Although he slipped further behind new F3 Euroseries championship leader Nico Hulkenberg after the Brands Hatch double-header, erstwhile top dog Edoardo Mortara refused to be downbeat, claiming that a brace of fourth place finishes were good enough to keep him in contention for the title.

Indeed, given Hulkenberg's sometimes erratic form at the start of the season, and the rewards available at each double-header round of the Euroseries, the current 13-point gap between the top two is far from insurmountable, and Mortara knows that the gap would be less still had Hulkenberg not been handed back the ten points he 'lost' to an alleged technical infraction at Zandvoort.

The Italian refused to let his rival's successful appeal against disqualification get to him as he prepared for the Brands Hatch , aware that both the team and engine supplier Volkswagen had been making improvements over the brief summer break. The 21-year old used Friday's free practice session to get back into the swing of things at a circuit that gave him his first Euroseries win a year ago, but could only qualify fourth in his group as lap times proved incredibly close on the short Indy circuit.

Despite the Signature team driver being separated from pole position by just seven-hundredths of a second, he would line up eighth on the grid for Saturday's first race, but made an excellent start to the 58-lap race and was soon up to sixth, before a couple of assertive moves saw him climb to fourth and a solid haul of points.

"That was exactly the sort of solid start I needed," Mortara admitted, "I concentrated on doing the best job I could but, most of all, on staying out of trouble. I felt comfortable with the car, but I didn't want to take too many risks."

Started Sunday morning's race from fifth on the inverted grid, he again made short work of moving into fourth by the end of the first lap, but thereafter found progress harder and, for all his aggression and battling, would again narrowly miss the podium. Ironically, he later admitted that he might have preferred some typical British summer weather to aid his cause.

"I think, if it had rained, as we were expecting, then we could have finished higher up the order," he smiled, "but I'm satisfied with our fourth places. It was a useful weekend's work and we are well placed heading into the next round, where we will be aiming to get back onto the podium."


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