Rookie Alex Lynn seventh in Masters of F3

Star Formula 3 rookie Alex Lynn finished seventh in the first of the categorys elite events of 2012, the Masters of F3.

The Masters race, which takes place at the former Dutch Grand Prix circuit of Zandvoort, attracts most of the cream of European and British Formula 3 competitors, and 18-year-old Lynn was right in the mix for much of the weekend.

The Fortec Motorsport team that runs Lynns Mercedes-powered Dallara had not competed in the Masters of F3 since 2009, and Alex had never driven on the control Kumho tyres that are used in the race. But he did a good job during Fridays free practice to end the second session in third place.

The Kumho tyre is a lot different to anything Ive ever driven on, he explained. Theyre more peaky than the Coopers we use in British F3they only last for three or four laps at their best and they require a completely different driving style. High-speed corners feel the same, but the sidewall is really stiff so in slow-speed you just dont get the sensation of the car loading up. Its a much flatter feel.

I was pleased with the time I did in free practice; I really managed to drag a lap out of it but I still felt we had a chunk of time to find in thecar.

Saturdays qualifying was delayed due to torrential rain flooding the paddock access tunnel, but Lynn went a strong third in the opening session.Then it dried for the second qualifying period, and he dropped to 10th on the gridbut less than half a second off the front row in an ultra-competitive field.

I felt quite comfortable in the wet, but unfortunately we didnt get it right in the dry and I was disappointed with where we ended up on the grid, said Alex.

A tremendous opening lap from Lynn promoted him from 10th to seventh. I went down the inside of Sven Muller into the first corner, then got around the outside of Felix Rosenqvist (who won the Masters in 2011) at Turn 3, and passed Michael Lewis when he made a mistake at the second-last corner, he explained.

Alex, who is a member of the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy, the MSAs Team UK and the British Racing Drivers Clubs SuperStars programme, then chased William Buller, a race winner in the Euro Series this season, for sixth place. But the Zandvoort circuit is notoriously difficult to overtake on and, while Lynn could not tackle Buller successfully, who knew that he was similarly safe from Lewis.

I was quicker than Will, but once the race got into its rhythm I just couldnt get close enough through the high-speed corners to be able to make a pass, he said. Zandvoort is a great track to drive, but so hard to overtake on. Lewis caught up before the finish but it was one of those cases of looking in the mirror and thinking hed never have a chance as long as I didnt make a mistake.

Alex is now looking ahead to the next round of the British F3 International Series, which takes place in Belgium supporting the Spa 24 Hours on July 26-28. Before then, he will test with the Fortec team at Welsh track Pembrey this week as they try developments for the crucial end-of-season run-in.

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