Gonzalez battles at the front
Venezuelan Rodolfo Gonzalez was back in action in the UK last weekend at the British F3/GT Festival at Silverstone. After the last races at the undulating Spa-Francorchamps circuit it was on to another Grand Prix circuit, though using the shorter International track layout.
After Friday's free practice Gonzalez has managed a best place of 7th but was determined to do better in Saturday's qualifying runs. The weather was bright , sunny and hot as so new slick tyres were only going to be at their best for a few laps.
This proved to be the case as most of the main contenders have gone back to the pits after only 15 of the allotted 30 minute session and Gonzalez finished up in a season's best of 3rd place on the grid for Race 1. For a lot of the session he had been in 2nd place only pipped at the last minute by a competitor.
After the session Gonzalez was asked could he had gone any quicker and he commented "My quickest lap had my quickest time for all three sectors so I had maxxed out on fastest time"
The second session in the afternoon was completely different as teams were watching track conditions/temperature and most of the drivers were held back for 10 minutes before they all started to come out and a rival started to set quick times. Gonzalez had a good session and finished up in 4th place to end a very satisfying day and was interested by TV in both English and Spanish.
The race day on Sunday started off cloudy with the threat of heavy rain at some point during the afternoon and so drivers were keen to get race 1 underway in the dry. Gonzalez made a great start overtaking the 2nd place driver on the outside at the first corner before, unfortunately, the race was neutralised behind the safety car as several drivers had collided on the opening lap. It took a couple of laps before the safety card withdrew and Gonzalez sensed that this would be the time to challenge for the lead. This was not to be the case as he clashed with another driver at Becketts and spun off, only re-starting in 20th place. He battled back up the field before retiring from the race with broken front suspension.
Race 2 that afternoon was not as successful and although Gonzalez finished in 7th place he was suffering with oversteer.
After the races Gonzalez described his weekend "I think our qualifying performance keeps improving, as we qualified 3rd and 4th which is a big improvement. Unfortunately in race one I came together with Mustonen battling for second place and in race two we had too much over steer in the car. So we now have to focus on finding a good balance for the car in the race. Overall I'm happy with the performance in qualifying but disappointed with our race performance."
The British F3 Championship now moves onto the the high speed Thruxton track in Hampshire on August 25/26.
-credit: Chris Roberts