Date posted on March 20, 2007 · Published by Mark Goddard
Eurasia Motorsports affiliated team, Team Goddard, and its driver Henri Karjalainen set the pace in the Asian F3 Pacific class in the Melbourne F1 GP support races but was robbed by bad luck and the bad judgment of his rivals. Team Mate, Moreno Soeprapto, also suffered bad luck although he did take a class win in the first race.
Henri Karjalainen started tenth in race one after suffering an engine problem in qualifying but was up to fourth place overall, first in Class, by the end of the first lap. A safety car period proved his undoing when Charlie Hollings went for a gap that did not exist at the restart sending Henri into the air and out of the race. Hollings went on to win the race whilst Karjalainen would start race two from 28th place. The stewards found Hollings to be totally responsible for the accident but this was little consolation for the Finn. Ironically Hollings had won for Team Goddard in a one off appearance at Batangas last year. “We know there was no malice in Charlie’s actions” reported Mark Goddard “but that didn’t help Henri whose weekend was effectively over”.
Moreno Soeprapto, in his first race for the team, was an impressive first in class and looked like he was going to be a factor for the rest of the event. Race two was only six laps long and Karjalainen did a great job to finish 12th overall. Moreno was a little too cautious and finished 8th overall but second in class. “I didn’t see the last lap board and was surprised to see the chequered flag as I had planned to take the class lead on the last lap!” reported Moreno.
Race three looked like it would be the turn around for the team. Soeprapto was starting 8th and Karjalainen 12th. “We went for a very low down force set up so I could overtake on the straights and used old tyres to save the final new set for the last race when we hoped we would start in the top six” reported Karjalainen. It all went wrong at the first turn when James Winslow tagged the front wing of Soeprapto and he was forced to struggle with an understeering car. Meanwhile Karjalainen ran wide at turn one and rejoined down in 16th place. He then put on a great come back drive which ended when he caught Moreno. The Finn dived up the inside at turn 15 and an unsighted Moreno turned into him. Moreno was launched into the air whilst Karjalainen spun and rejoined in 11th place. Soeprapto rejoined in 15th.
“We had a discussion after the race about team mates not running into each other!” said Team Manager, Mark Goddard. Race four was a complete disaster with Moreno out on the spot at turn one after contact on the first lap whilst Karjalainen struggled to a finish with badly bent front suspension after he was hit at the start. “Henri showed he was the pace of the AF3 field with his fastest lap times in race 2 and 3, and we are sure if Charlie had not taken him out in race one he would have been on the overall podium.” reported Goddard. “Moreno also had the pace but James Winslow in race three and the start-line shunt in race four put paid to his chances”.
Team Mate, Paul Ip, finished second in the AF3 Pacific Promotions Class in races one and three but spun into retirement in race two and failed to take the start for race four when his engine failed during its warm up in the paddock. “We are not sure what went wrong until it goes back to TOM’S for investigation” said Goddard.
Next round of the Asian F3 Pacific Series is Sentul on May 12-13th. “Henri and Moreno have the pace to lead from the front there so I think we have a very good chance of re-taking the championship lead there” remarked Goddard. “However Battistini has a 28 point lead so its going to be hard to take the Series lead in Sentul unless he has some bad luck but I am sure we should head the points after the last race in Zhuhai on June 24th”