TEAM NEWS: ULTIMATE MOTORSPORT CAME WITHIN A FEW LAPS OF A WELL-DESERVED PODIUM CELEBRATION AS THE TEAM FINISHED ITS MAIDEN SEASON IN THE BRITISH F3 INTERNATIONAL SERIES WITH A FINAL FOURTH PLACE AT ROCKINGHAM MOTOR SPEEDWAY ON SUNDAY.
Argentine Esteban Guerrieri was running third in the final race of the year but missed out on the podium finish the team were so desperately seeking when Sebastien Hohenthal overtook him in controversial circumstances midway through the race, leaving the Ultimate driver to pick up an equal-best fourth place finish.
Team owner Barry Walsh said: "It was so nearly the perfect end to a great season in British F3. We were so close to getting that podium but overall I think we can say we did a bloody good job this season. Everyone in the team needs a massive pat on the back - and a few beers. It's been good craic and we are all off for a party! Then we're looking forward to the next step on Ultimate's agenda. We have some pretty big plans, so watch this space."
Team manager Jonny Ostrowski said: "We came here with high expectations so I have to admit that we are a little dissapointed to come away with P4, equalling our best result. Esteban was holding P3 but the race had a long way to go and unfortunately Seb got by.
"On reflection it has been an exceptional season for us. When we started last December we didn't have anyone on the team with F3 experience, we have had to grow very quickly as a team and I think we have done a pretty good job. I need to thank Mick and Esteban for all their hard work and patience over the course of the season.
"Thanks also to everyone on the team. They all knew the standards they needed to achieve and they have certainly done that! We also need to thank everyone at Mygale for what they have done in their first season in F3 - we both knew it would be tough and it certainly was!
"Thanks also to HWA for providing excellent trackside support, they really were part of the team! Of course none of this would have been possible if it wasn't for Barry. He had the vision and the passion to go out and do it so a big thank you to him for never saying no!"
In a difficult opening race of the day, Guerrieri, who spun in qualifying, started from 25 th on the grid but made up 10 places on the opening lap while Michael Devaney moved from 18th to 12th. Guerrieri climbed two more places on lap two then held 13th behind Devaney to the end.
The second race had a more encouraging start with Guerrieri storming from seventh on the grid to fourth while Devaney climbed from 14 th to eighth. As Devaney dropped away to eventual retirement with brake problems, Guerrieri moved up to third when a car in front was penalised for a jump start.
The Argentine driver absorbed the pressure from Hohenthal for several laps before making a small mistake and allowing his rival to close in and pass at the oval banking on the first corner. Hohenthal dropped over the white line to pass but unfortunately he got away without having to do a drive through.
Guerrieri said: "The first race the car was good and my start was great. I passed loads of slow cars on the opening lap and got a good rhythm. For the first few laps the car was really handling well but then the degradation in the tyres began and I couldn't push, so we just ran the rest of the race.
"The second race I had another very good start and made it up to fourth from seventh, then climbed to third. The car was much better in this race and I was comfortable in third, but then I hit a bit of a dirty patch in a fast corner in the middle of the circuit and Hohenthal closed on me.
"He was right on my ass coming onto the line and then he went down on the inside of the first corner. He went under the white line that we were told not to go over during the drivers' briefing and made it past me. It was totally wrong, and we should have got that podium. Instead, I got fourth."
Devaney said: "I can't really say much. To sum it up in one word - sh*te. To be honest, it was a pretty crap weekend from start to finish. I had a good start in race one, but that was about it. The car wouldn't brake hard into the corners, it made it tough in the first race and impossible in the second.
"It was a shame to finish such a great season in that way, but I think everyone in the team can definitely look back and say we have done a great job. We have come up the grid and got in some good results against generally a strong field – although I do think Grubmuller and Mansell should go take up doubles tennis!"