Under sunny skies, Oliver Jarvis (Carlin Motorsport) was very keen to avoid the problems he'd experienced in the morning getting caught in traffic whenever he tried to get a quick a lap. This time he was out there straight away. A lap...
Under sunny skies, Oliver Jarvis (Carlin Motorsport) was very keen to avoid the problems he'd experienced in the morning getting caught in traffic whenever he tried to get a quick a lap. This time he was out there straight away. A lap later he'd set the provisional pole time, though as it was only in the 1:04s that was clearly not going to be the full story by a long shot.
In that way of races at Snetterton, it quickly got a bit odd. Salvador Duran (Hitech Racing) was soon 3rd, just behind Jonathan Kennard (Alan Docking Racing), and it really doesn't get a lot more unlikely than that, really. However, as there were only 14 cars out there, it was not quite as odd as you might think. Even so, a number of people were clearly subscribing to the theory that getting a lap in while it was still quiet was the way to go. That was presumably what led to Kennard taking provisional pole shortly after Jarvis showed his hand. He was now ahead of Jarvis, and Yelmer Buurman (Fortec Motorsport), the Dutchman edging Duran back down the order. And just by way of a change, for once it wasn't Rodolfo Gonzalez (T-Sport) leading the National Class. Instead Cristiano Morgado (Fluid Motorsport) was leading the class.
Elsewhere, Mike Conway (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) was out on the track and looking for his first competitive time. It looked fast, at least in the first sector, but the challenge had evaporated slightly by the time he crossed the start/finish line at the end of the lap. Third was the best he could manage. A slight breather for Jarvis and then he was back in action, going faster but not quite managing to get ahead of Kennard. Meanwhile, Bruno Senna (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) was making up for what he considered to be a dismal morning, and was 5th. It wouldn't really make him happy, but it might at least improve his mood slightly; it certainly couldn't make it worse.
Back in the National Class, Gonzalez was fighting back; it didn't take him long to get back on provisional class pole, though this time both Morgado and Juho Annala (Performance Racing) were doing their best to displace the ever-present Venezuelan and give someone else a shot. While they were doing that, most of the Championship Class runners were pitting for new tyres and wing adjustments, or even just to swap tyres from left to right and vice versa to try and even out the wear.
By the time the general pit scrum started, the order was Kennard, from Jarvis, Conway, James Jakes (Hitech Racing), Buurman, Senna, Duran, Stuart Hall (Fortec Motorsport), Stephen Jelley (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) and Alberto Valerio (Cesario F3).
It didn't take too long for the order at the front to start to look a little more normal, as Conway promptly leap-frogged to pole, Jakes went faster to snatch 3rd and Bakkerud was 5th. Oddly enough, after the morning session started early without anyone being warned, we now got a message flashing up on the timing screen informing us that the session would start at 14.55. except it had been running for 10 minutes by this point.
In real difficulties at this point was Maro Engel (Carlin Motorsport), the German a rather distant - and very unrepresentative 15th - with half the session left to run. Jarvis, who may have been avoiding Engel, was now 3rd, so the pace was there. Kennard, on the other hand, seemed to have decided he could do no more. He was in the pits and out of the car, not wanting to use any more Avon rubber if he didn't have to (a puncture in the morning session had left him rather short of tyres). You had to wonder if he might have been better staying out. Engel was on the move, for one thing, and was now 5th,.while Jakes again moved up the field to go 2nd. At Double R, Jelley was 10th, and Senna had slipped to 12th, while the National Class reshuffled, Gonzalez still leading but now with Annala behind him.
A push from Jarvis saw him claim a front row slot beside Conway, but there was definite feeling that Olly wasn't done yet. He wanted a pole position and he was trying his best to get one. A great effort from Jelley also led to an improvement as he slotted in alongside Jakes on the 2nd row. The pleasing symmetry of the Js all together was wrecked a lap later when Jarvis grabbed pole, while Engel, who had been 2nd, found himself 3rd, a fraction off Conway's best time. Buurman was only 7th, which was not as good as might have been expected, while Senna was now 11th and didn't look too happy. Morgado, meanwhile, displaced Annala for 2nd in the National Class.
And then it all went very quiet.The order now was Jarvis from Conway, Engel, Jelley, Jakes, Kennard, Buurman, Bakkerud, James Walker (Hitech Racing) and Duran.
11th was Senna, just ahead of Valerio, Karl Reindler (Alan Docking Racing), Stuart Hall (Fortec Motorsport), Gonzalez, Morgado, Annala, Keiko Ihara (Carlin Motorsport), Rodolfo Avila (Performance Racing) and Ricardo Teixeira (Performance Racing). Alex Khateeb (Promatecme F3) and Martin Kudzak (Fluid Motorsport) filled the last two places.
With people changing tyres and wing settings right, left and centre, it seemed no one was going to improve much now. Having said that, Senna managed to snag 9th place, and Jarvis was able to improve his time to snatch pole from Conway. Afterwards, he was delighted, and Conway was gracious enough to congratulate his rival on a great lap time. However, it wasn't quite over yet. To prove that overturning the "normal" order was the theme of the day, Morgado took class pole from Gonzalez, just to make life a bit more interesting. Senna, meanwhile, was now 5th, which would make him a little happier with his lot in life, which was probably just as well.
Someone who really wasn't happy with life was Bakkerud, who was 7th and not pleased with having to constantly deal with traffic whenever he though he was about to get a clear lap. He had at least managed to edge ahead of Kennard, which helped a bit, but then Buurman came back at the Dane and pushed him back down a place. Afterwards, he had a face like a thundercloud and was best avoided till he'd calmed down a little. And then, with seven minutes left, Avila spun and ended up stuck in a dangerous position on the track. The officials hauled out the red flags and stopped the session. With the top ten now reading Jarvis, Conway, Engel, Jelley, Senna, Jakes, Buurman, Bakkerud, Kennard and Walker things looked pretty normal again. 11th was Hall ahead of Duran, Valerio, Reindler, Morgado, Gonzalez, Annala, Ihara, Avila and Teixeira. 21st was Khateeb, in front of Kudzak.
At the restart hardly anyone bothered going back out, though Jelley had a go. None of it made any difference, and the grid was set just as it had been at the red flag.