Successful Croft test for Champions

British F3 champions Hitech Racing concluded the final day of official testing at Croft circuit yesterday, with Austrian Philip Eng posting the fourth quickest time of the afternoon, in his first outing in a 2008 specification F3 car. His countryman Walter Grubmüller also started well but was unlucky to suffer with an engine problem in the afternoon. This put paid to his chances of repeating his impressive performance last time out at the North Yorkshire track.

The day’s final session, in preparation for the next round of the British Formula 3 International Series later this month, was held in dry conditions and resulted in the fastest overall time for sophomore Atte Mustonen. Esteban Guerrieri, also in his second season in Formula 3, was second quickest with 23 year-old McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver finalist Nick Tandy third.

Nineteen year-old Grubmüller, in his second season racing with the Buckingham-based team, had enjoyed a successful start to the test, posting the tenth quickest time in the morning.  He was unable to run in the afternoon session but remains positive ahead of next week’s two days at Snetterton. “I guess it was quite good but obviously ultimately disappointing to have the engine let go.

“The times were coming down so it’s a bit of shame as I know there was some more time to come.  I’m not too worried though, we have another couple of days next week before we go to Croft and I’m reasonably confident that by the time we go into qualifying for the next round we’ll be back in a good position.”

“For Walter it was very disappointing in the afternoon on day two,” said Team Principle David Hayle. “Once again he was right on the pace and the lap times were steadily coming down.  We were looking forward to another top six fastest time but just as he put on new tyres then we had an engine problem.”

For 18 year-old Eng, the 2007 Formula BMW World Final winner, the test was his first ever run in a current F3 car and he was quick to praise Hitech and David Hayle for the opportunity. “I really enjoyed working with the Hitech team and in particular my engineer David Hayle.

“They taught me a lot not just about the technical side but also on the driving side which I know will help me when I race in the German series.  It was my very first time in an ’08 spec car and I improved a lot throughout the two days.  I think everyone in the team should be happy with the performance which resulted in the sixth quickest time overall, I would definitely like to race with Hitech at some point this season, I just have to wait for a decision from my sponsors.”

David Hayle was equally happy with the performance of the teenager currently competing in the German Formula 3 Championship: “It was a reasonably successful test in that Philip did a great job on his first ever time in a new car. He was quick from the start and steadily improved over the two days. I would have liked to have seen what he could do on another set of new tyres!”

The Hitech Racing team will resume testing at Snetterton in Norfolk next Tuesday and Wednesday.