CHALLENGING WEEKEND FOR JON LANCASTER AT MUGELLO
The second round of the Formula 3 Euroseries at Mugello proved challenging for championship rookie Jon Lancaster this weekend. After superb pre-season form and a top six qualifying time at the opening round, Jon’s Italian job promised much of the same.
With no ill-effects from his dramatic race accident in the season opener in Hockenheim, the 19 year-old posted the quickest time in Thursday’s wet free practice session. A drying track left him eighth quickest with his wet set-up. However a gearbox problem in the all-important qualifying session on Friday prevented him from repeating that form.
Lining up 22nd for the opening race, the Leeds teenager struggled to make his way through the hugely competitive field, on a track on which it is notoriously difficult to overtake. Despite that, Jon managed to fight his way back after losing places at the start of the first 21-lap race although he was unable to make any real headway.
Starting 23rd for race two, the BRDC Superstar again struggled to make up any places and now hopes that he has used up all of his bad luck for the 2008 F3 season.
“I had such high hopes of a strong finish here this weekend,” said Jon. “The ART Grand Prix team is obviously one of the leading teams out there, as its other drivers are right up at the front. I’ve been very quick in testing and in the wet on Thursday was P1 right up until the track dried.
“Even then I was still eighth quickest on my first time to the track and with a wet set-up. I’ve had intensive treatment to my knee injury sustained in Hockenheim and have fully recovered from it. So I was certain we’d really be on the pace and things were looking good until the gearbox problem we had in qualifying.
“After that I really had no chance to progress in the races. Mugello is a fabulous track but it’s so hard to overtake on. There are no slow speed corners and although I was able to close up to cars on the straight, I just couldn’t get past them into the corners. To say it was a challenging weekend would be an understatement. But I know the car is good and the team is good, it was just a combination of technical issues that prevented us from converting practice pace into results.”
Jon will be hoping for a return to the success that netted him the runner-up slot in last season’s Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship on his next outing, which will be around the fabulous street circuit of Pau in France over the weekend of 30 May – 1 June.