Lancaster ready for return to racing

 Jon Lancaster returns to racing action in the second round of the F3 Euroseries at Mugello in Italy this weekend.  The 19 year-old BRDC Superstar dominated the second half of the 2007 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship and will drive for ART Grand Prix in the 20-round series.

The Leeds teenager has been impressive during pre-season testing despite competing against more experienced racers, many of whom are in their second or third season in F3.  A string of race victories last season secured him the runner-up spot in the hotly contested Eurocup Formula Renault championship and this year the Multiflight-sponsored driver moves up to the series that set Lewis Hamilton on the road to Formula One.

This weekend’s event will include a new challenge for Jon, the superb Mugello track is unknown to him but the talented teenager is not fazed by that prospect.

“I don’t know Mugello at all,” said Jon. “But I’ve been playing it on play station and watching videos as there’s not a lot else you can do really. It shouldn’t be too bad though, we’ve got testing on Thursday and we’ll have four hours track time.  Hopefully it’ll be dry and I can get some good running and then we’ll see."

At the opening rounds at Hockenheim Jon was consistently quick with a sixth place grid slot for the opening round putting him right up with the more experienced opposition.  This weekend, he is determined for more of the same in his bid for his maiden F3 race win. But, with the hugely competitive series he knows it will be a tough challenge.

“I’m hoping for pretty much the same pace we had at Hockenheim, if not quicker.  We’ve been top five in pretty much every test and I’ll be pushing for top three and to be consistently up there to try and keep scoring points. 

“It’s a very close championship and this season looks like being the closest yet. Any one of around 12 drivers could probably win.”

The youngster escaped serious injury in an horrific-looking crash on his F3 debut in Hockenheim recently but following intensive ultra-sound and physiotherapy work to his knee is relishing a return to track action.

“I can’t wait to get back out there really. I’ve been sat around doing nothing for two and a half weeks just putting ice on my knees and I’m just eager to get back especially after the good results we’ve had in testing and at the first race.

“The accident was one of those typical racing incidents when you’re travelling at 200kph. It happened in a split second, I was right under his rear wing and he moved slightly to the right. Unfortunately he braked a little too early.

“I ended up hitting his rear wheel which lifted me up in the air.  As soon as I went up I could see the top of the grandstands and I thought I was coming back down. Then the wind got under it and I saw blue sky and thought ‘uh oh that’s the end of that!‘ I just held on to my belts and waited for whatever was coming.”

Jon will be on track on Thursday for testing followed by qualifying and one race on Saturday and the second race on Sunday.