ELEVENTH POLE FOR CHAMPIONS HITECH

Hitech Racing will line up on pole position for the penultimate round of the Lloyds TSB Insurance British Formula 3 International Series at Rockingham tomorrow after Marko Asmer set a blistering pace in today's first qualifying. The 23 year-old newly-crowned champion will start race two from the fifth row with his young team-mate Walter Grubmuller lining up in 14th and 16th respectively.

Estonian Asmer, who has already secured ten pole positions this year, had set the early pace in testing yesterday, so this morning's 11th top spot was no surprise but in the second session the youngster was unable to get the best out of his new Avon tyres. For 18 year-old rookie Grubmuller, in his first season in F3, the tricky conditions at the Northamptonshire track proved eventful.

After a promising start in session one, which saw him wind up 14th, the teenager was unable to improve after being caught out at the start of the wet second session, spinning off the track. After briefly pitting, a determined drive saw him bounce back from his early disappointment to post the 16th quickest time.

David Hayle: "In the second session Marko could only find a tenth from old tyres to new tyres but he really struggled to find that one tenth. He felt he could have gone quicker on old tyres which is strange as you can normally find eight or nine tenths in the new rubber. As soon as he went out on new tyres he felt there was not as much grip as there should have been, he almost pitted after six laps to put back on the old tyres as they had more grip than the new ones.

"We had high hopes of Walter being able to improve from the first to second session but unfortunately he went off on the opening lap, which cost him time. Thankfully there was no damage so he was able to get back out to post a respectable time so we'll just have to see how tomorrow goes."

Tomorrow's two 30 minute races, which bring the 2007 series to a close, are scheduled to start at 11.35 and 14.55.

-credit: hr