After the morning session, when everyone seemed reluctant to go out this session was rather different. As soon as the pit lane opened there was a general stampede for the open track. First to set a time was Bruno Senna (Raikkonen Robertson...
After the morning session, when everyone seemed reluctant to go out this session was rather different. As soon as the pit lane opened there was a general stampede for the open track. First to set a time was Bruno Senna (Raikkonen Robertson Racing), closely followed over the line by Oliver Jarvis (Carlin Motorsport), Maro Engel (also Carlin) and Yelmer Buurman (Fortec Motorsport).
In the National Class, Rodolfo Gonzalez (T-Sport) was leading from Juho Annala (Performance Racing) and Rodolfo Avila (Performance Racing). At this point, Cristiano Morgado (Fluid Motorsport) wasn't showing, but you could be certain he'd be up there at some point. Meanwhile, Stephen Jelley (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) was on provisional pole from Senna, and there were some clouds lurking. It was becoming clear that they obviously didn't entirely trust the weather to stay in their favour. That put Jarvis and Engel into 3rd and 4th. A lap later and Jarvis had shot up the order to 2nd. His drive to keep ahead of Senna was becoming very obvious. With five minutes gone, nearly everyone was out there, and it was getting very busy on the short National circuit. James Jakes (Hitech Racing) was now having a good run, and was up to 3rd overall, just as Morgado decided to come out to play too. At Carlin Motorsport, meanwhile, Christian Bakkerud was hanging back again, just as he had this morning, and at Mugello for that matter, where he finally got his first victory of the season. Whether it would help or not was anyone's guess.
Morgado's first flying lap was enough to move him to 3rd in class. While Buurman was now 5th, just ahead of Engel, Senna slid down the order to 9th, then put in a real effort to claim pole. With the tyres going off very quickly just as they had in August it was looking ever more important that the drivers slammed times in as quickly as they could. Senna was not hanging about, while Morgado had gone up to 2nd in the National Class. Engel was the next to put a charge on and went 2nd, while Conway was 3rd from Jarvis. They all got edged down a place by Jelley, and everything settled down for a while, at least in the Championship Class. In the National Class, Annala had slipped back to 4th, while Avila was 3rd and looking confident for once. And with 15 minutes gone Bakkerud finally went out in a very calm and collected manner. While the likeable Dane was beginning his attempt at a competitive time, Alberto Valerio (Cesario F3) was now 5th, the Brazilian finally beginning to feel at home in the car in this championship. Conway, meanwhile, was back in 6th, and was then pushed to 7th when Jarvis went to 3rd. Meanwhile, at the end of his first flying lap, Bakkerud was an unaccustomed 18th, but still had some time to try and improve his position. He certainly could have expected to be a lot higher up the order, given that Jarvis was now 2nd, while James Walker (Hitech Racing) was 4th, which you would expect from someone in his third year in the category.
By now Senna had clearly decided he had done enough. He came into the pits and clambered out of the car, just as his team-mate Conway snatched pole back from him. Senna wasn't going to go back out anyway. The tyres were done. Bakkerud moved up again and went to 11th, while Jelley got a good improvement to go 4th. His next flying lap saw Bakkerud move up a place, to 10th, and a lap later he was 9th. The trouble was, the tyres wouldn't give him more speed. If he hadn't done it now, he wasn't likely to. Buurman was up there again, an impressive effort for a man with no team- mates to supply extra data (though you also have to wonder why a team with two spare cars and Mercedes engines can't find anyone who wants to drive with them). Duran, meanwhile, had claimed 10th place, though he still doesn't look happy in Championship Class F3.
In the National Class, first Avila went 2nd. Morgado wasn't having that, however. He took the place from the Macanese, who was then pushed further down by his own team-mate, Annala, who snatched 3rd from the lightest driver in the category. Alex Waters (Performance F3), who was still struggling with the car and his non-communicative dash, grabbed 4th, but Avila took it back. There followed a bit of a rush for the pits, and ten minutes in which no one seemed able to improve. The order at the chequered flag was Conway, from Senna, Jarvis, Jelley, Buurman, Walker, Jakes, Engel, Bakkerud and Stuart Hall (T-Sport). 11th was Valerio from Duran, Jonathan Kennard (Alan Docking Racing) and Karl Reindler (Alan Docking Racing). Gonzalez took National Class pole, from Morgado, Annala, Keiko Ihara (Carlin Motorsport), Avila and Waters.
Later, both Gonzalez and Jarvis were found to have exceeded the pitlane speed limits, and had their fastest times disallowed. Jarvis dropped to 5th as a result, while Gonzalez stayed right where he was.