Once upon a time there was a racing team called Bowman Racing. This team ran in the British Formula Three series many moons ago (well, the 1980s/1990s if you're going to be picky, but bear with me, there is a point to all of this). The team had...
Once upon a time there was a racing team called Bowman Racing. This team ran in the British Formula Three series many moons ago (well, the 1980s/1990s if you're going to be picky, but bear with me, there is a point to all of this). The team had two young engineers, who worked together and drank together. Eventually, the team vanished for a while for reasons that needn't concern anyone here, but the two young engineers reappeared, one of them running a team of his own, the other working for him... Carlin Motorsport were, needless to say, very successful, for one of the young engineers was Trevor Carlin.
The other one tired of having the team hangover, and eventually ran away from home to set up his own team, that team being Raikkonen Robertson Racing, the engineer being Anthony "Boyo" Hieatt. The rest, as they say, is history! Needless to say, the one person each of the not-quite-so-young now engineers want to beat is the other. It's a close rivalry and it's complicated by the fact that they both tend to resort to the same strategies, and they seem to have this series sewn up between them.
After the Double R boys had completely dominated the morning session, it was no surprise to know that the Carlin boys were out for revenge this afternoon. After complaints about traffic in the morning, Bruno Senna and Stephen Jelley seemed reluctant to venture out, waiting to see what sort of times everyone else was setting before committing to new tyres and possibly wasting their efforts. Christian Bakkerud and Oliver Jarvis, on the other hand, were out straight away, and for a while it was an all Carlin front row. The trouble was other people were intent on joining in, including Yelmer Buurman, the Fortec Motorsport driver demoting the Dane for a short while. Bakkerud came straight back at him, while Salvador Duran (Hitech Racing) went 4th. The only Double R driver out there at this point was Mike Conway, who was on pole a lap later. Bakkerud immediately grabbed it back only for Conway to go even faster.
In the National Class, Cristiano Morgado was the early pole sitter, though it seemed likely Rodolfo Gonzalez (T-Sport) would have something to say about that before the session ended. Duran, meanwhile, had edged up the Championship Class order and was now 3rd. And that was the point, just as James Walker (Hitech Racing) went to and unexpected pole, that Jelley and Senna came out to play. Walker suddenly found himself with his team-mate Duran alongside him, and Charlie Hollings (Fortec Motorsport) was 3rd. It was all looking very different for once. It got even more different when James Jakes (Hitech Racing) moved up to 4th with Jonathan Kennard (Alan Docking Racing) in 5th. They all shuffled round to make room for Karl Reindler (Alan Docking Racing) who shot up the order to 3rd, and then they shuffled even further to make room for Stuart Hall (Fortec Motorsport) as he too occupied 3rd place for a while. Meanwhile, Conway had gone off and was sitting forlornly on the trackside, waiting to be rescued. A further change came when Yelmer Buurman (Fortec Motorsport) made his way up the order to go 3rd. Jakes and Hall were now 4th and 5th while Morgado was leading the National Class by a very long way and was 6th overall.
It was all a bit unusual, and the next round of changes didn't make things any more normal. Walker still led from Duran, but they now had Kennard, Buurman, Jakes and Hall sitting behind them. It got even stranger when Alberto Valerio, who has been improving from race to race, brought his Cesario F3 Dallara round for 4th. Jakes then snatched pole, while the Carlin boys and the Double R boys slipped further and further down the order. Maro Engel now the fastest of the Carlin mob, but he was only 5th, and it was starting to look as if whatever strategy they'd both adopted, it was the wrong one. This was reinforced by the fact that Senna was 11th (he had been 22nd) and Jelley was 11th, while Bakkerud and Jarvis were 18th and 19th respectively.
At the front, Buurman edged Jakes out, while Walker looked for an answer. His answer was to claim pole back again. However, Senna was now speeding up impressively, as was Engel. The young German was the first to improve further, and he nabbed 2nd place while no one was looking. Senna didn't get the improvement he'd been looking for, and was only able to move up a place. Some of the erstwhile pace-setters were now fading slightly, as evidenced by Hall sliding down to 7th. Walker, on the other hand, wasn't letting pole go if he could possibly help it. Jelley got an improvement to go 4th, while Senna was still struggling. The setup really didn't seem to be right for the conditions, and he was suffering as a result. The scrap for the first few rows was a long way from over, however. Duran now pushed Jelley down from 4th, and despite Alex Khateeb (Promatecme F3) spinning into the gravel at Ireland Bakkerud managed an improvement to go 5th. Significantly perhaps Conway was back on track, and though he was only 11th, no one was going to underestimate the Englishman. He was currently the slowest of the Double R cars, with Jelley still 5th and Senna in 8th. Bakkerud was throwing the car round with some abandon, and was now 4th, while Jarvis was a distant 17th and looking for a clear lap. That you shouldn't underestimate Conway became clear shortly after, when he claimed 4th, and pressed on in search of pole. That put Bakkerud back a place... The battle was going Double R's way at this point.
The National Class was now looking much more normal, so at least the world as we know it hadn't changed completely. Gonzalez was leading from Cristiano Morgado (Fluid Motorsport), and they were now down in 14th and 16th overall, while Juho Annala (Performance Racing) was hanging on to their exhausts.
The next major improvement of any significance came when Jarvis suddenly reappeared at the top of this lists, to go 2nd. Bakkerud found a chunk of time to and improved to 4th, making the order Walker, Jarvis Engel, Bakkerud, Buurman and Conway. Jelley was 8th and Senna 12th, both of them having apparently missed the opportune moment to change tyres. The new tyres weren't coming in fast enough, and they were running out of time.
Jarvis, on the other hand, was now very fast indeed in the first sector, and looked set to claim pole. He crossed the line 1/10th of a second faster than Walker, who fought back but couldn't quite match the rookie's time. He was 0.081 second slower and stayed 2nd. The temperature suddenly started to drop, which seemed to slow the improvements somewhat. Conway was able to edge back to 5th while Duran was 7th but that was about it. Jelley was still only 9th, while Jakes was an unexpected 4th. He lost that to Senna, while Conway grabbed pole. Senna's response was to set a fastest first sector time, but it didn't translate to pole. Duran moved back to 4th, helped by an increasingly dry line, and the clock ticked down to the end of the session. Just when it seemed it was all over, Jarvis came back, snatching pole by 0.075 seconds, a small margin but he'd take it thanks! It was now Jarvis, from Conway, Walker, Bakkerud, Senna, Duran, Jakes, Engel, Buurman, Hall and Jelley. Gonzalez was still on National Class pole from Morgado and Annala, and it all looked settled, except that Walker and Jarvis both found some more time in the very final seconds of the session, Walker reclaiming 2nd, while Jarvis cemented his first F3 pole. He was delighted with the result, though he reckoned he should have managed to claim the morning pole too. Still, he'd take what he could get!
And so the order was Jarvis, from Walker, Conway, Bakkerud, Jakes, Senna, Duran, Engel, Buurman and Hall. Jelley was 11th from Reindler, Kennard, Hollings, Gonzalez, Valerio, Morgado, Annala, Keiko Ihara (Carlin Motorsport) and Rodolfo Avila (Performance Racing). The final two slots were occupied by Ricardo Teixeira (Performance Racing) and Khateeb, whose nice new paint job had done him no good this afternoon.