F3 » 05 November 2008
Ebbesvik stars in wet Spanish finale.
Team West-Tec put up a stoic performance in the face of tragedy at the final round of the Spanish F3 Championship and was rewarded with familiarly solid results from its four-strong line-up.
The reality of results and luck in sport was brought into sharp focus for the team after one of its number was forced to return home after a family fatality but, despite an extremely sombre atmosphere, the remainder of the crew continued to battle through a difficult weekend, with an epic wet weather from Thor-Christian Ebbesvik and a brace of podium finishes for Jonathan Legris maintaining the team's competitive record.
Friday practice was run in very wet conditions, but a 'flu-ridden Ebbesvik led the way for West-Tec in fourth overall, before water in his Dallara's ECU terminated his day. Legris again impressed, featuring in the top half of the field despite never having seen the track before, but Ma Qing Hua and Francisco Villar endured more difficult times, with the latter spinning hard into the tyres coming onto the main straight.
Qualifying was also held in streaming rain, but Ebbesvik gave a taste of what was to come as he set the third fastest time, despite being slowed by traffic. Legris, meanwhile, struggled with over-worn wet tyres and would line up an unrepresentative 18th, just ahead of Ma, while Villar brought up the rear after being involved in another big shunt early on which left the team with a major repair job before the first race.
The track having largely dried for race one was bad news for Ebbesvik, who lost places from the slicker side of the grid, but the Norwegian battled hard over the first few laps before being assaulted from behind by Gustavo Yacaman which ended his race with broken rear suspension.
Legris made a better start to run 13th early on, but struggled as he had not been on the circuit in the dry before racing started, although his finish still earned him a very creditable third place finish in the Copa class. Villar recovered well from his qualifying accident and finished right behind his British team-mate, but Ma's inspirational move on the opening lap only led to him being in the wrong place at the wrong time and the victim of someone else's accident, which left him with a damaged front wing.
Sunday saw a return to the sort of conditions that had plagued Friday, with such torrential rain that race two was in doubt for some time. Only when the precipitation relented did the cars take to the track, albeit to start behind the safety car.
With Ebbesvik lining up at the back, all real chance of an outright West-Tec win had gone, but the Norwegian still proved to be one of the stories of the race as he flew through the in impressive style, reaching the top ten after a handful of racing laps. One of the three quickest cars on the circuit, despite having to contend with traffic on every lap, the Norwegian eventually rose as high as sixth, but the leaders remained just out of reach.
"I came here looking to win and we certainly had the car in race two, but starting from the back made it impossible," the GP2 aspirant commented, "However, what befell my engineer's family on Thursday was truly terrible and was always on my mind."
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