Kimball Debuts in British Formula 3 International Championship
American Charlie Kimball competed in the first two rounds of the British Formula 3 International Championship this weekend, April 2 and 3, at Donington Park in England. The young Californian qualified 23rd for Race 1 and a more representative 5th for Race 2. Kimball raced to 16th in Race 1 and in Race 2 after a mechanical problem on the start caused him to slip to 21st, he drove back to finish tenth.
In first qualifying, Kimball made a rare mistake and spun after only one timed lap.
"I was pushing too hard, too fast - I knew I had the pace and really wanted to show what I could do," said Kimball. "I just made a mistake, but I am looking forward to racing."
Second qualifying saw Kimball right back on the pace, setting pole for the first half of the qualifying session. It was only after a red flag that Kimball slipped to fifth. "Fifth is pretty good for my first F3 weekend but I am disappointed because I know there was more pace there," commented the young American. "I am still learning how to get the best out of the tires and I had traffic on my fastest lap so there is more to come."
In Race 1, Kimball started from a precarious position at the back of the grid and carefully picked his way through a serious start line incident that resulted in a safety car. After just one lap, Kimball had worked his way up to 14th and on the restart, continued to improve his position. The young California rookie was in 12th position when he encountered veteran James Walker.
"It was like Formula Ford racing with James, he was weaving down the straight and blocking like crazy but it was good racing experience," said Kimball. "I was taking my time but on the penultimate lap, when setting up my move, I ran a little wide and lost a few positions."
Kimball finished Race 1 in 16th position.
Race 2 saw Kimball starting fifth but a clutch problem prevented him from getting off the line. He managed to ease the car away but by the first corner, had dropped to 21st position. Kimball managed to pick his way through the field again, finishing 10th and scoring championship points.
"The clutch problem really impacted my start but after Race 1, I knew how to drive through the field," said a disappointed Kimball. "I was able to put my head down and go to work. I set consistently fast laps and in fact missed fastest lap of the race by less than one tenth of a second. It was a good learning weekend. Fixing mistakes and learning is possible but having to find pace is much more difficult. We have the pace so it can only get better from here."
Kimball's next race will be the weekend of April 16 and 17 at Formula One circuit Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.