TEAM NEWS: Top Results for all Three T-Sport Drivers
TEAM NEWS: All three T-Sport drivers secured podium finishes in the second of today’s two British F3 International races at Thruxton. Rodolfo Gonzalez took his first ever Championship Class podium with a storming drive to third, whilst Sergio Perez extended his lead in the National Class with a win in race two, in front of Salman Al Khalifa who followed him home to take an excellent second place.
Compared to his recent form, Rodolfo Gonzalez’s qualifying positions of 10th and seventh were a little disappointing. It was a tight grid at Thruxton though so the smallest of errors would mean a loss of four of five places on the grid. The Venezuelan got away well at the start of race one and the combination of a good start and others going off meant that Rodolfo was soon right up into third place. There was a safety car period during the race and at the restart Rodolfo found himself alongside Jonathan Kennard who eased him onto the grass. As he braked three more cars dived through and Rodolfo had to settle for seventh place. Race two was a different story which saw another demonstration of world-class driving from Rodolfo. After starting in seventh place he was up to fifth by the end of lap one. He hunted down Championship-leader Marko Asmer, setting fastest race lap along the way, and overtook him before setting his sights on Maro Engel, running in third. Rodolfo’s move on Engel, around the outside of the last corner, was incredible and showed just how far Rodolfo has come in the latter part of the 2007 season. With Breen and Mustonen out of reach Rodolfo brought has car home in third position to take his first podium of 2007.
Sergio Perez’s goal this weekend was to extend his lead in the National Class standings and the young Mexican duly delivered the goods. A rare mistake in the first qualifying session meant he missed out on pole position for race one to Frankie Cheng but he took the top spot on the grid for race two. Sergio overtook Cheng during the opening laps of race one and kept the lead all the way to the flag. The victory was his tenth so far this year and he consolidated it with fastest race lap. Race two was a typical Perez performance: pole position, fastest lap and race victory. Sergio now leads the National Class Championship by a very healthy margin of 69 points.
After two non-finishes at Silverstone, Salman Al Khalifa, was keen to collect some points at Thruxton, even though he had never raced at the Hampshire track before. He struggled in the first qualifying session, taking fifth place, but fared better in the next session with fourth. Race one was fairly quiet for the Bahraini but he finished fifth, taking some welcome points. In race two he got away well from fourth and, when Cheng and Meadows didn’t make it to the end of lap one, Salman found himself in second place. He drove a mature race and came home safely to take second position, his best finish of the year so far.
“It was gratifying to see all three drivers get on the podium after race two,” said Team Principal, Russell Eacott. “After a bit of a slow start they all performed well this weekend. Rodolfo is taking great chunks out of his own lap times, improving by the day. Sergio has a good lead on the National Class Championship now and Salman has taken his best result of the year so I’m pretty happy with the weekend’s results.”
The British F3 International Series heads north in two weeks time to Croft for the next two rounds of the Championship on 8/9 September.