Kimball Back on the Podium in Ireland Charlie Kimball had another successful race weekend in the British Formula 3 International Championship this weekend, September 17th and 18th, at the Irish circuit of Mondello Park. The young American ...
Kimball Back on the Podium in Ireland
Charlie Kimball had another successful race weekend in the British Formula 3 International Championship this weekend, September 17th and 18th, at the Irish circuit of Mondello Park. The young American struggled with car set-up again but qualified third and sixth for Races 1 and 2 respectively. Kimball scored solid championship points in Race 1 by finishing fourth and drove to a third place podium finish in Race 2. The rookie maintains his second place championship standing and has secured Rookie of the Year honors.
Qualifying was held on Saturday and after having only a few short practices on Friday, most of the drivers were still fine tuning their car set-up. Kimball stayed in the pits for a few minutes until qualifying was well underway and then went to set his time. On the twisty Mondello Park circuit, the Californian driver struggled to find a clear space in order to set a quick time. He was however able to make the most of the situation and complete a lap good enough for third on the grid. After a few set-up changes for second qualifying, Kimball went to set his time early in the session. The track conditions improved during the session which meant Kimball's early time was only good enough for sixth on the grid for Race 2.
"I am pleased with how qualifying went considering we are still ironing out some problems with the car," said Kimball after qualifying. "Since the track is so tight, qualifying is very important. It is now imperative I make a good start in both races."
Race 1 saw Kimball start on the second row of the grid, behind Steven Kane and teammate Alvaro Parente. As the lights went out, Parente took the lead and Kimball followed Kane through the first corner to maintain his third place. However a few corners later, the F3 rookie went off after losing grip under braking, ceding one position to Mike Conway. The remainder of the race became a procession with everyone holding station until the checkered flag.
"I was able to make a really good start and held off Conway through the first corner," said Kimball after Race 1. "I was however suffering from lack of grip and really struggled under braking which allowed Conway to get through. I then put my head down and concentrated on not making any more mistakes and getting to the end of the race."
Race 2 presented Kimball with a bigger challenge as the young America would start from the outside of the third row. He again made a good start and gained a position by passing Conway before the first corner. Kimball then took advantage of a typical first corner incident to jump up to third - Alvaro Parente and Danilo Dirani tangled midway through the first corner which allowed Kimball to nip up the inside and gain two more positions. The young American continued to pressure second place man Ryan Lewis all the way to the flag, but settled for third.
"This race went really well for me - the car was much better and I was much more confident through all of the braking zones. I was quicker than Lewis tried to pass him a couple of times but I didn't want to risk him taking us both out," said Kimball after the podium ceremony. "I really needed the points and finishing in front of Mike Conway means the championship points gap back to third remains static."
Kimball is now in the home stretch of his rookie year in British F3 and is concentrating on testing and preparing for the final championship round to be held at Silverstone Circuit, October 8th and 9th, where he seeks to cement second in the Championship.