TEAM NEWS: Hitech Racing’s Max Chilton will start tomorrow’s round seven of the British Formula 3 International Series from his second successive pole position. His team-mate, Austrian Walter Grubmüller, also set a quick pace early in the opening session and will line up sixth for the first of two races on Monday.
“The first session was awesome, said Chilton. “I got lots of clean air and got past Walter coming out of the pits so I had no spray, which helped a lot. When you follow people it literally knocks half a second to a second off the lap time so it was good to have clean air. Then it was so wet you had to just keep it on the track and not get wheelspin and I got pole, which was fantastic.
“The second session wasn’t so good in terms of results, but I’ve just checked the data and found out that I was as good. I lost nine tenths of a second in the last corner so I would have been on pole which is a bit annoying. The conditions though were a lot trickier in the second session as there were loads of little rivers running across the track. I hope it stays wet for the races tomorrow though.”
The second qualifying this afternoon ended prematurely for 19 year-old Grubmüller, who ended his session in the gravel at Tarzan Corner. Chilton repeated his superb form of the opening session to post the fourth quickest time.
Seventeen year-old Max excelled in the wet conditions at the Northamptonshire track, repeating the speed that netted him his first pole position last time out in Monza. For 19 year-old Grubmüller, his sixth quickest time underlines the potential that he showed in the opening round at Oulton Park.
“I’m happy with that, we have proved now that we have the pace in the wet which looks good with the forecast being for more rain for the races, said Walter. “The second session was considerably worse with the rain running across the track and causing little rivers which upset the car a lot.
“I had no chance to avoid going off at Tarzan in the second session, it was just so wet and both myself and Sam (Abay) got caught out in the same place. I’m feeling confident ahead of tomorrows races though, the first one particularly as I start from the third row. But even the second race should be a good one especially if it’s wet. Hopefully I can have the kind of drive through the field that I had in Monza!”
The 30-minute opening session, held in pouring rain, was twice red-flagged to retrieve the cars of Hywel Lloyd, after just three minutes and then Alistair Jackson with ten minutes remaining. Over the course of the half-hour session, the track conditions deteriorated but both Max and Walter were able to improve in the closing stages of the session.
The second session, again held in torrential rain, was red flagged after seven minutes when three cars left the track in the appalling conditions. Walter joined Sam Abay and Salman Al Khalifa in the gravel causing the session to be stopped.
As his car was unable to be restarted manually, Walter was forced to sit out the remainder of the session and watch as his first flying lap time was pushed down the order where he wound up 17th.
“It was another superb performance by both drivers,” said Team Principal David Hayle. “That is now effectively Max’s third successive pole position, after setting the quickest International class time in first qualifying in Monza. He lost time in the final corner on his quickest lap in the second session which cost him a potential pole position for race two.
“Walter too drove really well in the first session; he kept his head and really excelled in the atrocious conditions, running third quickest for a while before dropping to sixth. In the second session, unfortunately he joined several other drivers in being caught out and went off the track, unable to restart the car.
“But he drove superbly at Monza from a similar position so we’re not feeling too despondent about that start position as tomorrow anything can happen.”