Tentative Start For Gilmour's New Car In Tasmania
:: 2006 Australian F3 - Round 2
Symmons Plains Report ::
Armed with a new car, Gilmour Racing had high hopes for the round 2 of the Australian Formula 3 Championship, though technical glitches and inexperience with the car hampered what could have been a better start. However, the team still walked away with strong points and driver Chris Gilmour is in the championship hunt with six rounds still remaining.
The Queensland team finished Symmons Plains round in Tasmania with a sixth-place finish in race one, and in the second race finished in fourth place - giving Chris Gilmour a further 16 championship points to his tally, and keeping him in sixth place in the standings.
Symmons Plains may have marked the second round of the 2006 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star, but it also marked the beginning of a new era for Chris Gilmour and Gilmour Racing, who ran their new Dallara F304 for the first time in a special Wednesday testing session.
Unfortunately, the car - decked-out in a striking new livery, came to grief early with electrical problems, and the team lost three hours of valuable testing time.
“By the time we got the car back on track it was pouring rain, with snow on the mountains,” Chris Gilmour said.
“The rain didn't bother me, the car felt good in the wet; turned in well and had heaps on stick in a straight line!” Gilmour exclaimed, “But then again an electrical problem struck, this time a different problem, and that ended our day.
“So in an entire days testing I managed 22 proper laps - all in the wet,” he said.
Unfortunately, the track stayed dry for the rest of the meeting, so the team left the test session without any truly useful setup data.
Gilmour Racing tried to make the best of their first dry run in the car, and were able to extract a lot of setup data, and make changes on the car for the second session.
Alas, mechanical gremlins struck again - this time a minor gearbox problem emerging at the start of the session, which put the car on the sidelines for the session, while the team tried to find the problem.
"We started the session and to my disgust we heard a quiet and annoying crunching noise, so we parked it and couldn't get out in second practice," Gilmour said.
“After looking at a number of things, we found that we had a mismatched gear in the fifth gear, which was causing the lock up and crunching gears.”
It all meant that Chris Gilmour went into the business end of the meeting with very little setup data and track time.
In first qualifying, to decide the race 1 grid, Chris Gilmour set a disappointing seventh quickest time, meaning he would start Sunday's first race on the fourth row.
“The car had very good straight line speed, but we were hampered by slower traffic, and being such a small narrow track we got held up a lot,” he said.
“After completing first qualifying we downloaded the data, and saw that my fastest lap would of put me on fourth, but lost 1.3 seconds into the last turn because of slower traffic,” he lamented, “So it was just very hard to get clear fast lap in.”
The team turned the car around for the second qualifying session, but the second session was an exact repeat of the first.
“We changed some wing settings and hoped to get a clear session,” Gilmour explained, “But again that was not the case, and we ended up in seventh again, which I was very disappointed about.”
Starting the race from seventh, Chris Gilmour got a good start, but was hit from behind by Stephen Borness in the first corner.
“That threw me sideways, but I was able to gather and hold onto the car, but in the meantime we lost a lot of time to the front bunch,” Gilmour said.
On the fourth lap Gilmour passed Jason Vince for sixth position, and that was where he remained for the rest of the race.
“That's where I ended up, but we were still happy,” he said, “We picked up another 0.9 in lap times so we're getting faster.”
The start of the second race went much better for Gilmour.
Starting seventh again, he passed all Tim Macrow, Leanne Tander and Ricky Occhipinti before the first corner, moving himself into fourth position.
“I fought hard with Macrow and Tander after that; they were right on me,” he said, “But as the race went on “ pulled away from them.
As the race progressed Chris started to catch up to British driver Ben Clucas, but traffic played its part again, and Gilmour was unable to make enough headway against the Briton.
“We're fairly happy about our first outing with the car,” Gilmour said.
“It could have gone better, but it's still a good start, and now know that the car has got a lot of potential.
“Plus we will be doing some solid testing before Phillip Island, so we should have the car properly dialed in then!”
Gilmour Racing would like to thank the following sponsors for their support in 2006:
Stryomax Insulated Fibreglass Truck Bodies, Campak Constructions, Chris Nessell Spray Painting, Cooltemp Transport Refrigeration, Identity Plus, PM Lubricants, Revolution Racegear, Campac, Gary Sturdy Motorsport, Racing Press Media and CP Ships.
The third round of the 2006 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship will be held at Philip Island, May 18-20.
For additional information about the team, please visit the Gilmour Racing website at www.gilmourracing.com.
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