Today at Silverstone Daisuke Nakajima (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) claimed his first pole position of the series by the smallest of margins, lapping 0.001 seconds faster than Max Chilton (Carlin Motorsport), while Renger van der Zande (Hitech ...
Today at Silverstone Daisuke Nakajima (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) claimed his first pole position of the series by the smallest of margins, lapping 0.001 seconds faster than Max Chilton (Carlin Motorsport), while Renger van der Zande (Hitech Racing) finished the session in 3rd. National Class pole again went to Gabriel Dias (T-Sport), this time by a larger margin over Daniel McKenzie (Fortec Motorsport) and debutant Michele Faccin (Team West-Tec).
After failing to claim pole in the morning session when he was the last man to emerge from the pits, Walter Grubmuller (Hitech Racing) opted to be first out instead, taking to the track as soon as he could, accompanied by the T-Sport boys, Adriano Buzaid and Wayne Boyd, who always seem to be among the first to go. Maybe this time Grubmuller would get it right. However, the earliest front-runner wasn't the Austrian but van der Zande, which wasn't really that surprising. It also wasn't too surprising when Buzaid went ahead; what was surprising was that he took Victor Garcia (Fortec Motorsport) with him.
Even more surprising was that Victor Correa (Litespeed F3) was leading the National Class from Max Snegirev (Team West-Tec) but neither Dias nor McKenzie was out yet so that made it a bit more explicable. At the top of the order van der Zande was back on top again, though it remained to be seen if he could hang onto it or not. Everyone suddenly had to slow down anyway after an outbreak of yellow flags at Copse, possibly caused by someone dumping a floppy marker or a bit of bodywork out on track. The yellows were quite rapidly withdrawn to be replaced by slippery surface flags and things got underway again.
The surprises continued when Jay Bridger (Litespeed F3/Bridger Motorsport) went 3rd and a lap later managed to drag even more speed from the car to claim 2nd displacing Buzaid. With everyone out on the circuit now except Ricciardo, it was getting busy. However, many of the front- runners were back in the pits for adjustments, tyres or just to be reassured that things were going according to plan. Certainly there were lots of new tyres being readied and fitted as the fight for pole went on.
The National Class was starting to look more normal now, with Faccin leading from Correa. Dias had now emerged but was last at this stage, and McKenzie had only just nosed his way out of the pits. It was still all change all over the order, though mostly at the front. Van der Zande was still ahead of the pack, ahead of Bridger, Buzaid, Garci and now Dias, whose first flying lap put him 5th overall, which would become 6th when Hywel Lloyd (C F Racing) suddenly hit 3rd.
A further raft of changes were soon forthcoming, with Chilton edging up to 7th, while Philip Major (Carlin Motorsport) was again showing strongly in the early stages and had claimed 3rd - at least for now. Meanwhile, Raikkonen Robertson Racing's Carlos Huertas was also putting in a bid for the front and was now 5th. A lap later and the National Class was in the hands of McKenzie, the Englishman putting in a time that landed him 9th overall.
And with 14 minutes of the session left, Ricciardo finally emerged. You almost expected to hear ominous music in the background. While the championship leader was warming up his tyres, Chilton was going for it, with notable success as he rapidly displaced van der Zande for provisional pole, and the Dutchman was further demoted by Huertas, Major and Nakajima.
Although the times were not as fast as those set in the morning - it was after all far warmer now - the changes were coming fast and furious, with Boyd going 4th now, only to lose out shortly afterwards to Riki Christodoulou (Fortec Motorsport). Meanwhile, Chilton's attempt at pole was temporarily derailed by Huertas, while Grubmuller had dropped down the order like a stone and was 15th, which wasn't in his plan. Mind you nor was Nakajima being on pole, but there he was at the top of the pile, while Ricciardo was still last, just behind Henry Arundel (Carlin Motorsport), both of them still getting up to speed. Arundel was the first of the pair to improve, setting a time that would put him 9th, but Ricciardo was still taking his time. At the front, the battle was still on, and the next round of improvements would see Christodoulou go 4th, just behind Chilton. Shortly after that Chilton reclaimed pole position, while in the National Class Dias had managed the same stunt and was back ahead of McKenzie, the latter dropping to 15th overall.
And then came the big surprise of the afternoon, when Nakajima went faster still to beat Chilton to pole by the slightest margin possible; he was 0.001 faster than the Carlin driver, who was just ahead of Arundel, Boyd and Huertas. That probably wasn't the order anyone would have predicted earlier in the day, and it would prove relatively short-lived. For one thing suddenly Ricciardo was there in 7th though he was promptly dropped by Christodoulou, and then van der Zande went 3rd. Ricciardo then went faster and shot up to 7th, while Grubmuller improved to 5th. A lap later the Austrian was 4th, dropping Arundel to 5th, but that was OK because Ricciardo then came back to snatch 4th, so at least revenge was taken. Nakajima, meanwhile, had decided there was no point staying out and using up perfectly good tyres that he would need for the race, and pitted. He wasn't the only one to decide that enough was enough, and he was probably right because the improvements had now dried up completely.
And so Nakajima was on pole for the first time, ahead of Chilton, van der Zande, Ricciardo, Grubmuller, Arundel, Boyd, Huertas, Christodoulou and Major. 11th was Buzaid, from Dias on National Pole, Lloyd, Bridger, Garcia, McKenzie, Stephane Richelmi (Barazi Epsilon), Kevin Chen (Raikkonen Robertson Racing), Faccin and Correa. The final two places went to Adil Hermanto (Litespeed F3) and Max Snegirev (Team West-Tec).
Weather: Warm. cloudy
Please see also race one qualifying story: @Ricciardo leads Carlin one, two in Silverstone qualifying