News 04 Jul 2017

Podium, Pace and Pole Positions

Once a year, the picturesque German town of Nuremberg embraces the sights, sounds and smells of motorsport, dishing up a challenging street circuit with high speed straights and hair-raising hairpins. The Norisring played host to the fifth round of the FIA Formula 3 championship this weekend, where Hitech proved to have phenomenal pace across a toilsome weekend.

Following difficult practice sessions on Friday morning, we set about crunching the numbers in search for extra pace ahead of Qualifying.

Our hard work was awarded during a thrilling qualifying session, with the teams times constantly improving as the seconds ticked down. With a final flying lap there were fists punching the air, as Jake Hughes posted an incredible 48.231 securing his first F3 pole position.

Heartbreak for Jake

With the best seat in the house for race one, Jake launched off into the clean air, pulling a sizeable gap from the tousling pack behind as they headed down to the tight hairpin. Meanwhile, pushing from 12th on the grid, Ralf Aron found himself with nowhere to go as he was boxed in by a first corner clash, with minimal damage the Estonian set after chasing the pack and recovering his position. Back at the front, Jake masterfully controlled the race holding off any challenge from Günther, further pulling a gap in a powerful charge after the full course yellow.As the race played on, Norris found a way by Günther and became hot on the back of Jake’s wheels as we entered the final few laps. In a nail-biting battle, the Brummie wonder valiantly held off the challenge from his fellow Brit, with a series of expertly carved lines. Until with only 6 minutes remaining, the pair found themselves on the dirty side of the track, losing grip the Carlin driver punted the back of Jake’s car, sending our race leader spinning into the tyre barrier, ending his race on the spot. With the win devastatingly close, the team found solace in a stunning drive from Tadasuke Makino, shooting to 8th from 17th on the grid, followed by a superb recovery from Ralf in 9th and Nikita Mazepin rounding out the points positions in 10th.

Front row lock-out for lights-out

Refocussed for the 2nd qualifying session, it wasn’t long before the Hitech squad set the timing screen alight in a phenomenal showing of pace. With times toppling in, it was once again Jake who sat on provisional pole, but as chequered flag fell on the session, Ralf punched in a scorching lap to go 0.082s faster. His herculean effort proving to be the fastest ever Formula 3 lap at the street track. With our Estonian ace celebrating in the cockpit, team Hitech gave rapturous applause and high-fives all round, to our first front-row lock out of the season.

Fresh out of the car,  Ralf gave us his lowdown:

“I’m very happy, the car felt mega – I’m really proud of the mechanics and engineers. At the start of the season, we were having many problems, but we worked hard and we never gave up.”

With our pulses racing as the lights went out, we watched eagerly as the boys powered off the line with Jake holding off the competition from behind and Ralf taking a 1.5 second lead. Soon our Brit found Norris chasing his tail once more and with the slipstream advantage Norris found his way by. All eyes were glued to the screens as we watched Ralf starve Norris of the inside line as they wrestled for the top spot. We peered through our fingers as the pair ran side-by-side with Norris just clinching the eventual lead.

With Jake ready to muscle in on the action, we were on tenterhooks as the four-way battle for the lead ran into turn one, pulling a move on Ralf, Jake promoted himself to 2nd place. Sadly a dislodged front wing saw the Estonian fall further back to 5th. Claiming a podium to soothe his disappointment from Saturday, Jake held his trophy aloft in tribute to the team, encouraged by the pace and more eager than ever to hunt down that elusive win.

“Our car has felt really good in qualifying this weekend and to be back on the podium felt great, especially after missing out on Saturday. Lando caught me halfway through the race, but I stayed closely behind him to take any opportunity and it worked out claiming P2. Our aero package has improved since Budapest and the car is much more stable to drive, especially on the limit.” Commented Jake.