DRIVER NEWS: Home driver Stephen Jelley scored his third consecutive podium finish in the British Formula 3 Championship at Donington Park today.
The Leicester man put in another fine drive to take second place in the first race on Sunday afternoon, which ensures that he remains in a strong second place in the early stages of this prestigious championship.
Stephen, who races for champion team Raikkonen Robertson Racing (the junior team of Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen), qualified second for the race and had no trouble holding on to that position on raceday. In fact, he came within a whisker of winning the race when he pulled alongside leader Marko Asmer on the last lap.
"I hadn't had a chance to pass him all race long," said Stephen. "Then he got slightly held up behind one of the cars we were lapping and I saw an opportunity. But he's an experienced driver and knew just when to close the door after he saw me coming. He left me with nowhere to go, just as I would have done to him! I'm a bit fed up with finishing second, but it's good to know we're on the pace. Asmer is leading the championship and I'm the only driver getting consistently close to him. I've shown I have the speed to win, and that hopefully means that my first win is just around the corner."
Race two was one to forget for Stephen. He had again ensured a front-row qualifying position in qualifying, but a rain shower on the warmup lap caused most of the other drivers to lose their heads. His start wasn't the best, which left Stephen in the middle of the pack and vulnerable to the mistakes of others. Inevitably, he was caught up in a multi-car accident and had to pit for repairs. Although he finished, he didn't score any points.
But with three top-three finishes out of four races this season under his belt, it wasn't too big a disaster for his championship campaign. With many of his front-running rivals also suffering in the second race, his season's momentum is still running strong after the races on his local track.
Stephen added: "It's been fantastic racing on my home circuit and I'd just like to thank all the people who have come out here and supported me this weekend."
Curiously, the next round of the British Formula 3 Championship takes place in Romania. One of three non-UK rounds on the calendar, the new street race in Bucharest is expected to be a highlight of the season. The races go ahead on May 19 and 20