Double podium for Al Khalifa at Spa Bahraini racing driver Salman Al Khalifa continued his return to form at the weekend by claiming a double National Class podium in the British F3 International Series' visit to Spa-Francorchamps. The Manama...
Double podium for Al Khalifa at Spa
Bahraini racing driver Salman Al Khalifa continued his return to form at the weekend by claiming a double National Class podium in the British F3 International Series' visit to Spa-Francorchamps.
The Manama born racer finished second and third at the famous Belgian circuit in what was the best performance of the season so far for the 2005 Formula BMW Asia champion.
Having worked hard in practice with his T-Sport race engineer to find a good base set-up, Salman held the provisional class pole for much of Thursday's qualifying session before his best time of 2:17.784 was bettered by just eight one hundredths of a second by Jay Bridger.
Starting second on the grid, Al Khalifa made a superb getaway and passed Bridger around the outside of turn 1 to take the lead. He also overtook Championship Class runner Ricardo Teixeira in the opening corners and spent the next few laps defending his lead from a charging Stefan Wilson in second. On lap 7, the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner managed to force his way past at Les Combes, and although Salman pressured him to the chequered flag, he was forced to settle for a very respectable second place finish.
Salman qualified fourth in class for race 2, less than a second behind pole sitter Bridger, and again made a good start as he avoided the chaos of a first corner collision at La Source. Having picked his way past the wreckage of several Championship Class cars, Salman was quickly on the tail of the lead battle as the top four in the National Class fought nose to tail.
A tussle with Wilson for third place saw the pair fighting side by side on the exit of the legendary Eau Rouge corner before Salman's pass on the English driver in the latter stages of the race saw Al Khalifa take his third consecutive F3 podium and enact revenge having missed out on his first victory in race 1 to the same driver.
Salman: "Spa is one of my favourite tracks and this has been a very enjoyable weekend. In both races I was fighting side by side with other cars at incredibly high speed through Eau Rouge and it was an amazing experience. Two podiums is a good reward for the team and I'm looking forward to carrying that momentum on to the next round at Silverstone, which is another circuit I love."