TEAM NEWS: Carlin drivers confident ahead of Croft
TEAM NEWS: The Carlin F3 squad head to North Yorkshire this weekend for the penultimate event of the 2007 British F3 season. The Hampshire based team will be heading to the Croft circuit just outside Darlington, which makes a welcome return to the F3 calendar after a one year absence.
Maro Engel is the only driver mathematically capable of stopping championship leader Marko Asmer from winning the 2007 title at Croft this weekend, although it will be a tall order for the 22 year-old German, who has won two races so far this season.
Carlin’s rookies Sam Bird and Niall Breen will be ones to watch at Croft. Bird will be determined to return to his normal habitat of the post race podium having won both Formula BMW races at the track in 2005, and taking victory again in Formula Renault in 2006. Breen meanwhile should also be strong at the Yorkshire track, having succeeded his now Carlin team mate by winning both Formula BMW races there last year on his way to becoming 2006 champion.
With Croft not featuring on last year’s British F3 calendar, Brazilians Alberto Valerio and Mario Moraes will make their racing debuts at the circuit this weekend. With only one test at the track in snowy conditions earlier this year, Friday’s practice sessions will be a steep learning curve for the South Americans.
BP Ultimate driver Sam Bird, currently the top rookie driver, is looking forward to his weekend at the circuit. “I really like Croft, the track holds some good memories; I took two pole positions, two fastest laps and two race wins there in Formula BMW, so obviously that was a fantastic weekend for me. Last season I won there in Formula Renault, so I’m hoping I can continue the pattern with a win in F3. It would be good to get back on the podium and back up the championship standings after a couple of rough races. I feel confident that we will be back on form this weekend.”
Talking about his expectations ahead of the weekend, 21 year-old Breen said, “I’m hoping to build on my good results at Thruxton and get back on the podium. Croft is a great circuit to drive, but also quite challenging; with high and low speed sections. I won there twice in Formula BMW so it’s a circuit I feel confident at. On top of that we had a very positive test at Rockingham last week, and I’m feeling very comfortable in the car at the moment, hopefully we will be able to build that into some strong results this weekend.”
Team Principal Trevor Carlin added, “Croft makes a welcome return to the F3 calendar this season. It’s a good track which produces great races. The last time F3 visited Croft the team took three podium positions, with Alvaro Parente taking his first win of the season on his way to the 2005 F3 title, so the track holds good memories for us. Unfortunately a good record there in the past won’t help us this weekend, but we have a very strong team this season. Maro is obviously a contender for race wins, while Sam and Niall have five previous wins at the circuit between them. Alberto and Mario are also capable of winning races and will be determined to put themselves at the front of the field as the season draws to a close.”