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European F3 winner Ilott hails Prema mechanics for overnight work

Formula 3 European Championship racer Callum Ilott has hailed Prema Powerteam as "amazing" after the squad built up a new car overnight at the Red Bull Ring before he drove it to victory

Ilott sustained what Prema boss Rene Rosin described as "heavy damage" to his chassis over the Austrian circuit's kerbs on his way to pole position in Friday's qualifying session.

The Prema team worked until almost 4am preparing a spare tub, which was in the truck, and installed Ilott's regular engine, thereby avoiding a 10-place grid penalty.

"They did an amazing job," Ilott told Autosport.

"I had a little moment in qualifying at the first of the left-handers and that did the damage to the car.

"I lost it right at the exit, and when I got to the kerb it broke away, and that's where it slid.

"Rene is very prepared - and at this circuit [with the kerbs] you are prone to doing something [damage] if you have an off.

"It was a mistake, but the car felt OK and I continued and got pole, but obviously it wasn't OK when they checked it."

The car Ilott raced at the Red Bull Ring is the machine he started the season in as a brand-new car, before an incident on a 'joker' test day at Monza in May - for which neither the team nor driver was to blame - caused chassis damage and it was sent for repairs at constructor Dallara.

Since then, Ilott had raced a three-year-old chassis campaigned last season by Nick Cassidy.

Ilott admitted that he was concerned about starting a race in a car he hadn't driven for four months.

"You don't know if the car's going to be OK," he said, "and you don't know if the balance will be different.

"But I did my laps to the grid and felt the car was pretty good and thought, 'That's OK'.

"The clutch pedal was a little bit different and that's partly why my start wasn't great, and also perhaps I was a bit conservative, but from my point of view I did a very good race."

Ilott won a race in similar circumstances at Paul Ricard last season, when he was driving for Van Amersfoort Racing.

His intended race car caught fire in the pre-weekend official Thursday test, and the VAR mechanics worked long hours building up a new car around a tub loaned by T-Sport.

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