Bianchi Victorious at Zolder F3 Masters
Jules Bianchi stormed to the top of the podium at Zolder yesterday in the RTL GP Masters of Formula 3, heading an ART Grand Prix trio and overcoming pole-positioned team-mate Nico Hlkenberg, who was defending the title he won last year. Following torrential rain 36 competitors from 18 countries took to the track on Kumho’s ECSTA wet tyres for 28 challenging laps. This was the 18th running of the event, which invites the top-ranked participants in the F3 Euro Series and the British F3 Championship.
Korean tyre manufacturer Kumho has been supplying tyres to the event for seven years, in addition to providing sponsorship which has proved invaluable in ensuring the race’s continued success. The company has grasped the excellent branding opportunity of the competition, and has since added the prestigious position of official Manchester United team sponsor to its portfolio. In addition to the funding and branding work done by the firm over the weekend, the F3 Masters event provides an exciting research and development project, since it is the sole tyre supplier for the event. Each driver is able to use up to three sets of slick or wet tyres over the weekend, meaning Kumho is in part responsible for the successful completion of every entrant’s race.
The company can be proud of its involvement in the development of current F1 frontrunner, Lewis Hamilton, having supplied the tyres upon which the Briton won the 2005 F3 Masters, in addition to in the F3 Euro Series in which he competed. Indeed, the list of drivers who have competed in the Masters event reads like a partial who’s who of the pinnacle of motorsport; in addition to Hamilton’s victorious performance, Adrian Sutil was runner-up in 2005, Nico Rosberg was sixth in 2004, while Nelson Piquet Jr. came in second in 2003. Other F1 drivers to have competed include Takuma Sato (winner, 2001), Nick Heidfeld, Mark Webber, Ralf Schumacher and veterans David Coulthard, 1991’s winner, and Rubens Barrichello, who claimed pole and fastest lap in the same vintage year. Perhaps Britain’s Max Chilton, who claimed this year’s fastest lap can look forward to similar F1 success. More success for Britain came in the shape of Jon Lancaster, who completed the ART Grand Prix podium, finishing in third.