TEAM NEWS: Hitech Racing ended the season with a dominant performance at Rockingham today; newly-crowned Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series champion Marko Asmer cruising to a convincing 13 second advantage at the flag. His young team-mate Walter Grubmüller drove a steady opening race, improving from his 14th grid slot to finish just outside the points in 11th, but the second race showed remarkable pace as he traded fastest laps with the race winner.
Starting from his 11th pole of the season, Asmer judged the lights to perfection, making the best start to take the early lead which he never relinquished, as he went on to record his 11th win of 2007. Lap after the lap the 23 year-old stretched his lead and lap after lap he set the quickest time, the only driver to dip under the 1.12secs barrier to establish a new track lap record.
Eighteen year-old Grubmüller, in his first season in the UK’s premier single-seater championship, made a storming start to make up three places off the line, and thereafter set about chasing down the cars ahead. His eighth quickest lap time in the race showed his pace, and for several laps he enjoyed a four-car battle for tenth, the Austrian just missing out on the place at the flag.
The second race had Marko start from tenth, after a tyre problem in yesterday’s qualifying and after a good start off the line, he maintained position going into turn one. Sadly his final British race of the year was over almost before it began, after contact with another driver pushed him off the track and into instant retirement on the entry to Yenwood corner.
For Grubmüller however, another superb run from the teenager saw him soon up to 13th where he enjoyed a four-way battle for tenth before contact with Michael Devaney dropped him down to last. A superb drive though the field, in which he traded fastest laps with eventual race winner Maro Engel, earnt him 18th at the flag and praise from Team Principal David Hayle.
David Hayle: “It’s disappointing for Walter to have been pushed off but what followed was unbelievable. He was trading fastest laps with Engel for the last five laps and passing people like they were standing still. If he could only qualify and race like that all the time he’d be regularly on the podium. His last five laps of that race were probably his finest five laps of the season.
“A satisfying thing is that from Donington onwards our main rival was saying that that was the end of Marko’s wins and that the young ones were going to catch him, the gap was going to get smaller and that by this time of the year he wouldn’t be winning races. The fact is he’s now winning races by the biggest margins ever, still getting poles, still getting fastest laps, so they’re wrong again!”
Marko Asmer: “It’s good to end the year with another victory but it’s a shame not to have finished the final race of the season. Race one was great, no problems, and I’d had high hopes of a good finish for race two. I made up some places in the first couple of corners but coming into the third corner, we were two cars together and two cars there just don’t fit.”
Walter Grubmüller: “It’s a shame really that I couldn’t have started higher up as I’m sure a better finish would have been possible, but you can’t change it now. Hopefully I can work on qualifying better next year. I passed Devaney going into the hairpin but as we came out he was inside me going into the next right hander, I was already ahead but neither of us moved and we touched and both went off. It took me a while to get going again and then set after chasing the cars ahead. In this morning’s race, I got another good start, but got held up by a few cars. The pace has been there though in both races, so now it’s down to me to qualify higher.”