Season 2003 Results and News
Race No. 8, Qualifying Round 15
Date: 12 August 2005
Track: Silverstone/GBR (3,618 km)
British F3 International Series, Round 15, Silverstone, August 12th/14th 2005
© Lynne Waite and Stella-Maria Thomas

Cool, cloudy, dampish.

Michael Herck (Junior Racing Team) is back for another run in the Invitation Class, while HBR are still here with us after their initial appearance at Monza a month ago, but this time just with Alejandro Nunez. Otherwise, apart from the fact that Stephen Jelley's blue and black car is now sporting a shiny gold air-box for some reason.

Qualifying Report:
With the meeting running slightly late, the drivers took to the track around 7 minutes late, on a cold, slightly damp August morning. Tim Bridgman (Hitech Motorsport), who claimed to have learned some lessons from his indiscretions at Monza, was first out, while Mike Conway (Fortec Motorsport) was last out by quite a long way. Of course, because Bridgman was first out, he was also the first to the top of the times, just ahead of Steven Kane (Promatecme F3) and series leader Alvaro Parente (Carlin Motorsport). Meanwhile, Nick Jones was failing to register any times, apparently because the transponder on his Team SWR car wasn't working (though it is just possible that he really is that slow). He wasn't the only one whose times were not showing up properly, as there seemed to be a general tendency for the bottom half of the timing screen to register nothing at all, at least in terms of lap times. It was showing the first sector times but nothing else, which wasn't exactly helpful.
A lap later, Bridgman was still ahead of the pack, only this time around it was from the top two in the National Class, Ben Clucas (Fluid Motorsport) and Salvador Duran (P1 Motorsport). The order began to change when Bruno Senna (Double R Racing) put in his bid for pole, though he didn't get to stay there for long. He was soon overtaken by Parente, who was keen to repeat his dominance of Monza, and who was also being hotly pursued by Kane. Dirani supplanted the Northern Irishman at the first possible opportunity, but was edged back out by Charlie Kimball (Carlin Motorsport). It was beginning to look like yet another Carlin lockout was developing, but not if Marko Asmer (Hitech Racing) had anything to do with it. The Estonian was carrying on from his form in testing on Tuesday with a fine turn of speed, seemingly back on form at last. Meanwhile, Clucas had lost his grip on the class pole, and had been forced to give ground to Duran.
Meanwhile, Conway was on the move and had wrestled his way up to 4th. He seemed to be after playing with Dirani again; perhaps he'd enjoyed himself at Monza, where the two of them seemed to have been joined together with super-glue. Whatever the case, they were busy scrapping for 5th place, along with Kane and Senna. Jelley, on the other hand, was floundering at the back of the order, way down in 25th. There was something going badly wrong at Menu again, though judging by the amount of time he spent in the pits, this time it looked to be mechanical rather than psychological. Asmer was still looking good, and was now on pole from Parente by a very small margin, a mere 0.059 seconds.
A lap or two later that was reversed, when Parente took pole back, by 0.059 seconds… It was a bit odd really. And that was the end of the fight for pole, with over half the session still remaining. Parente soon came back to the pits and sat out the rest of the half hour, and he wasn't the only one choosing to remain in the pit lane rather than wasting their tyres in pursuit of improvements that had simply stopped coming. Duran was leading the National class by a couple of seconds from Jonathan Kennard (Alan Docking Racing), so he too quit wasting time and rubber, settling in on the pit wall to watch the timing screens. He was joined shortly afterwards by Dirani, and for another 10 minutes or so absolutely nothing was changing. However, just because no one was improving didn't mean that they weren't trying. Bridgman had slipped down the order and was trying all sorts to get ahead; driving on the grass, the kerbs, the rumble strip. Whatever it was he did learn from Monza, it wasn't that driving too aggressively in an F3 car does no good. It duly did him no good when he finally pushed that bit too hard going into Copse and his Dallara immediately swapped ends and smashed into the barriers. The car was more than a little second-hand looking, and the fact that Josh Fisher also fell off at that point left the officials with no choice but to red flag the session with five minutes to go.
At this point (as it had been for some time) the order was Parente, from Asmer, Kimball, Conway, Dirani, Kane, Daniel Clarke (Double R Racing), Senna, James Walker (Fortec Motorsport) and Christian Bakkerud (Carlin Motorsport), the latter suffering from a misfire all through the session. 11th was Ryan Lewis (T-Sport), Bridgman, National Class pole sitter Duran, Invitation Class pole man Herck, Kennard, Karl Reindler (Alan Docking Racing), Ronayne O'Mahony (Fortec Motorsport), Alejandro Nunez (HBR Motorsport), Clucas and Charlie Hollings (Promatecme F3) who was struggling to get on terms with the National Class leader and couldn't quite figure out why. The remainder of the line up consisted of Barton Mawer (T-Sport), Jelley, Juho Annala (Alan Docking Racing), Keiko Ihara (Carlin Motorsport), Fisher, Ricardo Teixeira (Carlin Motorsport), Cheong Lou Meng (Edenbridge Racing) and the transponder-less Jones.
Eventually the wreckage was cleared up and the session restarted with five minutes left. Most people didn't bother going out, though Jelley made the effort. Considering how far down the order he was, he had no real choice. A handful of the other National Class runners also went out, mostly those whose times hadn't shown up. Perhaps they were afraid to take a chance, just in case things didn't work out and they turned out not to have registered a time. It was a complete waste of effort on everyone's part as it turned out, Jelley being the only driver to actually post a faster time. It didn't really help him much, though he did gain three places. It lifted him into the top twenty, though really he should be so much further forward.
It wasn't exactly an exciting session, frankly, though it was typical of Silverstone. If the race turns out to be as unenthralling as qualifying there'll be a desperate need of stimulants to keep the spectators awake. Maybe it's just that we had way too much excitement in Italy and the motorsport gods don't want us to get used to it…



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