F3 Euro Series: Sims suffers as Signature racers seize lead
By Andy Darley
Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
Signature Racing team-mates Edoardo Mortara and Marco Wittmann head the F3 Euro Series standings after their closest rival, ART’s British driver Alexander Sims, suffered a weekend to forget in Hockenheim.
Wittmann led the pair home for first and second in the opening race, and they worked their way through the reverse grid in the second for Mortara to take third ahead of his team-mate.
By contrast, Sims crashed out of the opener on the second corner when he was caught out by a rival braking suddenly and ploughed into the back of him.
In the second race, which was won by Mucke’s Roberto Merhi, Sims suffered mechanical problems and dropped back to eighth, having made his way through the field from 17th on the grid.
Motopark Academy’s Adrian Quaife-Hobbs had a solid weekend, taking fifth in the first race and beating Sims to seventh place in the second.
Sims said: “In qualifying we weren’t fast enough, simple as that. I should have been a couple of tenths quicker and, if I had been, we would have been in the fight for pole position. As it was, we started sixth for the first race and retired at the second corner so it most certainly wasn’t the start we had hoped for.
“[Laurens] Vanthoor braked horrendously early for the second corner which caught me out – contact was inevitable. That’s not an excuse by any means, but when a driver brakes 50-metres earlier than would normally be the case it’s easy to be caught out.
“In race two, I’d climbed up to sixth from 17th on the grid so I was pleased with that but then something broke on the car, we’re not sure what the problem was yet but all of my rear grip went away and, as such, my lap times dropped off by at least two seconds. In the end, I was eaten up and slipped to eighth.
“It’s very disappointing but sometimes this is the way things work out.”
Quaife-Hobbs said: “Testing started off well but after more rubber was laid down we ended up more than a second off the pace. For qualifying the team did a great job and made some major improvements to the car which gained us half a second.
“In the opening race the clutch started overheating on the warm-up lap and at the start I got too much wheel spin. However I had a good opening lap and was able to hold on to the lead quartet as we had good pace and I was able to push to the flag.
“Race two started off well, I got a good start but at the hairpin, another car came up the inside of me and touched my wheel which pushed me off line and down the order.
“Overall though I think we’ve made good progress from Paul Ricard and closed the gap to the leaders. We need to keep pushing forward now ready for the next rounds in Spain.”
The F3 Euro Series will continue at the Circuit de Valencia on the weekend of May 22-23.