DRIVER NEWS: Niall Breen made the best of a tough weekend at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, taking sixth and fifth places respectively for rounds 11 and 12 of the Lloyds TSB Insurance British Formula 3 Championship on Sunday.
Saturday’s qualifying yielded two ninth place starting positions for Sunday’s two races. Although he was a little disappointed with his qualifying results, there didn’t seem to be any answer to increasing the performance of the Bar One Racing Carlin Motorsport Dallara.
By Sunday morning there were further complications when Breen’s engineer Jimmy Goodwin was rushed into hospital. Fortunately however, Jimmy had conscientiously set up the car ready for Sunday’s first race before leaving for an appendicectomy!
Breen was prepared to make a good start for Sunday morning’s Round 11 first race and that’s just what he did as the lights went green. The 21-year old Dundalk driver shot into sixth place following series leader Marko Asmer, Stephen Jelley, Jonathan Kennard, Sebastian Hohenthal and Carlin team mate, Maro Engel.
After four laps, the safety car was deployed briefly for Alberto Valerio who’d rolled his Carlin Dallara after a touch with John Martin and shortly after Hohenthal was given a drive through penalty for a jump start which elevated Breen up to fifth. However fifth became sixth again when Rudolfo Gonzales, passed him at Westfield, taking Engel two laps later at the same point. Niall kept in touch with Engel but at the flag it was Asmer from Jelley, Kennard, Gonzales, Engel and Breen.
The second race on Sunday afternoon was action-packed as Carlin’s Sam Bird shot off the line so fast and into the lead as to incur a drive through jump start penalty. Gonzales was also given a jump start penalty and this left Hohenthal first from Asmer, Atte Mustonen, Breen and Michael Devaney. Although Niall dropped back from the leading trio, he was holding off Devaney until the 18th lap when the Bar One Racing Dallara oversteered into the gravel at Dingle Dell and his fellow countryman was through to fourth. Breen recovered to fifth, which was where he finished behind Hohenthal, Mustonen, Asmer and Devaney.
Rookie Breen drops to fifth place in the series but the points have closed up. Asmer Leads with 189 from Engel (111), Bird (106), Jelley (100) and Breen (95). The next two rounds are in Spa Francorchamps on July 28/29th.