Blomqvist shows his resolve at Sachsenring
17-year-old F3 rookie Tom Blomqvist once again demonstrated his raw speed and tenacity as he scored another podium in round six of the ATS Formula 3 Cup at Sachsenring, Germany on 15 May 2011. Tom, who is the reigning Formula Renault UK champion, looked set to challenge for his maiden F3 victory in round five, but for a cruel electrical gremlin which forced the talented young Brit to pit from the lead.
“It was very gutting to have a problem with the master switch in race one. It’s been a tough start to the season, but I’m sure our luck will change. The key point is that I was quick and felt comfortable having taken the lead into turn one, so the potential for race wins is clearly there,” said Blomqvist. “The second race was thankfully a little less eventful. I was in the leading pack, but the pace between us was too close for me to challenge. It’s good to get back on the podium and we can build from here…”
Both F3 qualifying sessions at the physically intensive Sachsenring circuit were marred with traffic, incidents and yellow flags, making it difficult for all 16 competitors to find a clean run. In the session which decided the grid for round five, Tom found space for just one flying lap in the dying stages of the 30-minute qualifying which was good enough to put him P2. In a chaotic second qualifying session, more flags, including one as championship leader Ritchie Stanaway crashed heavily meant opportunities to set a valid time were at a premium. This combined with traffic on his best lap meant Tom had to settle for a second row grid slot for round six, albeit setting a time less than two tenths off pole position.
In round five, Tom, who is the son of World Rally Champion Stig, made a good getaway and took the lead from Stanaway into the first corner. As he started to pull away from the chasing pack, an electrical problem developed, forcing the 17-year-old Briton to pit at the end of the first lap. By the time Tom returned to the track, he was running dead last. Despite the setback the Performance Racing run driver charged-on and displaced several drivers, setting the fastest lap of the race en-route to a disappointing and unfamiliar 13th position.
In round six, the Saffron Walden based driver, made a superb start from fourth place and was sizing up the leading duo into turn one. Given a distinct lack of tarmac to pass safely, Tom wisely backed off and settled for third. From there he put in a solid performance, exchanging times with race-leader Klaus Bachler and F3 veteran Marco Sörensen as the trio pulled away from the following drivers. Following the untimely failure in round five which has left Tom some 32 points off the championship lead, a third-place finish capped a resolute drive in which he demonstrated his focus on stringing together a run of podiums and closing the points gap.
Following a two-weekend break Tom and his fellow competitors will travel to the Assen Circuit, Holland for the next round of the ATS Formula 3 Cup on 4/5 June 2011.