Sixth for Hitech in Bucharest

Hitech Racing continued its run of points-scoring finishes with sixth and ninth in the opening British Formula 3 International Series race at Bucharest on Saturday.  Briton Max Chilton’s six points catapults him ahead of Nick Tandy in the championship battle and consolidates his second place in the British Formula 3 Challenge Cup.While rapid Austrian Walter Grubmüller improved on his grid position to cross the line ninth in the shortened 15 lap race.

This morning’s 30-minute qualifying, held around the streets of Bucharest, had 17 year-old Max, the youngest driver on the grid, repeat his Friday practice form to post the sixth quickest time, despite having just one clear flying lap.  For Grubmüller, who was forced out of the event last year after an early accident, Friday was realistically his first time at the Romanian circuit.  Despite that the 19 year-old had posted some quick times in the two sessions and in qualifying wound up tenth.

Today’s race, round 19 of the 22-round championship, had the two drivers make the perfect getaway, both making up a place as the pack filed through the first corner. At the completion of the opening lap, Max was sixth and Walter tenth as they pulled away from the cars behind.

On lap six a three-car incident involving Stefan Wilson, Kristjan Einar and Philip Major brought out the safety car which bunched the cars up.  At the restart four laps later, the duo again made a good start to maintain position but with overtaking virtually impossible around the narrow streets surrounding Parliament House, the order looked set to stay to the flag.

However on lap 12 the early championship leader Sergio Perez’s engine expired causing his retirement and elevated Walter to ninth. Then as the race neared the 30-minute mark, Ricardo Teixeira spun out, completely blocking the track and forcing the organisers to stop the race.

Max Chilton: “Inevitably on street circuits you’re going to get a lot of accidents and that caused me a few problems in qualifying. You’d get a good start to the lap then you have to ease off because of the yellow flags but after almost 25 minutes I managed to get a clear run on my last lap and qualified sixth. In the race I got a really good start but then the safety car came out and even though it’s so hot, it’s hard to keep the tyre temperatures up but I managed to hold the position to the flag.  I’m more used to the track now so looking ahead to second qualifying tomorrow, I hope to be able to improve on that position and get another good finish in the race.”

Walter Grubmüller: “It was a pretty uneventful race for me; I managed to make up a position at the start but lost it again going into the first corner. After that I just tried to stay out of trouble as I couldn’t make any moves as it’s very narrow here.  I was keeping up with the cars in front so it’s a shame I couldn’t do the job in qualifying. I was very happy with the car so now tomorrow it’s a question of staying out of traffic and hopefully I can qualifying in the top six for the race.”

Walter and Max will return to track activity at 10:45 on Sunday morning for the second qualifying session which will determine the grid for race two, scheduled to start at 16:00 tomorrow.

Results of Race One – 15 laps1. Brendon Hartley Carlin Motorsport Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA 23:50.6962. Oliver Turvey Carlin Motorsport Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA 23:56.5273. Jaime Alguersuari Carlin Motorsport Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA 23:57.3974. Esteban Guerrieri Ultimate Motorsport Mygale M-08F3 Mercedes HWA 23:58.8995. Sam Abay Carlin Motorsport Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA 23:59.5186. Max Chilton Hitech Racing Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA 24:00.4119. Walter Grubmüller Hitech Racing Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA 24:02.266

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