DRIVER NEWS: Two fighting drives and the fastest lap of the day kept Leicester driver Stephen Jelley firmly in the hunt for the 2007 British Formula 3 Championship today.
Although it was an unusual weekend, in that he didn't get on the podium, a fourth and a fifth place mean that he is still in the top three of the points table. After a difficult qualifying, he moved forward in both races and so could be satisfied with his day's work.
The biggest let-down was qualifying on Saturday. Having topped several test sessions at the fast Norfolk circuit, he was supremely confident of being on the front row. But the hot temperatures on Saturday caught out several teams, including Jelley's own Raikkonen Robertson Racing squad. A set-up that just wasn't working on the day meant he could only qualify eighth and seventh for the Sunday races.
But race day was a different story, as Stephen was one of the few drivers who were able to record any overtaking moves. In the first race, he passed Rodolfo Gonzalez and team-mate Jonathan Kennard. By the end, he'd moved up to fourth place, setting fastest lap on the way.
An incisive move on Swedish driver Sebastian Hohenthal helped earn Stephen fifth place in race two. That completed yet another solid haul of points for Jelley, who is undoubtedly one of the championship's most consistent and reliable drivers.
"I'm pretty pleased with my results today," said Jelley, whose passing manoeuvres were no mean feat on a day of largely processional racing. "Given where I started, I think I did quite well. I think my pass on Hohenthal is going to look mega on TV – it definitely felt mega in the car!
"My fastest lap in the first race remained unbeaten all day, so that's proof that there was nothing wrong with our race pace. It's just a pity I'd qualified so much lower than usual, because it's so difficult to overtake around this track."
Stephen's next assignment is at an even faster circuit. The series now moves to Monza, which also hosts the Italian Grand Prix each year. Stephen is one of the few competitors with experience of the Milanese circuit, having raced there when British F3 last visited there in 2005. That gives him every reason for optimism going into the races, which take place on June 23/24.