Silverstone's National circuit played host to a dramatic dual in this afternoon's qualifying session for tomorrow's first round of the Visma Software Formula Palmer Audi Championship. In a battle of the young guns, Northampton's Adam Smith (21)...
Silverstone's National circuit played host to a dramatic dual in this afternoon's qualifying session for tomorrow's first round of the Visma Software Formula Palmer Audi Championship. In a battle of the young guns, Northampton's Adam Smith (21) edged Royston's Ryan Lewis (19) to pole position with a lap time of 55.971 seconds, two tenths ahead of Lewis in the Building Environmental Services backed car. While the fight for pole was closely contested, the top ten today were separated by a mere nine tenths of a second, the might 275bhp turbo-charged Audi engines providing the power behind the FPA series.
Initially it was series veteran Stephen Young who tussled at the top of the time sheets with Lewis but with five minutes gone Adam Smith heralded his intentions and posted a time of 56.707 seconds on his sixth lap. Lewis then fought back with a time of 56.189, faster than the quickest lap recorded in either of the two practice sessions held earlier in the day. It was however, to be Smith's session, with barely a minute left on the clock he lapped the 1.6-mile National circuit in the pole winning time.
Having set the fastest time in the second free practice session today and with his first FPA pole position under his belt, Adam Smith looks set to be an early contender for the FPA Championship in his rookie year. Ryan Lewis, third in the 2002 Autumn Trophy, will be out to beat Smith to Copse at the start of tomorrow's 22-lap race and secure his second ever FPA win.
Elsewhere, 2001 FPA runner-up Stephen Young maintained his front-running pace in the Vodka Kick car with third fastest time. Fellow FPA veteran Stuart Prior joins Young on the second row of the grid. T-Car graduate Jonathan Kennard made a fantastic single-seater qualifying debut as he posted the sixth fastest time, eight tenths of second from pole and just one tenth off Chris Hyman who lines up one place ahead of him on the third row.
2002 Autumn Trophy Champion Ben Lewis improved his form following a disappointing second free practice session with the eighth fastest time in qualifying. Ryan Hooker, reigning Porsche 924 Champion, starts his first ever single-seater race inside the top ten, lining up on the grid in ninth, beating 2002 Autumn Trophy Runner-Up Paul Warren in tenth. Other notable performances came from American newcomer Emmanuel Crouvisier, racing in the UK for the first time, lining up in 11th and fellow rookie Gary Eastwood, from Sittingbourne, setting the 13th fastest time of the session.
Drivers have another opportunity to compete for pole in tomorrow morning's qualifying session for Round 2. The Visma Software Formula Palmer Audi Championship will celebrate its first winner of the year after Round 1 tomorrow afternoon, the race starting at 1:40pm, followed by Round 2 at 3:20pm.