Breen Races To Maiden F3 Euro Podium

Irishman Niall Breen produced by far the best performance of his debut season in the ultra-competitive Formula 3 Euroseries on Sunday, 27th July, by steering his Mercedes powered Manor Motorsport run car to a fine second place finish during the 12th round of the year at Germany’s Nurburgring.In his maiden season driving for John Booth’s Dinnington based team, the 22-year-old from Dundalk has encountered more than his fair share of misfortune so far but things came right on Sunday with his second pole position start and first visit to the rostrum.Taking pole by virtue of his eighth place finish during round 11 on Saturday – under F3 Euroseries rules, the finishing order of the first race on any given weekend sets the grid for race two, with the exception of the top eight which is reversed – Breen knew a good start would be critical on a circuit where overtaking is at a premium.Getting away very well initially, Breen locked up into the first corner and the momentary error presented an advantage to second-placed starter Jon Lancaster who went through into the lead. Pressing as hard as possible over the remainder of the race, all the Manor ace could do was stare at the rear of the British driver’s car and follow it home in second.“I am happy with second place, although I would have liked to win this one”, commented Breen after round 12, “On the first few laps I tried to attack, but overtaking is very difficult here. I had a gap over the guys behind me, so I safely drove home in second place.” Honda Racing protégé Koudai Tsukakoshi ended the race out of the points in 11th position, a great effort from 24th on the grid. British sensation Sam Bird concluded round 12 in 19th place with Kazuya Oshima just behind in 20th position – the Japanese star was running nicely inside the top 10 but a spin late on at turn one cost him dear.The first of the weekend’s races on Saturday again saw Breen assuming the mantle as lead Manor driver. Thriving on Nurburgring’s short circuit, the Irish star climbed from 15th on the grid to eighth position at the finish. On the opening lap alone he had made his way into the top 10 but from then on, progress was limited as he gained two more spots.Toyota Driver Programme backed racer Oshima lined up 17th on the grid for the first race but did well to climb into 11th by the finish. Tsukakoshi, meanwhile, continued to miss out on adding to his championship tally after retiring on the 18th lap of 29 with broken rear suspension.Bird too hit problems, taking the chequered flag in 22nd position a lap down on the leaders. Off the start, Bird headed into turn one cleanly but contact on his inside pitched him into a spin. After pitting to rectify the damage, he rejoined a long way down.With a five week break in the F3 Euroseries calendar ahead of the annual British visit of the championship to Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent on 30th/31st August, the next action for Manor Motorsport’s Formula 3 operation will be a fortnight from now, over the weekend 9th/10th August, for the BP Ultimate Masters event at Zolder in Belgium.Bringing together the cream of Formula 3 drivers from the world’s premier F3 championships, Europe’s biggest and most high profile F3 event is one of two stand-alone races Manor will contest in 2008 – the other being the Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix in mid-November.

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