Kimball Sets Pace at Castle Combe American Charlie Kimball continued his success in rounds 11 and 12 of the British International Formula 3 Championship held at Castle Combe in Wiltshire this weekend by qualifying on the pole for Race One ...
Kimball Sets Pace at Castle Combe
American Charlie Kimball continued his success in rounds 11 and 12 of the British International Formula 3 Championship held at Castle Combe in Wiltshire this weekend by qualifying on the pole for Race One and finishing third. Kimball qualified 3rd for Race Two and was challenging for the lead when he suffered a tire failure. The young American also set fastest lap in that race. After having only a 45 minute practice session to learn the circuit, Kimball was immediately on the pace in first qualifying. He went straight out, set the pole time early in the session and continued to run fast laps as he further learned the circuit and tuned the car to his liking. In second qualifying, the Carlin Motorsport driver was again on the pace but suffered from traffic on his fastest lap, ending the session with the third quickest time, less than one tenth of a second off the pole time.
"I am ecstatic with the pole position for Race One, especially since today was the first time I had driven this track in an F3 car," said the Californian. "Second qualifying was close too - I just caught traffic at exactly the wrong moment. However starting from the second row is still very satisfying."
In Race One, Kimball made a small error off the start line which saw him slip to fifth position going into the first corner. However, he quickly took back fourth place before the end of the first lap and then passed Ryan Lewis to regain third. Although his lap times showed him to be quicker than second place man and teammate Alvaro Parente, Kimball could only shadow the Portuguese driver to the flag. The American maintained third despite a safety car period and a red flag which ended the race 5 laps early.
"I am really pleased to be on the podium again - 4 in a row now - although disappointed since I didn't make the most of my pole position," said Kimball, after Race One. "I was faster than Alvaro but Castle Combe is circuit where it is notoriously difficult to pass."
Kimball started third for Race Two and made a great start to grab second position before Quarry, the first corner. The young Californian then continued to pressure leader Parente throughout the race and again through a safety car period. The two Carlin drivers were 5 seconds clear of the rest of the field when the safety car was deployed. The two re-built that gap when racing resumed until lap 20, when Kimball suffered a tire failure through the final and fastest corner of the circuit. This pitched him into a high speed spin. Kimball controlled the car, avoiding the tire wall, but came to rest along the pit straight resulting in the race being red flagged.
"I am disappointed not to have brought the result home, however it was only a minor technicality in the rules that prevented me from being classified in second," said Kimball. "I was keeping the pressure on Alvaro and looking for another strong podium finish but these things happen in racing. I do feel like I have underlined my pace and I proved that the Thruxton result wasn't just a fluke - I set fastest lap in Race Two."
Kimball is now preparing for the next championship rounds which will be held at Monza in Italy July 8th, 9th and 10th. The young Californian will take advantage of the Italian trip to spend some time training before-hand on the Italian coast.