TEAM NEWS: The Ultimate Motorsport team goes from strength to strength, claiming its best-ever result just three weeks after the team's first podium at Croft. Rounds five and six of the British Formula 3 Championship, held at the fabled Italian circuit of Monza that hosts the country's Grand Prix, was action-packed from start to finish: especially for the Ultimate Motorsport team.
Race one saw two of the team's three cars qualify in the top 10, but this promising start would come to a premature end. Esteban Guerrieri, who had started from fifth on the grid, climbed as high as second - but was then taken out by another competitor, ending his race with a damaged car in a gravel trap.
Exactly the same fate befell Michael Devaney, who started from seventh, but in a much more spectacular fashion. The Irishman was also tagged but this time he went barrel-rolling through the air, eventually landing on his wheels.
Ricardo Teixeira, who qualified 17th, was excluded for unintentionally overtaking under yellow flags and was not classified.
All these various adventures meant a lot of work for the Ultimate Motorsport mechanics to fix the damage, and consequently many did not get to their beds until the very early hours of the morning. The hard work turned out to be well worth the effort. Michael and Esteban were fourth and sixth on the grid for race two, which started in damp conditions, while Ricardo was a little further back in 17th again.
At the start, both Michael and Esteban got off to a flyer, battling amongst themselves as well as the other competitors. There were several thrilling and daring overtaking moves, during which the two Ultimate drivers both held second place at various points. The racing, some of the best of the year so far, was hard but fair, captivating the Italian spectators.
As the track dried Michael fell behind, encountering more and more understeer. Ricardo meanwhile had been into the pits twice: once to change onto wet tyres and again to serve a drive-through penalty for cutting a chicane. They eventually finished 12th and 18th respectively.
Nothing stopped Esteban though, who had battled his way into second with a series of combative moves and was even challenging for first as the race came to a close. In the end he was delighted to finish on the podium once more and score Ultimate's best-ever result. This has consequently moved the Argentinean up to joint fifth in the championship.
"It's been a fantastic day, and this astonishing achievement is all down to the hard work of the Ultimate Motorsport team," said Esteban at the finish. "I felt very comfortable with the car throughout the race and I had a very good set-up. I enjoyed some really good battles, and this time it was all very clean and fair. We've had a great race, and that obviously puts us in a really good position for the future.""
Michael said: "At the beginning of the race the car felt really good and I was able to challenge, but then it went away from me as the track dried and I started to get big understeer. It was maybe a result of the accident yesterday, but when the conditions suited it the car was very quick.""
Ricardo added: "It wasn't a perfect race for us, as we lost too much time in the pits, but the potential of the car is good. Without our delays we could have been up there, and that is my target for the next race.""
Team Owner Barry Walsh commented: "Once again we've had a weekend of absolute extremes, but it's ended in the sweetest possible way with our best-ever result. This excellent result is down not only to the obvious talents of Esteban, but also down to the hard work of the entire Ultimate Motorsport team, who stopped at nothing to make sure that all the cars were in top form for race two. Having finished third at the last round in Croft and second here in Monza, it's clear that there's only one way forward now - and as always that's going to be our goal at the next race in Rockingham.""
Rounds seven and eight of the British Formula 3 Championship take place next weekend at Rockingham, on the Bank Holiday weekend of May 24-26.