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Knight shines in final race of Aus F3 debut

 

Andy Knight of Christchurch ended his first weekend in the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship with a storming drive from the rear of the grid to 5th place at Phillip Island, south of Melbourne yesterday.

Andy Knight of Christchurch ended his first weekend in the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship with a storming drive from the rear of the grid to 5th place at Phillip Island, south of Melbourne yesterday.

The drive was the bright spot of a weekend in which his Renault - Sodemo Dallara F304 was plagued by electrical problems. The Astuti Motorsport car had only arrived in Australia a few days before the event and problems with the wiring loom in the car severely disrupted Knight's Formula 3 debut. Knight first drove the car in a test session on Wednesday which allowed him to adapt to the car as well as learning his way around the fast and demanding 4.46 kilometre Phillip Island circuit.

The official programme began well for Knight when he was quickly on the pace in Friday's first practice session. The 20 - year - old Cantabrian impressed onlookers as he recorded the 6th fastest time, less than one second from the fastest lap of the session. However in Friday's second session the electrical problems surfaced costing the kiwi valuable track time. The team attempted to rectify the problem on Friday evening but the car was no better on Saturday when two qualifying sessions were held to establish grid positions for the following day's races.

The problems persisted in the first of two 14 - lap races on Sunday and Knight was a non - finisher. However the car was back on song for Race 2, allowing Knight to show his true ability as he charged from 12th on the grid to 5th. Knight caught his team mate Michael Trimble of Melbourne on his way to the chequered flag, finishing less than half a second behind the other Astuti Motorsport team car. In the process Knight also recorded the third fastest lap of the race.

Knight was reasonably pleased with the final race after battling to beat the electrical woes earlier in the weekend. "The car was alright, but not great once we got the electrical problems sorted. We lost three and a half sessions while we tried to beat the problem but once we got the car running okay we could compete".

Knight will return to Australia to contest the next round of the series at Queensland Raceway over the weekend of 2 - 3 September.

Formula 3 race cars are lightweight, high downforce, high grip, "wings and slicks" cars that lap most Australian racing circuits 5 - 6 seconds quicker than V8 Supercars. The Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship is contested each year for the prestigious CAMS Gold Star.

Lindsay Beer


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