Date posted on August 21, 2009 · Published by Mark Goddard
Australian Formula BMW Junior, Chris Wootton completed a character building weekend in Formula BMW Pacific at Sentul in Indonesia, recording two DNF’s in Saturday’s round 7 and 8 and finishing Sunday’s two races strongly – in seventh and sixth placings respectively.
The weekend started well for the 20-year-old – right on the pace in practice and qualifying, the top five were within half a second. He was confident his race setup would position him well for the four races around the 3.9 kilometre circuit.
Race one ended on lap nine when the motor let go in the last corner, Chris coasted to a halt in pit lane. It was discovered the timing chain had failed. He was tracking well before the failure and keeping with the leaders.
Chris was fired up for the second race of the weekend, with a fresh engine behind him. He was looking very good for a strong result before he went off circuit on lap six. Thankfully, the damage done to Eurasia Motorsport Formula BMW FB02 was minor and wouldn’t compromise his starting on Sunday.
Having to start the final two races from the rear of the grid, Chris charged through the field to finish seventh in round nine, having raced hard to work his way through the field.
In the final race, again from the rear of the grid, he was able to force his way forward to sixth placing. He showed plenty of grit and determination to get that far through and his pace was very similar to that of the front runners even though he was fighting his way through traffic.
This has given the Brisbane racer some encouragement despite the disappointment of once again having a weekend start strongly, but having circumstances conspire against him.
Chris is hoping his luck turns around at the next event – the Formula 1™ Singtel Singapore Grand Prix over the weekend of September 25-27 – which marks the beginning of the second half of the Formula BMW Pacific season.
Despite the two DNF’s, Chris retained seventh placing in the overall Driver’s Classification.
BEHIND THE HELMET: Chris Wootton
“What a weekend. Today’s fight through the field in the two races has energised me a lot and I leave feeling far happier than I was after Saturday’s events.
“The pace we had would have held us in good stead for the races. Qualifying was tight with only 0.5 of a second separating the front three rows of the grid. I would have liked to be on the front row as I have for the other events, however, the team thought it would work out once racing got underway.
“The most frustrating part is that we are there at the front of the field in qualifying, but it is the races that count!
“I’m really pleased with the fightback today, though. To come through the field as I did was pleasing and with there only being a few weeks between events, my focus is immediately on Singapore.
“It’s going to be a big event for us. We have several sponsors in Singapore and we have a number of events that we’re planning during race week – so it’s going to be busy. I love the circuit there and racing as part of the only Formula 1™ night Grand Prix is exciting, the atmosphere is second to none.”