DRIVER NEWS: Al Khalifa's Strong qualifying ruined by race misfortune
DRIVER NEWS: Bahraini racing driver Salman Al Khalifa produced his best qualifying performance of the year at the weekend, but left rounds 15 and 16 of the Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series at Silverstone pointless after misfortune in both races.
Having qualified third in the National Class for both races, the 2005 Formula BMW Asia champion was targeting podium finishes on his first-ever visit to the Northamptonshire circuit, but found his luck was out during Sunday’s race day.
Race one was only seconds old when Salman was taken out in a melee heading into Copse corner. The T-Sport driver was pitched into a spin after being hit up the inside following an overly ambitious move from a fellow competitor. In the resulting chaos Salman’s race was ended in turn one along with that of Michael Meadows and Viktor Jensen.
Race two saw Salman make a better start and hold his third place in the early stages, matching the race pace of the class leaders. Unfortunately, after seven laps, an electrical problem caused his Dallara-Mugen Honda to lose power exiting Woodcote and cruise to a standstill at the end of the pit straight.
Salman said: “When I make a mistake I hold my hands up and accept it, but when you’re put out of the race at the first corner through no fault of your own it’s difficult to take. In race two I made a really good start, probably one of my best ever, so when we had the electrical problem it was like waking up from the sweetest dream ever by falling out of bed! Every driver has days like these and the important thing is that I am where I need to be in terms of pace.”
T-Sport Team Principal Russell Eacott said: “I’m massively disappointed for Salman. He was taken out of race one through no fault of his own and in race two the master switch failed when he was in P3 and running on the pace of Frankie Cheng ahead. Despite that I am really encouraged because he made a big step in qualifying. He has picked up his performance once more since the last round at Spa and I think we can find even more pace from him.”
Highlights of the British F3 International Series can be viewed on Motors TV (www.motorstv.com) on Saturday 25 August at 3pm.