The Prost Junior F3000 team may not have scored points in round six of the FIA Championship at the Nurburgring yesterday, but it left the German circuit knowing that it had blooded another pair of promising rookies.

The French team was thrown into confusion this week as it not only lost both is British F3 Championship runners, but took on board two new faces in the F3000 squad as well. With Stephane Sarrazin insisting that he was not about to recommence his F3000 career after a podium finish in Monaco, Hungarian Zsolt Baumgartner came in for Nicolas Filiberti, while F1 test driver Jonathan Cochet stepped into Gabriele Varano's shoes as he moved down to F3.

Both drivers qualified towards the back of the field, but proved their potential by dicing with more established names around them in the lower order throughout the two practice sessions.

At the Nurburgring, however, the back of the grid is not the best place to be, with the tight Castrol-S always likely to cause problems on the opening lap. On this occasion, the majority of the field made it through unscathed, but Cochet still found himself taking a trip across the gravel.

"I had to pass into the gravel in the first corner in order to avoid a collision with others cars," the reigning French F3 champion revealed, "Then I lost ground because my tyres were dirty, and I made a few mistakes due to my lack of experience of the car with heavy fuel load.

"But I improved my lap times constantly, and the car was better on traction than [in practice] yesterday. Thanks to the experience gained here this weekend and to my good knowledge of the Magny-Cours track, I will certainly feel more comfortable and be more competitive at the French Grand Prix next Saturday."

Baumgartner, too, was making the jump from F3, and his lack of experience of the faster car with a heavier fuel load also caught him out.

"I was surprised by the behaviour of the car with heavy fuel on board, and I spun on the fourth lap," he admitted, "This incident luckily had no consequence, and I was able to catch up with [Joel] Camathias. But, once stuck behind him, I never had a chance to overtake him. However this race was very positive for me and I learnt a lot this weekend. Obviously, I hope for a better result in Magny-Cours."

Dominique Delestre, the Prost team manager, acknowledged that results would be hard to come by with two rookies on board at a track they barely knew, but claimed that he was happy nonetheless with their performances.

"Considering our positions on the grid, and since we know it is almost impossible to overtake on this track, our objective today was to allow our drivers to gain more racing experience, and especially to become familiar with the car in race configuration," the former racer explained, "With regards to this, it is a satisfaction to see both drivers finishing the race. The outcome of this weekend is positive for us, and we can reasonably hope for a better performance in Magny-Cours."



Loading Comments...