2008 Lloyds TSB Insurance British Formula F3 Championship National Class
Hywel scores his 1st win and moves to 3rd after Andy crashes out twice at Monza!
Left ( Hywel collects his first winners trophy, awarded by Monza legend John Surtess!) Andy Meyrick was once again the driver setting the practice pace in the British Formula 3 National Class after 2 days of testing and qualifying as the Championship paid a visit to the historic Monza circuit near Milan in Italy. Meyrick driving the Carlin Motorsport Dallaras with a Mugen Honda engine, was quickest in both of Fridays test sessions, and was quick again in Saturday mornings official practice, which was the only session after Fridays session was cancelled after torrential rain flooded the track, and made it too dangerous to drive. Andy was suitable impressed by the high sweeps and corners of the Monza circuit and said "It was awesome, really daunting at first! The car feels good, but it was the right decision to call the first qualifying session off. It was too dangerous, visibility was so poor. Now I only hope I can avoid any incidents in the first corner. Its always tight on the first lap, there is always a problem, but if I can stay out of it I should be fine!" However for Hywel Lloyd testing and qualifying was less productive as his team struggled to set their car up, and he started next to last!
Saturday Round 5.
The un-seasonal rain continued but by the time Saturdays race started, the rain had stopped, and the track was dry.Meyrick and Lloyd had contrasting starts, with Meyrick emerging from the first corner in 6th, while Lloyd after overtaking several cars at the start, opted to take the escape road to avoid the mayhem and was last.
Andy Meyrick (under the banner) looks to avoid the first corner mayhem
Hywel presses on in the early stages of Race 1
However from then on things began to go Lloyds way. Whilst Andy was dicing hard with the International Class Cars and as briefly as high as 4th overall, well ahead of Al-Khalifa 2nd in Class, and Justin Wilson 3rd. Hywel was closing on 18th place after overtaking several cars and then found himself promoted to 3rd in class and then 2nd after first Al-Khalifa spun, and then later agonisingly Andy Meyrick spun out of a 7th place and a commanding class lead. Andy explained later candidly "I was having a good race, I was really enjoying myself. I just pushed too hard!" At least Meyrick had the minor consolation of claiming a point for setting the races fastest lap. Meanwhile Lloyd had closed the gap to Wilson but seemed unable to mount a challenge until it started to rain on the far side of the circuit. Hywel explained "It starting raining toward the Parabolica and then began to work backwards to the Lesmos, and my car started really working well. Even so it was tricky as half of the track was dry and the other half was wet." At this time Wilson seemed powerless to resist, and to scenes of wild celebration by his team CF Racing, Lloyd swept by in the last corner in dramatic fashion to take the chequered flag, for his first win in the National Class of the British F3 Championship. Afterwards he confessed "I was a bit suprised to see my pit board showing me 3rd and then 2nd but as soon as I got into Justins slipstream down the main straight towards the Parabolica and the finish line, I knew I had him." For his part a naturally disappointed Andy Meyrick was amongst the first in a series of well-wishers to congratulate Hywel, commenting "He did well. Ive just got to put it all behind me and concentrate on the second race". However the points gained put Lloyd overnight into 2nd in the National Class points standings with 52 points behind Meyrick who has 84 points.
Round 6/Race 2 - Andy hides from the rain before Sundays race with the WRDA stickers showing on his car
With a further race on Sunday both drivers were looking to cement their positions, but race 2 started with chaos again at the Ascari chicane after a rain-shower created a chain reaction that left several cars stranded and brought out the safety car for 2 laps. Fortunately both Andy and Hywel had avoided the mayhem, Andy again leading the class, (14th overall) and Hywel up to 4th in class, close behind Jay Bridger and Christian Einar at the end of the leading bunch. Andy seemed to be driving well within himself, comfortably ahead of all the National Class runners, even allowing some of the International Class drivers past after a few laps. He seemed to be concentrating on winning the class and looked on course to do so when a clash with another of the Carlin Motorsport cars put him out. Naturally disappointed he explained afterwards. "One of my own team-mates tried to take me out! He hit me and it broke my suspension. When I got to the Parabolica it went straight on. The cars badly damaged, but Im OK"
In the meantime Jay Bridger had inherited the lead, leaving Hywel in 2nd place, hotly pursued by Icelandic driver Kristian Einar. Bridger eventually broke away, leaving Hywel and Kristian to pass and repass each other, in the scrap of the race. Einar did get past in the closing stages but the race was ended with a red flag after a clash of cars at the 1st chicane left Sebastian Hohenthal upside in the middle of the track in the first corner.
Swedish roll - Seb loops it to bring out the red flags
In those circumstances the organisers take the positions at the end of the previous lap, and luckily this gifted Hywel back into 2nd place. After the prizegiving and press conference (Audio) Hywel acknowledged his debt to his team "They have worked day and night to give me a good car to race. We couldnt make it work on Friday but thank goodness we found a set up we could race with. Im delighted" Kristian Einar himself paid respect to Hywel as a racer. "That was a fantastic race, and completely clean" Harry, Hywels dad and team manager said "Im delighted we gave him a car that could work in the wet or dry" The weekends results put Hywel into 3rd place, but Andy Meyrick still leads the Class. There will be little time for the drivers and teams to rest as they head to Rockingham near Corby for the next races in the series in 7 days time.
National Class of the British F3 Championship - Points Standing after 6 rounds
1st Andy Meyrick 84 points 2nd Jay Bridger 71 points3rd Hywel Lloyd 67 points 4th Kristian Einar 40 pts
Results from http://www.tsl-timing.com/ http://www.hywellloyd.com http://www.andymeyrick.com/ http://www.britishf3international.com/