Autosport British F3 Championship 1998 Round 13, Donington, August 30th by Stella Thomas/MNI
Philip Scifleet has quit the National Class to concentrate on raising a budget for next year.
Lei Kit Meng was not in evidence, so Carlin Motorsport were only running Narain Karthikeyan.
Mike Kirkham replaces John Ingram in the No. 77 National Class Speedsport car.
As the support to the European Truck Grand Prix, no one was really looking forward to practice. The trucks are somewhat messy in terms of what they can do to a track and if the state of the pit lane surface was anything to go by, it wasn't going to be very funny out there. As the day was clear and sunny too, it was pretty obvious that the second session was unlikely to offer much of a chance to set a qualifying time. That said, as at Pembrey, many of the front runners in the series were not keen to go out until the track had been cleaned up by their fellow competitors. Of course, if this sort of thinking becomes common, eventually no one will go out. That said, the Brazilian's, perhaps in response to the sunshine, perhaps out of national solidarity, staged something of a takeover, occupying the front two rows of the grid. If you didn't speak Portuguese, you could forget it. Mario Haberfeld, keen to defend his championship lead, took pole from a newly relaxed Enrique Bernoldi, who was nonetheless probably keeping a sharp look out for Warren Hughes. Row two featured a newly-blond Ricardo Mauricio, who seemed to be on form once more, and Luciano Burti who set an identical time to the peroxided ADR driver but left it until later.
Also up among the front runners was Narain Karthikeyan, the youngster turning into the unexpected find of the season, and alongside him Kristian Kolby. The Dane probably should not be racing as doctors have diagnosed a hernia and want to operate, but it didn't stop him putting in a flying lap here. Row 4 was reserved for those name Marc/Mark. Hynes was still listening to his team and trying to get some good scoring drives in before the end of the season, and Boost, who had his first run at Pembrey was benefiting from testing and from being on a track which he knows better than the Welsh circuit.
A long way back were Warren Hughes (someone in the team suggested he might go better if he had both hands on the wheel!) and Martin O'Connell, the latter really struggling and looking very unhappy on a circuit where he usually goes well.
1st No. 2 Mario Haberfeld, Paul Stewart Racing, F398 Mugen Honda 1:03.918 2nd No. 5 Enrique Bernoldi, Promatecme, F398 Renault 1:04.229 3rd No. 7 Ricardo Mauricio, Alan Docking Racing, F398 Mugen Honda 1:04.275 4th No. 1 Luciano Burti, Paul Stewart Racing, F398 Mugen Honda 1:04.275 5th No. 12 Narain Karthikeyan, Carlin Motorsport, F398 Mugen Honda 1:04.507 6th No. 4 Kristian Kolby, Fortec Motorsport, F398 Mugen Honda 1:04.515 7th No. 6 Marc Hynes, Promatecme, F398 Renault 1:04.572 8th No. 10 Mark Boost, GB, Speedsport, F398 Mugen Honda 1:04.647 9th No. 21 Warren Hughes, Portman Arrows Racing, F398 Renault 1:04.680 10th No. 3 Andrej Pavicevic, Fortec Motorsport, F398 Mugen Honda 1:04.720 11th No. 27 Ben Collins, Intersport, F398 Spiess Opel 1:04.785 12th No. 8 Yudai Igarashi, Alan Docking Racing, F398 Mugen Honda 1:04.831 13th No. 16 Martin O'Connell, TOM'S GB, F398 TOM'S Toyota 1:04.875 14th No. 9 Michael Bentwood, Speedsport, F398 Mugen Honda 1:04.887 15th No. 14 Jamie Spence, Martin Donnelly Racing, F398 Mugen Honda 1:04.898 16th No. 20 Tim Spouge, S. S. Sport, F398 Mugen Honda 1:05.018 17th No. 22 Paula Cook, Portman Arrows Racing, F398 Spiess Opel 1:05.095 18th No. 42 Adam Wilcox, Intersport, F398 Spiess Opel 1:05.209 19th No. 17 Warren Carway, Rowan Racing, F398 TOM'S Toyota 1:05.657 20th No. 77 Mike Kirkham, Speedsport, F396 HKS Mitsubishi 1:06.763 21st No. 53 Steve Hayr, Tarry Falcon Racing, F396 Mugen Honda 1:08.070