Mixed Fortunes For Hitech In Euro F3 Opener
Problems Upset First Race
Mixed Fortunes For Hitech In Euro F3 Opener

Hitech Racing's Formula 3 drivers, James Jakes and James Walker got their 2006 season off to a mixed start at Hockenheim this afternoon. Both drivers showed great race pace throughout the 40-minute race, Jakes making up 12 places to take ninth on his International F3 debut and Walker moving through the field and up into 11th place before his fire extinguisher went off over the kerbs.

A startline incident involving Michael Herck who stalled and Bruno Fechner who ran into the back of him caused the safety car to be deployed and for six laps the pack held station behind it. At the restart, the Hitech pairing drove steadily, moving through the pack and up into 10th and 11th place before being held up by the damaged car of Esteban Guerrieri. As Jakes continued his charge through the field into ninth place, Jerseyman Walker was forced into retirement on lap 19.

The event, the opening round of the F3 Euroseries, not only marked the first appearance at the track for the Silverstone-based team but they also had to adapt to a different tyre to that used in the British series. After the strong showing by both drivers, team owner David Hayle was delighted with their performance. “Considering it’s ours and the drivers’ first ever time here, and James Jakes first ever International F3 race, I’m very happy with the result. Both drivers showed exceptional pace in the race, making up many places from their qualifying positions, and both should be happy with that. James Walker was very unlucky to have his fire extinguisher go off over the kerbs, but prior to that, he drove a very steady race and made good progress through the field.”

James Jakes narrowly missed out on clinching pole for tomorrow’s second round, the grid for that being determined by reverse positions from the first eight in race one. His fifth row slot though is a great improvement from today’s and the 18 year-old Yorkshireman is relishing the prospect of a good race then. “I’m very happy with the result,” said Jakes. “It’s my first F3 race at this level and it was thoroughly enjoyable. I made some really good overtaking moves, which I’m very happy with and now really looking forward to tomorrow’s race.”

Twenty-two year-old James Walker was equally happy with his performance before being forced to pull off the track four laps from home. “I didn’t make a brilliant start, a bit too much wheelspin, but managed to get through all the confusion. After the safety car came in, I had a good battle with my team-mate and we were moving through the field when the fire extinguisher suddenly went off in my face. That was it, I couldn’t see anything and had to pull off at the hairpin.”

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