Al Khalifa out of luck at Thruxton
Bahraini racing driver Salman Al Khalifa saw luck desert him in rounds 11 and 12 of the British F3 International Series at the weekend.
The former Formula BMW Asia champion, who competes in the National Class of the prestigious single seater series, saw his hopes of a strong points haul foiled after an off in race 1 resulted in a seventh placed finish and his chances of a podium in race 2 were ended after being taken out by Stefan Wilson.
Salman was frustrated to have qualified fifth in class for Sunday's first race at the high-speed Hampshire circuit and saw his start compromised by confusion on the grid which saw the race started before he, and several others behind, had reached their grid position.
Having lost places off the line, the T-Sport driver fought his way back up the field before he pushed a little too hard into Club midway through the race and damaged his Dallara's rear diffuser as he slid off the circuit. The team called him into the pits for repairs and managed to send him back out on track to score a seventh place finish and grab a handful of championship points.
In race 2, Salman made a much better start and the leading National Class runners ran nose to tail in the opening stages. A brave move on Wilson promoted Al Khalifa to third in the early stages, but things went wrong on lap 7 of the 24 lap race when Wilson made an attempt to dive up the inside and punted both cars into retirement.
"Some people might say it was a racing incident, but I think it was avoidable," said Salman. "The gap wasn't really there and contact was inevitable. It was a disappointing way to end the race as we were right on the pace of the class leaders.
"In race 1 I simply missed my breaking point at Club and went off. It was obvious that something had broken at the rear of the car as it was virtually un-driveable. But the team called me in and did a great job to repair the damage so I could at least claim some points.
"I have to say it was a disappointing weekend, but we'll do some more testing between now and the next race at Brands Hatch, so we'll be looking for a big improvement."