TEAM NEWS: Croft Beckons for Title-Chasing Hitech Racing
TEAM NEWS: Hitech Racing heads to the penultimate round of the Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series this weekend hoping to clinch its first title in the UK’s premier single-seater series. The Silverstone-based team, with Estonian Marko Asmer, currently lead the series by a massive 72 points from Maro Engel, with four rounds and a maximum 84 points remaining.
After the last round at Thruxton, which saw the team frustrated with their lack of straight-line speed, they completely rebuilt the cars of both Asmer and his talented young team-mate Walter Grubmüller prior to testing at Rockingham last week.
With the outfit and Asmer back on form, heading the times in both sessions at the Northamptonshire circuit home to the grand finale in late September, they return to the North Yorkshire track this weekend hoping to reproduce the form that has seen them clinch nine wins and eight pole positions this season.
For Hitech Racing double victory this weekend would earn them the title they’ve been craving since they first entered the British F3 arena in 2004 and for team Principal David Hayle would be the achievement of a personal goal. For Asmer, who with Hitech led the series at the half-way point that year and just missed out on the title, it would mark the realisation of a dream that would see him follow in the footsteps of former F3 and F1 champions Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and Nelson Piquet.
For F3 rookie Grubmüller, who came into the series with just a season of Formula Renault behind him and who has steadily improved in his very season, Croft will mark another new challenge. A new track on which to learn but one on which he and the rest of the F3 runners will have the benefit of extra track time with Friday’s two 50-minute test sessions around the 2.13 mile circuit prior to the crucial Saturday qualifying.
Although the title is now within their grasp, Hayle and the rest of the Hitech team remain focussed on winning races and view this weekend’s outing like any other event. For Asmer and Grubmüller though a strong showing in testing at Rockingham last week, which saw Asmer quickest overall in both sessions and Grubmüller chasing the fourth quickest time before a red-flag ended his run, victory and podium finishes are their personal aims.
“After the Thruxton weekend, where he struggled with a lack of straight-line speed, we completely checked and rechecked everything on both cars but found nothing wrong with either of them,” said Hayle. “At Rockingham last week we were able to get back up to the top of the times with Marko and Walter drove superbly throughout, looking likely for a third or fourth quickest time, so we head to Croft feeling very confident of a strong result for both of them.
“Yes it’s a strong position to be in, we have a good lead in the points, but there are still four races to run and so we can’t and won’t get complacent, even at this last stage. We’re a race-winning team and like every other team out there on the grid winning the championship is the overall aim but to do that you need to be winning races so that again will be our objective on Sunday.”
Qualifying kicks off proceedings on Saturday with two 30-minute sessions taking place at 11.40 and 14.30 with the two races scheduled to start on Sunday at 12.50 and 16.05.