Changes: Dutchman Yelmer Buurman (Fortec Motorsport) replaces Ronayne O'Mahony, who has quit the team. The returning Performance Racing has John Jakes in place for this weekend. Both drivers have been quick in the British Formula Renault...
Dutchman Yelmer Buurman (Fortec Motorsport) replaces Ronayne O'Mahony, who has quit the team. The returning Performance Racing has John Jakes in place for this weekend. Both drivers have been quick in the British Formula Renault series this year, so it remains to be seen what will happen. And of course we're missing Alvaro Parente, the 2005 champion being kind of busy with A1 GP in Germany this weekend.
If you were looking for action at Silverstone this morning, you needed to be here for the first ten minutes or so of the 30-minute session. After that, nothing really happened. The two potential runners-up this year, Mike Conway (Fortec Motorsport) and Charlie Kimball (Carlin Motorsport), were both keen. In the case of Conway this manifested itself in keenness to get out there straight away. Kimball waited around for a while. As a result Conway held the pole position slot for a while, while behind him people chopped and changed places. Stephen Jelley (Menu Motorsport) was looking convincing too, slotting into 2nd place early on. He was replaced by Marko Asmer (Hitech Racing), and then they all moved back a place when Tim Bridgman, also in a Hitech Racing car, shot into 2nd. Steven Kane (Promatecme F3) and Josh Fisher (Team SWR) were soon occupying the second row, though it seemed unlikely Fisher would be able to hang on to that place. Still he was temporarily a long way ahead of the rest of the National Class runners and looked to be enjoying himself.
Asmer was now on a charge, and he grabbed pole, just as Kimball went fastest in the first sector. It was pretty clear where this was going to go. And sure enough 30 or so seconds later Kimball was on pole by three quarters of a second. That time was going to take some beating. Asmer, Dan Clarke (Double R Racing), Bridgman and Conway took up the next four places. Judging by what happened next in the National Class it was clearly a good day to be called Charlie. Charlie Hollings (Promatecme F3) shot up the order and took the national class pole. He wasn't about to let go of it either, and was never challenged again. At least someone in the Championship Class was still trying. Clarke overtook Asmer for 2nd, while Jelley was still pressing on as fast as possible. It was enough to get him up to 5th, but the Menu driver was experiencing engine problems so it seemed likely he would lose some ground before the end of the session.
Meanwhile, the unluckiest man in F3 (or so he believes) was able to haul his Carlin Motorsport Dallara up to 7th, at least for the time being. Buurman was also impressing; he was 11th, which was good going for a rookie. That perennial late starter Danilo Dirani (P1 Motorsport) had finally decided to join in. He leap-frogged up the order to go 5th, only to be nudged down a place by Bruno Senna (Double R Racing) who also suddenly started to show pace. Karl Reindler (Alan Docking Racing) was also showing signs of progress, with a 10th place. In fact the main improvers now were Reindler, who went 5th, and Dirani who grabbed 2nd place a little later.
Meanwhile the first pit stops broke out, with Bridgman leading the charge for new rubber. He was 15th by then, so there was little to lose really. Kimball didn't look likely to join the rush for adjustments any time soon, and did yet another fastest first sector time. Inevitably, by the time he finished the lap he was even quicker than the rest of them. Further down the order Charlie Mk. 2 (Hollings) was back to provisional class pole, while one of his main rivals, Jonathan Kennard (Alan Docking Racing) was sitting in the pits with the engine cover off, a situation that had been going on for some time. Another situation was developing out on the track, when Bridgman, who was now pushing hard for a good lap time, went off at Brooklands, landing in the gravel and putting and end to his session, as well as slowing down everyone who was anywhere nearby. We were close to the halfway mark by now, and pretty well everyone's tyres were now past their best.
Kimball was on pole from Dirani, Clarke, Asmer, Senna, Reindler, Ryan Lewis (T-Sport), Conway, James Walker (Fortec Motorsport) and Jelley. Hollings was 11th, from Steven Kane whose Promatecme F3 Dallara had a nasty misfire, Bakkerud, Barton Mawer (T-Sport), Salvador Duran (P1 Motorsport), Bridgman, Buurman, Kennard, Fisher and Ben Clucas (Fluid Motorsport). 21st was Jakes after a minor off into the gravel, followed by Keiko Ihara (Carlin Motorsport), Juho Annala (Alan Docking Racing), Cheong Lou Meng (Edenbridge Racing) and Nick Jones (Team SWR).
And really, that was the end of any changes at all. The second half of the session was a complete waste of time and of tyre rubber.