WITH TREMENDOUS RECOVERY DRIVE Will Bratt produced a remarkable recovery drive during the first round of the 2008 FIAT Spanish Formula 3 Championship at Jarama yesterday afternoon, Saturday, 3rd May, to seal a richly deserved top five finish on his international race debut.The 20-year-old Apotex UK backed British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star made a good start to the race initially but after being boxed-in due to a couple of spinning cars, he found himself down in 11th position on lap two and with plenty of work to do.Fighting his way through the order with terrific determination, Will picked off the positions one by one and managed to climb his way into the top five with a typically impressive performance. He also set the sixth fastest race lap along the way, very encouraging pace considering he spent almost the entire race in traffic battling his way through the field.Speaking after his maiden F3 encounter, the EmiliodeVillota.com Motorsport driver said: “Finishing in the top five was as much as we could have hoped for after the problems early on and although we’re still learning and trying to find the optimum set-up for the car, I’m happy with how things went in the race. Tomorrow, I’m aiming for the podium for sure.”Qualifying this morning didn’t go as planned for Will and his Tecnocasa supported team when a delaminated rear tyre resulted in the F3 rookie not being able to repeat the timesheet topping performance he produced during testing on Friday.Ending the session eighth fastest with a best lap of 1m 29.983 seconds (154.028 km/h), Will was 0.659 seconds shy of pole. Alongside him on row four was Jaime Alguersuari, the Spaniard less than five 100ths of a second quicker.Will’s first ever Formula 3 race start was good and having consolidated eighth place on the opening tour, lap two was where the problems started due to the brace of spinning cars which resulted in the Oxon racer losing three positions.He then produced the sort of quality drive which has become a hallmark during recent seasons in Formula Renault UK, Will not daunted by the challenge ahead and racing beautifully to achieve a top five finish at the Madrid venue.“It was a real shame we had the problem with the tyre in qualifying”, added Will, “It’s such a rare thing to happen so we were incredibly unlucky. I’m confident we’d have been much further up the order like we were in testing on Friday without that but, even so, we showed in the race the sort of pace we’re capable of by climbing from 11th to fifth at the flag.“I can’t wait for tomorrow’s race, with the top six finishers from today reversed on the grid tomorrow it means I’m starting on the front row so I have a great opportunity to score my first ever Formula 3 podium.”With the classified order from the first race on any given Spanish F3 weekend forming the grid for race two, it’s critical for each driver to finish well during the opening encounter. Taking into account the reversal of the top six though, which places Will second on the grid for tomorrow’s outing, round two could potentially deliver a terrific result.
The second race of the 2008 FIAT Spanish Formula 3 Championship is scheduled to take place at 12.30 (local time) today, Sunday, 4th May.Provisional 2008 FIAT Spanish F3 Championship Driver Standings (after Rd1):1st Jaime Alguersuari, 13pts; 2nd Natacha Gachnang, 12pts; 5th Will Bratt, 5pts