Kimball Pushing the Limits at Croft Charlie Kimball competed in the British Formula 3 International Series at the grueling Croft circuit in north east England this past weekend, May 5-7, 2005. The Formula 3 rookie finished a respectable 6th in...
Kimball Pushing the Limits at Croft
Charlie Kimball competed in the British Formula 3 International Series at the grueling Croft circuit in north east England this past weekend, May 5-7, 2005. The Formula 3 rookie finished a respectable 6th in the first race but was caught out by the torrential wet conditions in the second race. His pace and potential were underlined by his qualifying results which started him 7th and 5th for Race 1 and 2 respectively.
In the first race, Kimball demonstrated his competence in changeable weather, key to racing in England, when it began to hail and rain on only half the circuit. The young American was pressuring James Walker for position when the slippery conditions caused Walker to spin, leaving Kimball nowhere to go. The Carlin driver tagged Walker leaving his front wing askew and ineffective. Kimball was able to recover and finish a strong 6th and take home some valuable championship points.
Charlie commented, "It was chaos out there for a while! The hail on the track made it very slippery especially since we were on slicks. I couldn't avoid James (Walker) when he spun because of the track conditions and from then on, it was a case of fighting back and damage control. Needless to say I had a little understeer..."
Kimball faced more changeable conditions in the second race when it rained on and off throughout the race. The young Californian driver made a good start, finally escaping the persisting clutch problems, and moved up from fifth to fourth. Then in the successive laps Kimball passed struggling championship leader Mike Conway. This set up a Carlin Motorsport 1-2-3, as Alvaro Parente was leading followed by Christian Bakkerrud and Kimball. However, Kimball was not going to be happy settling for third and while pressuring second place, made a small braking error. Because of the treacherous conditions, an off track excursion followed, dropping Kimball to 8th place. He had begun his charge back through the field and had just passed Dan Clarke for seventh, when, once again, the American racer made a braking mistake, this time pitching him into the outside wall and ending his race early. The result was disappointing because Kimball's pace was evident - he held the fastest lap of the race until the last lap when the circuit began to dry.
He spoke about the mistakes afterwards, "I was pushing hard trying to force Christian, my teammate, into a mistake. I knew I was faster than both he and Alvaro (Parente) and was not going to be happy to settle for third. Hindsight is always 20/20, and I probably should have backed off and protected the 1-2-3, but I made the call to push and I will accept the result of that. As a driver, it is hard to back off since I want to win so much. This weekend has definitely taught me the value of patience"
Kimball now prepares for the next race of the Championship which will be held at Knockhill Racing Circuit, Scotland, May 20-22, 2005.