Road to the podium stopped by incident. After netting some of his best ever qualifying positions in the British F3 Championship rounds at Brands Hatch at the weekend, Dane Jesper Carlsen, racing for the Essencial Motorsport team, was optimistic...
Road to the podium stopped by incident.
After netting some of his best ever qualifying positions in the British F3 Championship rounds at Brands Hatch at the weekend, Dane Jesper Carlsen, racing for the Essencial Motorsport team, was optimistic about his chances in the two races run on Sunday. However, a racing driver needs luck as well as talent, and while Jesper has the latter in abundance, he seemed to have run out of the former for once.
Lining up in 4th place on the grid for the Scholarship Class race that was run on Sunday morning, a podium position should have been on the cards, and possibly even a win. However, it all went horribly wrong very quickly, after Carlsen took the start in his Kelkoo-sponsored Toyota-engined Dallara. "I got a good start, and caught up with Robert Dahlgren, and Clivio Piccione. Dahlgren got off the line first and passed Clivio through Paddock Hill Bend, and then coming up towards Druids Clivio seemed to slow down. I tried to go up the inside of him but he wouldn't let me through so then I dived up on the outside as we went into Druids, I thought I'd see what would happen. With the speed Dahlgren had, I was able to keep him on the inside all the way round the bend, but then suddenly Karun Chandhok just rocketed up out of nowhere. He pushed me off line and hit my front wheel then he just carried straight on. By that time I was having trouble keeping Stephen Colbert behind me. I still had the outside line around Druids though, so I just kept my foot in and kept it on the inside line into the next corner, which is Graham Hill Bend. The trouble was I'd collected a lot of gravel which was sticking to my tyres making it hard to get any grip, and I just got pushed to the outside of the track and on to the grass and went wide. That meant another bunch of cars went past me and there was nothing I could do about it. After that I just settled in there, there was a lot happening, but I didn't really feel that I could do anything; the car felt as if something wasn't quite right after Chandhok hit me and it was hard work to keep pace with the others. Colbert got past a little bit later, as we were going up from Paddock and I ended up finishing 7th. It was a very disappointing result, even though Karun apologised later."
If the first race of the day was disappointing, the second was even worse from Jesper's perspective. "For the second race we changed the car a bit and I got a brilliant start really. I think I was about 8th overall as we went up to Druids, and then I turned into Graham Hill Bend all right and everything was fine, but then it all went pear-shaped." It did indeed. Further up the field, in the Championship Class, things had begun to go badly wrong as the field went up to Druids. As a result, Scholarship Class pole position runner Adam Carroll had to take avoiding action but still managed to take out Clivio Piccione. Clivio was pitched into a spin and was sideways across the track as Jesper arrived behind him. Left with no place to go, Jesper hit the T-Sport car, spun himself and was out on the spot, with the race less than a lap old. "I just thought it was a pile-up. Everybody was locked solid and coming off the corner (Graham Hill Bend) everybody just seemed to stop!"
After Brands Hatch, Jesper's next race is a non-championship event supporting the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, next Sunday (July 7th).