Carlin's Hartley takes victory in race two at Croft
TEAM NEWS: Carlin driver Brendon Hartley took victory at the Croft circuit in Yorkshire today, in an action packed round four of the British F3 championship. The young Kiwi driver led the race throughout, which saw a restart following a multi-car accident on lap three involving Carlin driver Sam Abay. Team mate Oliver Turvey joined Hartley on the podium, fighting his way to third place, while Oulton race winner Jaime Alguersuari came home fifth.
Earlier in the day, the team were on track for round three of the 2008 season. Following heavy rain overnight, the drivers were faced with challenging conditions as race one got underway, with all four International Class cars on wet tyres. As the top Carlin driver on the grid, Brendon Hartley made a good start away from the line, only to tangle with Ricardo Teixeira at the first corner which resulted in both drivers finishing their race in the gravel trap. With Hartley out, Jaime Alguersuari was the lead Carlin driver, the Spanish youngster having made a lightening start from his 10th place grid slot to cross the line fifth by the end of lap one.
Having made last minute set-up changes to his car for the wet conditions, the Red Bull driver was able to fend off drivers behind him for the first half of the race, but as the track dried out Alguersuari struggled to maintain his pace and was passed by Esteban Guerrieri and Atte Mustonen on lap 12 and by Marcus Ericsson on lap 19. Nevertheless the young F3 rookie brought his car home in perfect condition having added six points to his tally.
Behind Alguersuari, Sam Abay was the next Carlin driver, but ran wide coming out of the first chicane and lost a number of places on the slippery grass. Having dropped from ninth place to 11th by the end of lap one, the Australian rookie regained momentum, and crossed the line tenth to take the final point. Team mate Oliver Turvey also lost a number of places from his seventh place grid slot after stalling on the grid. The Racing Steps Foundation driver fought back however, with a stunning drive through the field to go from 19th at the end of lap one to eighth place by the chequered flag.
The track had dried for the second race of the day, with all four Carlin International Class drivers making a good getaway, with Hartley leading the field. An incident involving Marcus Ericsson and Sergio Perez half way round the first lap resulted in a multi-car pile up involving Carlin driver Sam Abay. With track officials needing time to clear the track, the race was red flagged and a new grid re-formed from the running order at the end of lap one.
As the race was restarted, Hartley was still on pole, with Turvey fourth and Alguersuari fifth. The field made it round safely on the second attempt, with the three Carlin drivers maintaining their positions. Eager to make his second visit to the podium, Turvey was chasing down Atte Mustonen and found his way past to take third place on lap 12. Positions remained unchanged for the remainder of the race, with Hartley taking a superb win ahead of Turvey in third and Alguersuari in fifth.
Race winner Hartley commented, “I just had to concentrate on making no mistakes and keeping Sergio [Perez] behind me. He did a fantastic job and he really kept me under pressure but I managed to maintain a small gap. It was just a fantastic result for me and the team, as obviously I’ve had some problems at the start of the season so it’s nice to be on top again. It’s boosted my confidence and rewarded the team’s belief in me as well.”
Commenting on Carlin’s performance team director Martin Stone said, “I’m delighted with the team’s performance in the second race, to finish with three drivers in the top five is a great result and speaks volumes about the team’s consistency. Brendon did an impressive job to take the victory and kept calm during the restart. Oliver and Jaime were also impressive to take a strong points haul. The entire team is relieved that Sam was unhurt in what was a big accident, and it’s a shame that he wasn’t able to demonstrate what he was capable of this weekend. Generally it was another strong weekend from the team and the championship remains wide open.”