DRIVER NEWS: Double Second for Engel at Silverstone
DRIVER NEWS: Maro Engel left the Silverstone round of the British F3 championship with two second place finishes yesterday, after another strong performance in the 2007 British F3 season. Engel consequently takes away 30 points from the Northamptonshire track; enough to elevate him to second in the drivers’ championship.
The 21 year-old German driver set the early pace in practice, topping the time sheets in both practice sessions on Friday. An engine problem in Saturday’s first qualifying session saw the Mercedes backed driver suffer a shortfall in straight line speed on the straights, resulting in a slightly disappointing fifth place grid slot. Engel made amends in second qualifying however, setting a series of flying laps good enough to take provisional pole. However, in the dying minutes of the session, Engel was pipped to pole by championship leader Marko Asmer.
As the lights went out at the start of race one, Engel had a lightening start to pass Greg Mansell into the first corner and move into fourth place. Engel then benefited from a collision between second and third placed men Atte Mustonen and Esteban Gonzalez, to slide into second place; the position he would retain for the remainder of the race.
Race two saw Engel and the number 23 car start from second on the grid. Despite a good start, Engel couldn’t quite make it past pole sitter Asmer off the line, and slotted into second place. The young German drove another faultless race, but didn’t quite have the pace to catch the leading man, and crossed the line second to take his sixth podium position of the season and another 15 points.
Reflecting on his weekend, Engel said, “I was happy to finish second in race one, starting from fifth, I think that was a good result. I think I put in a very consistent performance, but unfortunately we were missing about a tenth from our ultimate pace. “In race two I had a good start, a little better than Marko [Asmer] I think, but unfortunately it wasn’t quite good enough to get past him. I got very close to him in Becketts on the first lap, but couldn’t quite make the move stick. Then he just started pulling away and I didn’t quite have the pace to stay with him.
“We tried a couple of new things on the car after the first race, which helped us a little I think. I had a good car, pace wise we were a similar distance off Marko in race two to race one, but the car was a little more inconsistent in race two, probably due to changes in temperature and the track surface.
“Towards the end of the second race, Greg [Mansell] started to close up on me; I had a few problems making my way though the back markers, they just didn’t see me coming, which was very frustrating. I think Greg made up something like a three second gap in three corners! We have to be fairly pleased with this weekend, the team did a great job and gave me a good car to drive, but second is the best we could do today. We’ll be looking to get back on the top step at Thruxton.”
Maro Engel will be back on track in two weeks time for rounds 17 and 18 at the Thruxton track in Hampshire.