TEAM NEWS: Hitech Racing scored three points-scoring finishes in the third and fourth rounds of the British Formula 3 International Series at Croft on Sunday with both Walter Grubmüller and Max Chilton adding to their tally. The Buckingham-based reigning champions put the disappointment of qualifying behind them to record the fastest lap in race one and take ninth and tenth in race two.
Race one was held in wet conditions and on a track on which it is notoriously difficult to overtake. Both Grubmüller and 17 year-old Chilton struggled to move up the order. However a sterling performance by 19 year-old Grubmüller saw him move up six places to cross the line 13th.
“From where we started and having dropped several places at the start it wasn’t too bad,” said Walter. “It’s so hard to overtake here, really only one or two places, but obviously was a lot easier in the wet conditions. In the second race, I made a good start initially and managed to avoid the big accident, but at the restart I stalled on the grid. Despite that I managed to work my way past the slower cars and get behind Max. Not the perfect way to get points I know, but considering where we started it’s not too bad.”
With Chilton struggling in the closing stages of the race and on a drying track, a clever decision by Team Principal David Hayle to bring Max into the pits to switch to dry tyres, resulted in the fastest lap of the race and an extra point.
“Two rather weird points-scoring races to be honest, said Max. ”In the first race we weren’t quick enough to get any points but David made a good call to bring me in and put slick tyres on which worked as the track was really dry and I got the fastest lap. In the second, I simply wasn’t quick enough but still managed to get two points which I didn’t expect to get, particularly after the bad qualifying.”
The second race was held on a dry track and a great start by both drivers had them maintain their grid positions off the line. However a first lap accident which claimed six cars caused the race to be red-flagged.
While the stricken cars were removed, Walter and Max formed up on the grid to restart in their finishing positions at the end of lap 1. With Walter lining up 12th and Max 13th, the race was declared to be an aggregate of the two races and would be held over 18 laps.
A good start from Chilton allowed him to hold position but Grubmüller stalled on the line and dropped to last leaving him with a huge task ahead. Despite little opportunity for overtaking, Max was able to gain four places and crossed the line ninth.
Behind him, his Austrian team-mate fared better, clawing his way through the field and making up 13 places at the flag to finish tenth the pair both securing their second consecutive points-scoring result.
“It was a very frustrating weekend all round really for both Walter and Max,” said David Hayle. “However we managed to salvage three points from the races, which at the end of year may make all the difference. In the first race, as the track dried Max’s tyres started to go off so we made the decision to bring him in and try for fastest lap.
“We had to wait for exactly the right time to make sure there was no time for any other team to copy but at the same time early enough to allow the tyres to come up to temperature. It was very much a gamble and could have gone either way. We left Walter out in the hope of a top ten.
“He drove a superb second race after his problem off the line and narrowly missed out the points. He overtook several cars and in the closing stages of the race, was really trying hard. It’s good for both of them to get more points to add to those they got at Oulton. Hopefully we can continue to build on that ahead of the next rounds at Monza.”