DRIVER NEWS: Salman Al-Khalifa ready for British F3 return
Salman Al Khalifa talks about his new team and new sponsor ahead of the weekend at Brands Hatch
DRIVER NEWS: Bahraini racing driver Salman Al Khalifa returns to the British Formula 3 International Series this weekend at Brands Hatch, racing with a new team and with the backing of a brand new sponsor.
Having contested the opening eight races of the season, the 2005 Formula BMW Asia champion missed the last round of the championship at Monza, but will be back on the grid for rounds 11 and 12 and looking to climb back up the National Class standings.
Al Khalifa, who became the first Bahraini to stand on the podium in the British F3 championship after finishing third in the opening round at Oulton Park in April, has made the switch to defending National Class champions T-Sport for the remainder of the season and has also unveiled a new ‘gold sponsor’ in the shape of Unicorn Investment Bank. In a week of positive change Salman also boasts a new website, www.salman-alkhalifa.com, designed by Cubes Communications.
Preparations for the weekend began on Tuesday as Salman tested with T-Sport for the first time at Pembrey, leaving him in positive mood after a successful day at the Welsh circuit.
Salman said: “It was a very good day and I was delighted to meet with the guys from T-Sport. They gave me a very warm welcome and their hospitality has made me feel part of the team very quickly.”
Early morning rain gave Al Khalifa the chance to undergo a useful test programme in wet conditions before working on the car’s dry set-up in the afternoon.
“I am satisfied with the performance of the car,” Salman commented. “I can feel the improvement in many aspects already even though it was my first test with T-Sport and the weather conditions were not perfect. We still have to make some changes to the set up before we start the official free practice session on Friday. However, I feel we are on the right track and moving according to the time schedule we have put in place.”
On Wednesday Salman travelled to Brands Hatch to meet his new team-mates, last season’s National Class champion Rodolfo Gonzalez and current championship leader Sergio Perez, for the first time. “I’m looking forward to working with Rodolfo and Sergio, who are both great racers. It will be interesting to share data with and learn from them. I’m excited about joining T-Sport. Team Principal Russell Eacott's experience and guidance will be of great value to me at this point in my racing career.
“Brands Hatch is a really nice circuit, very challenging and with lots of elevation changes. It reminds me in some ways of the Nordschleife, but the more challenging a circuit is the more fun it is to drive. A lot of positive things have happened to me over the past few weeks and I’m really looking forward to this weekend and entering a new chapter in my career.”
Salman’s Dallara F304 will carry the logos of his new sponsor, Unicorn Investment Bank this weekend alongside branding from ‘Visit Bahrain’ and that of his new website www.salman-alkhalifa.com.