Northern Irish racer William Buller celebrated his home round of the F3 Euroseries in fine style with a podium finish during the second meeting of the 2012 campaign at Brands Hatch.
Will, originally from Scarva but now based in Northamptonshire, was returning to the wheel of his Carlin-run Dallara Volkswagen eager to build on an encouraging start to his F3 season at Hockenheim, where he clinched a hat-trick of top six finishes on his first outing for the team.
Running on the shorter Indy layout at Brands Hatch, Will was in impressive form in qualifying as he secured third place on the grid – and top Volkwagen honours - for both race one and race three.
Unfortunately, a five-place penalty for speeding in the pitlane dropped Will to eighth on the grid for race one although he held position when the race got underway before climbing to seventh prior to the introduction of the Safety Car mid-way through. On the restart, he slipped back to eighth but was set to take the reverse grid pole for race two before an air intake problem saw him lose power and drop down to 15th at the finish.
Starting 15th as a result for race two, Will made a strong start to climb to eleventh on the first lap although he was only able to make up one further place as the race wore on due to the tight and twisty nature of the circuit, crossing the line in tenth place.
Able to take up his place in third for the start of race three, Will held position through the early laps before moving up to second after a drive-through penalty was handed to Daniel Juncadella ahead. Although unable to match the pace of winner Raffaelle Marciello, Will was able to take the chequered flag in second place for his first podium finish of the season and ends the weekend sitting fifth in the Euroseries standings.
“Finishing on the podium for the first time in the F3 Euroseries in my home event was a great feeling,” Will said, “and it showed that I have the speed to run near the front. Qualifying in P3 as the top Volkswagen driver was a good start to the weekend and it was a shame that I got the grid penalty as it left me with work to do in race one. Given how hard it is to overtake, I would have been happy with eighth as it would have meant pole for race two, but the issue with the air intake and loss of power meant I couldn’t do anything to keep the cars behind me at bay.
“Race two was all about making up as many places as possible and I got a great start, but again it was difficult in traffic to climb higher than tenth, so I was determined to finish the weekend on a high in race three.
“My start wasn’t as good in race three but I held my position and then took second when Juncadella was given his penalty. Our pace was good but not as strong as in qualifying and I couldn’t match Marciello. However, I’m really pleased to have a podium finish under my belt and its a good boost ahead of the next F3 round at the Red Bull Ring.”
Will’s next outing will come this weekend when he rejoins the Carlin GP3 line-up for arguably the biggest event on the calendar, with the latest two races supporting the Monaco Grand Prix on the streets of Monte Carlo.
“I really can’t wait to head to Monaco and get on track at one of the most famous circuits in the world,” he said. “I’ve gone well on street circuits in the past and won in Macau when I was in Formula BMW, so I’m really looking forward to it and hope I can have a strong weekend.”