Changes: For the first time this year we have 22 cars (it's been static at 20 for most of the season despite numerous driver changes) with the addition of Michele Faccin (Team West-Tec) from the Italian F3 series, and Indonesia's...
Changes: For the first time this year we have 22 cars (it's been static at 20 for most of the season despite numerous driver changes) with the addition of Michele Faccin (Team West-Tec) from the Italian F3 series, and Indonesia's Adil Hermanto (Litespeed F3), both of them joining the National Class for two-year old cars.
At Silverstone this morning, current points leader Daniel Ricciardo (Carlin Motorsport) was taking no prisoners with a well chosen lap of the short circuit that was enough to claim pole position ahead of team-mate Max Chilton and rapid Dutchman Renger van der Zande (Hitech Racing). National Class pole ended up with Gabriel Dias (T-Sport) from series leader Daniel McKenzie (Fortec Motorsport) and new boy Faccin.
This time it's the T-Sport boys who lead the way out - all three of them (Adriano Buzaid, Wayne Boyd and Gabriel Dias) hitting the track as soon as the lights go green. That seemed to be enough to spark a general National Class rush, but the International Class runners were mostly keeping their powder dry. This made sense as the weather seemed to be stable (so very different to Spa), and they were using the short circuit so there would be plenty of time to get a flying lap in. You could pretty much guarantee that no one would be staying out for the whole session because no one has enough tyres for that. That meant that temporarily Boyd and Buzaid had it pretty much to themselves and Dias was leading the National Class quiet comfortably at this stage. Meanwhile Buzaid leaped back to pole, while Faccin was showing well in the National Class, slotting in to 2nd.
Jay Bridger (Litespeed F3/Bridger Motorsport) was now 3rd overall, as a gradual roll out of cars to the circuit began. It was all rather leisurely really and with a third of the session over only 13 times had been set. It didn't take long for things to hot up - especially as van der Zande was now out on track. His first proper flying lap was enough for provisional pole, just ahead of Boyd and Buzaid, while Dias was still leading the class and was 4th overall. That left Bridger and Chilton fighting for 5th where they were temporarily joined by Kevin Chen (Raikkonen Robertson Racing), who was looking rather more convincing than he had at Spa, though he still didn't look like a potential front runner by even the wildest stretch of the imagination. He was ahead of Chilton at this stage though...And not everyone was out yet. Ricciardo and Grubmuller were still biding their time, and lurking in the pits though there was plenty of activity from their team-mates. The fun started when Henry Arundel (Carlin Motorsport) went 4th, and then Chilton shot past him for 2nd. Just for good measure, Philip Major (Carlin Motorsport) went 5th which suggested that Carlin were on fine form.
However, it was looking as if we were gearing up for another van der Zande benefit as the leader went even faster, staying ahead of Chilton, Boyd, Arundel, Buzaid, Major and Riki Christodoulou (Fortec Motorsport). A lap later and Chilton was on pole, but he didn't keep it for long, because van der Zande was able to speed up even more and snatch it back. However, it was a long way from over with because Ricciardo was lurking in the background and was now ready to make his move. Half the session had gone and the track was well scrubbed by now, with plenty of space available. It was all the Australian needed. As he emerged and started onto his first flying lap, Grubmuller became the last driver of all to join in. As he was doing that Chilton edged back to pole, and Hywel Lloyd (C F Racing) appeared in 7th.
With everyone now out on track, the improvements were still coming through thick and fast. Ricciardo's first flyer was enough to net him 12th, but he was clearly on a charge. Meanwhile, Carlos Huertas (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) had also woken up and was now 6th from almost last the lap before. He soon found himself 7th however, after Major put in another fast time for 6th. Ricciardo, however, was the man to watch, managing a lap that was enough to put him on pole by 0.129 seconds. It was not enough to allow him to relax while Grubmuller was still going for it, but it was looking good nonetheless. Grubmuller was looking pretty threatening though, and was 10th at the end of his first proper flying lap as he finally wound himself up to go for pole. A lap later and he was 8th, but that didn't mean the threat had evaporated. While that was going on, Arundel and Huertas were fighting over 4th, while Dias had decided he'd done enough and had pitted. Shortly afterwards, van der Zande did the same, while Daisuke Nakajima (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) was just getting going after a handful of painfully slow laps. The Japanese suddenly appeared in 12th.
Grubmuller then made his final move, but it was only good enough for 4th, landing him up alongside his team-mate and making it an all-Hitech 2nd row. Behind the two of them, however, it was all happening with Huertas leapfrogging Arundel to get back to 5th, while Chilton joined those in the pits, as did Bridger, but in his case he was just having his rear wing adjusted. There were also improvements from Christodoulou (8th) and Nakajima (9th) before almost all the International Class runners - except Ricciardo - gave up the struggle. The Australian promptly went faster, though there was no real need for him to do so. He was already on pole and his rivals were mostly out of their cars and watching the timing screens.
Weather: Cool, cloudy, dry.
That left the National Class runners although that was pretty much sorted out with Dias on pole from McKenzie. However, there was a bit of a shuffle as Hermanto managed to outpace his team-mate Victor Correa (Litespeed F3) and Faccin got ahead of both of them for 3rd in class. However, he was behind Bridger, Chen and Stephane Richelmi (Barazi Epsilon) so he would have his work cut out if he wanted to catch up with the two front-runners.
And so Ricciardo will start Round 15 from pole, ahead of Chilton, van der Zande, Grubmuller, Huertas, Arundel, Boyd, Christodoulou, Nakajima and Buzaid. Major ended up 11th, from Lloyd, Victor Garcia (Fortec Motorsport), Dias, McKenzie, Bridger, Chen, Richelmi, Faccin and Hermanto. 21st was Correa from Snegirev.