<pre> 2001 Green Flag British Formula Three Championship Rounds 1 and 2 - Silverstone, March 31st/April 1st </pre> by Stella-Maria Thomas and Lynne Waite - Motorsport.com Round 2 - Qualifying: Weather: Cloudy, dry. After the...
<pre> 2001 Green Flag British Formula Three Championship Rounds 1 and 2 - Silverstone, March 31st/April 1st
</pre> by Stella-Maria Thomas and Lynne Waite - Motorsport.com
Round 2 - Qualifying:
Weather: Cloudy, dry.
After the morning's debacle, the afternoon session didn't get off to a very good start either with yellows at Priory almost immediately. Once things did get going properly it was Martin O'Connell (Avanti) who set the early pace, suggesting that the Avanti team cars are as good as last year, and that O'Connell should still not be written off. He soon lost his place the Andy Priaulx (Alan Docking Racing) however, the Guernseyman making up for being left out in the morning session because he behaved as he was supposed to. Meanwhile Matt Davies (Avanti) was having problems. He hit some debris on the track and had to pit to make sure everything was still in working order. Derek Hayes (Manor Motorsport) was looking good early on as was Alex Gurney (Fortec Motorsport), while Jeffrey Jones (Manor Motorsport) promptly took the opportunity of visiting a gravel trap and wrecking his chances of doing much with the session. He claimed the car was much better but as he only did three laps it was hard to tell if he was right or not.
Davies was quickly back on the pace despite his little off and he soon had what looked like a stranglehold on pole. Ryan Dalziel (Prost Junior Team) was shadowing him but he was never going to give the young Scot a look in if he could help it. However, he was unable to stop Priaulx shooting back up the order, only for the ADR driver to be baulked on his next lap by Scholarship Class newcomer Shinsuke Yamazaki. Davies took advantage of this to go back ahead and was then displaced by Takuma Sato (Carlin Motorsport), who got bounced by James Courtney (Jaguar Racing F3). Courtney's team-mate Andre Lotterer took a short excursion to investigate the GP circuit (which made some of us recall the time Tom Kristensen, then racing in German F3 and a guest in British F3 for once, shot up the GP pit lane instead of the support race pit lane and promptly found himself out of the race at a long-distant British GP). Lotterer came back and decided to stay with the proper circuit for the rest of the session. Gianmaria Bruni (Fortec) then grabbed pole only to lose it to Davies yet again. And then there were yellows at Abbey and that was effectively the end of that as far as pole was concerned. If Davies can't find the money to continue then there is simply no justice in racing (but then, I guess we all knew that anyway). He was delighted with his efforts but remained as cool as ever. "The car was good from the start," he said afterwards, though he refused to be drawn as to whether he thought he could win or not.
Bruni finally took the second slot, suggesting that the new Renault engine is miles better than last year's feeble object. It looks more like a race winner now rather than a major hindrance to anyone with an urge to succeed. Hayes, another seriously under funded individual, was third and Sato was 4th although he felt he was lacking grip. Courtney was still looking threatening in 5th and Nick Kiesa (Prost Junior Team) was not much happier at being 6th than he had been with his first race times, even though he was six places closer to the front. He didn't feel the balance was right and was complaining that the car was too nervous. His teammate Dalziel was much happier and he was only 10th. Andy Priaulx was still there or thereabouts with 7th place, and would share the row with Mark Taylor (Manor Motorsport). In 9th place, Bruce Jouanny was much happier than he had been in the morning session, which was good to see.
The middle section of the grid was headed by O'Connell, who presumably still hates Silverstone. Paul Edwards (Alan Docking Racing) was unhappy with the set-up of his Dallara and consequently ended in 12th, which he felt was not the best he was capable of. Still, he knows this is a very long season (26 races) and consistency will count so his aim was to finish in the points and stay out of trouble. After his little trip to the wrong circuit Lotterer recovered himself enough to set 13th fastest time of the day ahead of the second Promatecme driver, Atsushi Katsumata. And life was rather better at Menu Motorsport in this session after Rob Austin brought it home in 15th, an improvement on his somewhat dismal morning performance.
16th was the second Carlin car of Anthony Davidson, the current McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year finding F3 to be rather more difficult than he had perhaps anticipated. Certainly he (or at least his PR representative) was talking a good race before the season got underway. Now he has to live up to those claims. Another one having a difficult time was Alex Gurney, but then the American is another one with very little experience of racing in Britain so bringing his Fortec Dallara into 17th place may not have been too big a disappointment. 18th, on the other hand, was a huge disappointment for Jamie Spence (Duma Racing) after setting pole in the morning session. That Tim Spouge (Menu) was just behind him must have been a bit of a shock for the veteran F3 racer. And in 20th place was Matthew Gilmore (Performance), the youngster taking the Scholarship Class pole position with a fine effort for a new team and a novice driver. Robbie Kerr (Fred Goddard Racing) did his best but to displace Gilmore but ultimately it wasn't quite enough and he would start 22nd, the stranded Jones occupying the space between the two Class B boys. 3rd in class (and 23rd overall) was Carlin's Kazuki Hoshino, with Adam Blair (Performance) and Michael Keohane (Meritus) both getting within a tenth of a second of the Japanese driver's time. Mark Mayall (Diamond) ended the day 6th in class, followed by Robert Doornbos (Fred Goddard Racing) and the only Brazilian in F3 at present, Ernani Judice (Parker) in 9th place. Justin Sherwood (Performance) and Parthiva Sureshwaren (ME) took the next two places.
The remaining runners were Stuart King (Shift), Stuart Turvey (Gatelie), Peter Nilsson (Team Meritus), Craig Murray (Aztec International) - who actually made it into this session, Harold Primat (Diamond Racing), Shinsuke Yamazaki (also at Diamond), Aaron Scott (Rowan Racing) and Rowland Kinch (Team PARK) who was 2.5 seconds slower than Scott.