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Oz: Winslow pleads for chance to take title
1 January 1901
James Winslow is once again looking for a generous benefactor to ensure that he at least has a chance of taking his third title in as many seasons, having moved to the head of the Kumho Tyres Australian F3 Championship with one round remaining.
The Briton, who followed his 2006 Asian F3 crown with last year's Renault V6 title, could be forced out of his latest championship-winning position - he leads the Australian race by a single point ahead of the Symmons Plain finale - unless he can find the funding required for the double-header.
The struggle for finance has been a year-long issue for Winslow, following the collapse of Opes Prime - which had backed not only the Briton's 2007-08 plans, but also increased its support of the Australian championship as a whole and made initial ventures into Champ Car and IndyCar - in late March. Without the funding to guarantee a seat for the entire season, Winslow has been maintaining a hand-to-mouth existence, managing to raise the sponsorship for each round as it came and taking the best deal on offer to ensure his championship challenge continued.
The battle, however, has not detracted from his on-track performances, as Winslow has won at four of the last five events, despite having driven three different cars for two different teams - BRM and Astuti - since the first round. After a mixed start to the year, provoked largely by the loss of his backer, he managed to win at Oran Park and Phillip Island, before producing the performance of the season to blitz the rest of a high-class field at Eastern Creek, lapping almost a second a lap faster than anyone else as he waltzed to victory by a massive 11.8secs.
Despite that success, however, Winslow still needed a last-minute deal to make the grid for the penultimate round at Phillip Island, but the combination of a win and second place - along with the bonus points for pole position and fastest laps in both races to ensure the highest round score of the season so far - was enough to vault him into the lead of the championship with just Symmons Plain remaining.
Although he knows he could be further ahead of his rivals, having lost four other potential victories through a combination of bad luck or other drivers' mistakes, the Briton is within touching distance of the prestigious Gold Star title which he hopes will propel him into the spotlight for an V8 Supercar drive in 2009.
“We are so close,” Winslow admitted, "We are leading the championship despite all the problems, having been fighting on and off the track all year. Now I need to find a way of getting to Tasmania!
"Team BRM has been just fantastic, and to be in this position is credit to the team and to all my supporters. It would be a real shame to give up on the championship when we have been through so much and come this close to taking another title. I just need a little help to get over the line....”
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