CLARKE QUICKEST 'NON-JET' PILOT IN F3 FINALE Silverstone, 9th October 2005: Dan Clarke finished his highly impressive rookie season in the British Formula 3 International Series with third and fifth-place finishes in the last round at...
CLARKE QUICKEST 'NON-JET' PILOT IN F3 FINALE
Silverstone, 9th October 2005: Dan Clarke finished his highly impressive rookie season in the British Formula 3 International Series with third and fifth-place finishes in the last round at Silverstone. But Clarke was denied in his bid to grab fourth place in the championship standings by just three points after his Raikkonen Robertson Racing Dallara-Mugen Honda was leapfrogged in the final race by Estonian rival Marko Asmer.
The Englishman qualified third for both races, as the entire field was forced to play second fiddle to American Charlie Kimball, who was trying out a brand new Mugen Honda engine as the Japanese manufacturer gears up for a strong 2006 British F3 challenge from Mercedes. This meant that everyone else was effectively battling for second place.
With damp conditions for the first race, Clarke was caught out because his grid position was on the damp side of the track. He dropped to fifth but recovered third by the end of lap one. Then he started reeling in second-placed Danilo Dirani. Dan was closing the gap when the safety car appeared. The safety car was all for a car that was stuck on the exit of a corner, and then they decided not to move the car anyway," said Clarke.
"Then at the restart there was another collision and another safety car, which was how the race finished. I'd caught up Dirani but was robbed by the safety-car fiasco, but at least I got the fastest lap for non- Honda-jet-engined cars." Once again Dan slipped to fifth at the start of race two, but this time for a much stranger reason: The sun was reflecting in the starting lights and then it caught me out when they came on. I rolled forward, then jumped on the brakes and nearly missed the start."
That put Clarke behind season-long rivals Asmer and Mike Conway, a situation that cost him fourth in the championship.
"I was stuck behind Conway - all year his team have had oil coming out of the backs of their cars. I've been on at the officials about it for ages. It meant that I was actually losing more grip in slow-speed corners than high-speed ones, and I couldn't even get close enough to knock him out of the way! It left a bad taste in my mouth and not just because of all the oil I was breathing in. "I'm a bit frustrated because I overtook Asmer for fourth in the championship before the last race, but for our team to do what we did this year was fantastic. My team-mate Bruno Senna and I were both rookies and the team was brand new, but we ended the year as the fastest two apart from Kimball with his jet engine. It shows we're the kick-arse outfit and that we've pretty much cracked it."