Kennard scores at Pau despite qualifying setback British racing driver Jonathan Kennard scored more points towards his Lloyds TSB Insurance British Formula 3 Championship campaign on his first visit to the legendary Pau street circuit in France...
Kennard scores at Pau despite qualifying setback
British racing driver Jonathan Kennard scored more points towards his Lloyds TSB Insurance British Formula 3 Championship campaign on his first visit to the legendary Pau street circuit in France - but maintains he could have done a lot better had it not been for a qualifying incident which left him at the back of the grid for race two.
Having set the 16th quickest time in the opening qualifying session, Tonbridge ace Kennard, 20, felt he had already conquered the challenging and bumpy Pau track - his first ever street circuit - and reckoned that with a clear lap and a couple of tweaks to his Alan Docking Racing-run Dallara, he could aim for a top six place on the grid for race two.
This seemed to be the case in second qualifying, when on only his second flying lap, Kennard was on course to join the top six drivers on circuit. But, before he was able to cross the line to set the scorching time, he came across three parked cars at the entry of the final corner.
"They were all trying to back everyone else up so that they could get a clear lap without any traffic ahead of them," explained Jonathan. "I nearly ran into the back of one of them but just missed him, but Christian Bakkerud came round the corner behind me and hit my car, taking the right rear wheel off. It wasn't his fault, but it was the end of my session, which meant I had to start race two from the back of the grid."
Race one saw Kennard prove once again that he is one of the UK's fastest rising stars, as he moved up from 16th to 10th place overall, passing several cars on a track notoriously difficult to find overtaking space. With three invitational drivers not scoring points for British F3, that left Kennard effectively in seventh, scoring four points.
Despite his proven speed, race two was always going to be a difficult one, as Jonathan started from 25th on the grid in sweltering 30 degree temperatures. However, he showed plenty of fighting spirit and put on a storming charge, scything through the field to move up to 11th of the British championship runners.
"That was as good as it was going to get for me," said Kennard afterwards. "Pau is an extremely difficult track to pass on, there's only one real place you can do it and even then you have to get a good run out of the last corner to get in the slipstream on the main straight. I felt I got used to the track within the first session and had the car sorted in the second. It probably would have helped if I had more experience of street circuits, but it should have been better this time anyway if hadn't have been for the qualifying incident."
Kennard's next action will be in the seventh and eighth rounds of the British F3 Championship at Mondello Park in Ireland on June 25.