Changes: There always seem to be changes and today is no exception. This time we're down Sebastian Hohenthal (Fortec Motorsport) after the Swede ran out of money (no doubt not helped by the presence of Marcus Ericsson in the team). Additionally,...
Changes: There always seem to be changes and today is no exception. This time we're down Sebastian Hohenthal (Fortec Motorsport) after the Swede ran out of money (no doubt not helped by the presence of Marcus Ericsson in the team). Additionally, there is no sign of Team Loctite although they might have been expected to put in appearance here. We have however got last year's SudAm F3 Champion, Clemente de Faria Junior (otherwise known as Clemente Jr.), who is running in the Double R Racing car that used to be driven by Alistair Jackson before he took his budget off to Ultimate Motorsport.
At the end of a somewhat lacklustre session at Silverstone today, Oliver Turvey (Carlin Motorsport) again claimed pole position for a British F3 race, his third in a row. Once again he was joined on the front row by a team-mate, this time Brendon Hartley, the latter on a roll after an impressive run to 5th in last weekend's Masters of Formula 3 race at Zolder where he was the best of the British series contingent. Third went to the impressive rookie, Marcus Ericsson (Fortec Motorsport). In the National Class, Stefan Wilson (Fluid Motorsport) was on pole despite Jay Bridger (Fluid Motorsport) holding provisional pole for the greater part of the session.
At the start it was hard to tell how things were likely to go as there seemed to be a massive reluctance on the part of any of the drivers to actually get out on track. It's all very well waiting for the track to be cleaned by someone else, but eventually someone is going to have to crack and get out there. Eventually, a smattering of National Class runners emerged, along with Clemente Jr., and John Martin (Double R Racing). The odd thing was that for quite some time Bridger was faster than Martin, as was the Brazilian newcomer. They were all faster than Jonathan Legris (Litespeed F3), the latter managing one very slow lap before he limped into the pits with gearbox problems, never to re-emerge.
Needless to say Martin claimed provisional pole a lap later, but as there were still only six cars circulating it was unlikely he would stay there. Bridger was now 2nd, with Clemente Jr. 3rd then it was Craig Reiff (Nexa Racing), Kristjan Einar (Carlin Motorsport) and Wilson, with no one else having done a lap. It was something of a relief when Hywel Lloyd (C F Racing) joined and Ricardo Teixeira (Ultimate Motorsport) finally decided to join in. However, there was still no sign of any of the front runners until Sam Abay (Carlin Motorsport) ventured out after his excitement at seeing (and being allowed to sit in) a replica of the car from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang prior to the session starting. Sometimes you get reminded that most of the drivers are just big kids at heart!
Anyway, with 20 minutes left on the clock minds were finally concentrated and Michael Devaney (Ultimate Motorsport) joined the 14 runners who finally staggered out. He didn't stay out for long either, completing a mere handful of laps before he too retreated to the pits. All of this meant that Martin was still leading from Clemente Jr. while Bridger was 3rd overall. However, things were about to change. Abay started it, with a lap that took him to 5th, only to be nudged down a place when Philip Major (Fortec Motorsport) went 4th. Teixeira was next to improve, towing round behind Jackson, the two of them ending up in a somewhat unlikely - and temporary - 5th and 6th.
A further shake-up came when Atte Mustonen (Double R Racing) shot up to 2nd, with Abay slotting in just behind him. All of this meant that Bridger was being edged back down the overall order, though he still led the National Class by a very long way. Even so, we'd only reached the halfway point and it was clearly not over - not by a long way. That became evident when Henry Arundel (Double R Racing) went 2nd, to give Double R temporary control of the front row. Just for good measure Mustonen edged his way in between them, which must have made the team think the good times were back - however, it wasn't to be. Abay shouldered his way in, and then it was an all-Australian front row, with Martin still on pole, though not by much. To compound the weirdness, Jackson and Teixeira were still 5th and 6th as well so things weren't exactly normal.
It was now that things got really serious though. Hartley and Ericsson both started their hunt for pole, and both began a series of flying laps, while Turvey, possibly celebrating being awarded the first ever Cambridge blue for motorsport, put in a flyer to go 2nd. He was rapidly displaced by Nick Tandy (John Tandy Racing), but promptly responded by snatching pole. Martin's tenure at the top was over. He now had Mustonen and Hartley snapping at his heels in 3rd and 4th, and just for good measure Jaime Alguersuari (Carlin Motorsport) was also starting to show, and was now 6th.
Just when it looked as if Turvey had done enough, Ericsson came back at him and snatched the lead, albeit only for a matter of seconds. Turvey came back round to go even faster, only to lose out to Hartley. Turvey wasn't done yet though. A very neat 1:15.000 was enough to settle the matter in his favour, and Hartley couldn't quite edge him out.
A lap later and Martin was faster than Mustonen again, while Max Chilton (Hitech Racing) was now 6th despite being another who was late to the party. Meanwhile, the man who is one point off Alguersuari in the Championship chase, Sergio Perez (T-Sport), was 8th. However, Alguersuari was now speeding up and set, a time that would put him 5th on the grid.
At this point, Bridger was still leading the National Class but he was now back in 18th, and didn't have much of a cushion, a fact that became obvious when Wilson snatched it from him, managing to put two of the International Class runners between him and his team-mate and rival. The real interest was at the front now though, with Martin pitting while Perez improved to 6th, pushing Mustonen back down and putting himself alongside Alguersuari on the grid. While Devaney finally re-emerged from the pits with enough time for a couple of laps that at least moved him up to 20th, Einar was shown the black and while driving standards flag for repeatedly running wide at Copse. And that was pretty much the end of the action. Most people had pitted, and the session didn't so much end as peter out, much as it had begun.
Turvey was again on pole, from Hartley, Ericsson, Martin, Alguersuari, Perez, Mustonen, Chilton, Tandy and Abay. Major ended up 11th, from Arundel, Walter Grubmuller (Hitech Motorsport), Oliver Oakes (Eurotek), Jackson, Teixeira, National class pole man Wilson, Clemente Jr., Bridger and Devaney. Lloyd was 21st, ahead of a seemingly off the pace Steven Guerrero (T-Sport), Salman Al Khalifa (T-Sport), Reiff who for once wasn't last, Einar and Legris who hadn't actually set a qualifying time.
Weather: Warm, sunny.