead of the weekend. The team keep doing a great job and providing us with cars that can win races, so it’s up to us as drivers to make sure that we do just that.”
Team Principal Trevor Carlin added “The Brands Hatch round marks the half way point in the season and the 2007 team have matured into a strong unit. All the drivers have shown improvement and a dominant pace over the last six races and they will be aiming to close the gap this weekend. The team are working together exceptionally well and are feeling confident, so I’m hopeful of some more strong results.”
Track action will kick off on Friday at 9.55 for first practice. After two further practice sessions on Friday, qualifying 1 will take place at 11.30 on Saturday, followed by qualifying 2 at 14.50. Race 1 will commence at 11.10 on Sunday with race 2 concluding the weekend at 15.55.