TEAM NEWS: Front row start for Carlin at Silverstone
TEAM NEWS: Maro Engel will start race two of the Silverstone round of the British F3 season from second place tomorrow, after a closely fought qualifying battle with championship leader Marko Asmer. Engel missed out on a possible front row start in session one, after an engine sensor failed and reduced straight line speed. The Mercedes back driver had to be satisfied with setting the fifth fastest time.
Sam Bird was the next fastest driver in first qualifying; the BP Ultimate driver will line up seventh for race one tomorrow. Tenth to 13th on the grid will see the remaining Carlin cars of Alberto Valerio, Niall Breen and Mario Moraes.
With his engine problem solved, Engel was determined to show his true pace in this afternoon’s second qualifying session. With 10 minutes of the session gone, Engel took to the track and set a number of competitive lap times. On his fifth flying lap, the 21 year-old German set the best time in sector one, followed by a personal best time in sector two to take second place. Engel bettered this a lap later to set another fastest time in sector one and personal best in sector two to claim provisional pole. With just two minutes remaining, it looked like Engel would take his fourth pole position of the season until Asmer put in a faster lap just before the chequered flag.
Carlin team mate Alberto Valerio meanwhile was out to better his first qualifying performance, and put a lap together to tale seventh on the grid for race two. Bird and Moraes will line up 10th and 11th, while Niall Breen completes the quintet in 13th.
Speaking about his second qualifying attempt, Engel commented, “We had information that there was oil on the circuit in second qualifying, so we stayed in a little longer than usual. Unfortunately on the second lap I got something in my eye, it felt like a piece of grit or something, which was really uncomfortable. I was almost driving with one eye closed! But I had to stay out to get the most from the tyres. I did a fairly good lap which was good enough for P1 at that time. Unfortunately right of the end we got pipped for pole by Asmer.
“It’s a shame what happed in the first session with the lamber sensor breaking, it meant that the engine was turning itself down and we were losing quite a lot of straight line speed. I think we could have been looking at two front row starts if it wasn’t for that. Nevertheless we’re looking good for tomorrow.”
Team boss Trevor Carlin added, “We thought we had pole in the second session, but Marko [Asmer] is obviously very strong here this weekend, so fair play to him. I think the problem Maro had this morning probably held us back a little on the set up. But, we’re starting from the front row in race two, we’ve got everything to win, and he’s [Asmer] got everything to lose.”