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30 September 2011

Thompson ends 2011 Japanese F3 season with highs and lows

 
gtr_2011championshipGary Thompson finally put a close to his 2011 Japanese Formula 3 season last weekend at Sportsland Sugo. As one of his favorites tracks on the calendar, the rising Irish driver came to the fast and flowing Sugo circuit with high hopes. 
 
A small mistake on his final qualifying run left Thompson in fifth position - not bad at all on a grid where the top six drivers were only separated by a mere 0.2 seconds. Fortunately, his lightning fast starts catapulted him from fifth to challenge for second by the first corner. Although unable to make the move stick, he slotted cleanly into third and maintained the position to the chequered flag on a circuit short on overtaking opportunities. Finishing on the National Class podium on Saturday's race, Thompson's fortunes sadly turned for the worse with a string of misfortunes on Sunday.
 
Sunday morning’s race once again saw one of Thompson’s stellar off-the-line getaways. This time, the Aviation Display and Cebu Pacific Air-backed Dubliner made his way into second before he was blocked by an accident ahead. Having lost a position in the confusion, Thompson was keen to quickly make amends, but a slight mistake was all it took to pitch him and the car into retirement.
 
With only one race left in the championship, it was his best opportunity to end the season on a high note, especially after qualifying in third courtesy of race one's fastest lap. Frustrations, though, came even before the race started. On route to the grid, the car's starter motor failed, forcing Thompson to start from the pit-lane and leaving him a sixth place finish. 
 
Gary Thompson remarked, “I’m happy to have added another podium to my tally for the year, but overall it wasn’t the weekend I’d hoped for. Once again, our strong pace has gone unrewarded, and I’m obviously gutted about what happened in race two. I don’t make many mistakes like that - it was a result of just pushing too hard to make up for losing the place gained at the start. Now it’s a case of going away over the winter, working hard, and coming back recharged. Finally, I’d like to thank the SGC by KCMG team and my sponsors for all their efforts throughout 2011.”