Driver Profiles

15 December 2004(ros)
1st Formula 3 Bahrain Super Prix - Race Round-Up

Last Friday, on the circuit of Sharik, the last appointment of the Formula 3 season took place, before Christmas holidays. The best drivers of the category were present in Bahrain for this event, two weeks after the FIA Formula 3 International Cup of Macao. The format was similar, with two races, one qualifying and the final on Friday (Sunday, according to the Arab calendar).
Prema competed with French driver Franck Perera and young Japanese Kohei Hirate. This was a new track for all the competitors and it was important to become accustomed, as quickly as possible, to the characteristics of the circuit in order to be competitive in the two sessions valid for the starting grid of the qualifying race.

Bad weather conditions affected the event. On Wednesday, the programme included three sessions of free tests, necessary to get used to the new circuit and to improve the set up, but heavy rain on the desert affected the development of the tests. Franck Perera showed his competitiveness from the very beginning and finished in the fourth overall position, preceded by Richard Antinucci, Lucas Di Grassi e Ronnie Quintarelli. The results were positive, even if the real potentialities were not fully developed. Kohei Hirate is still in a training phase. This was his third race in the category and his international debut. He finished the first day in the twenty-first position. The first qualifying session was also conditioned by bad weather. Some drivers took a risk by using slick tyres in the last minutes, when the track was getting dry, and they marked the best times. Perera was thirteenth and Hirate twenty-first. They decided to keep slick tyres to have a better performance in the afternoon session, as they expected to race on a completely dry track. It was the right decision. Franck Perera had the absolute Pole position, a perfect lap at the end of the session that allowed the winner of the title of best rookie in the Formula 3 Euro Series 2004 Championship to start first. This result really made up for the excellent work of our team during this weekend and all through the year. Kohei Hirate finished the session in the twenty-first position. It was important for him to learn as much as possible, in view of next year's appointments.
On Friday morning, in a fraction of seconds Perera's - and the whole team's- dream vanished. The victory of the Formula 3 Bahrain Super Prix became unfeasible. At the start, the engine failed and after being overtaken by all the competitors he was at the back of the group. Also Hirate made the same mistake. They finished the race in the twenty-second and twenty-third position. Anyway, Franck managed to mark the third fastest lap. In the final race the French driver had a good start and was resolute to fight. Some rivals went out of track and some others were overtaken. Finally, Franck recovered several positions and finished fourth. During the last lap he had a contact with a rival and went out of track. This did not allow him to get a good result. Good performance for Hirate who was constantly improving and finished in the twelfth place. The final race was won by the English driver Lewis Hamilton.
Now the team will take a short holiday for Christmas and then it will start to get ready for the coming season. There will be some interesting innovations, such as new drivers and the new Dallara F305.


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