Carlin take three out of four pole positions at a soaking Rockingham
TEAM NEWS: Red Bull racer Jaime Alguersuari led the Carlin squad at a rain soaked Rockingham today, qualifying third for round seven of the 2008 British F3 International series and taking pole for round eight. A strong showing from the Hampshire based quad in the first qualifying session saw five Carlin drivers qualify inside the top ten, including National Class racer Andy Meyrick, who took pole position for both National Class races.
The rain that hampered the F3 teams in Italy seemed to have followed the series back to Britain today, as heavy rain made both qualifying sessions a rather treacherous affair.
In a wet and disjointed first qualifying session which saw two red flags, Jaime Alguersuari got the best out of his Carlin Dallara, to set the third fastest time overall. He will be joined on the second row of the grid by a flying Sam Abay, whose time was just 0.011 seconds slower than that of his team mate’s.
Race winners Oliver Turvey and Brendon Hartley had a disappointing qualifying session by their standards, both unable to find a clear lap to set their best time. Turvey will therefore line up ninth for round seven, just ahead of Hartley in tenth.
As the rain continued to fall, conditions worsened for the second qualifying session of the day, with standing water across many parts of the track. Alguersuari set his best time between the first and second red flag periods, which would remain unbeaten for the rest of the session. Racing Steps Foundation driver Oliver Turvey also set his fastest time before the second red flag period, which was enough to secure third place on the grid. Croft race winner Brendon Hartley will be looking to make one of his traditional charges through the field tomorrow, having qualified 11th.
Sam Abay was a victim of the tricky conditions, following Walter Grubmuller off track and bringing the session to a halt. With both drivers deemed to have caused a red flag, Abay was unable to restart the session, and will consequently line up 23rd for race two tomorrow.
Despite not having driven an F3 car around the Rockingham circuit before this weekend, National Class racer Andy Meyrick had few problems getting up to speed, taking the National Class pole and eighth overall for round seven. Meyrick was pushing hard to improve his time in second qualifying and ended his session in the gravel, but not before putting in an impressive lap to put him fifth overall on the grid. Team mate Kristjan Einar, who celebrated his first podium finish last time out at Monza, will line up fourth and fifth in the National Class for tomorrow’s races.
Pole sitter for race two, Jaime Alguersuari said, “It was very difficult out there today. It was incredibly wet and the there was a lot of water on the track, especially in the second session. I managed to get a lap free from traffic and pushed really hard as I knew that would be my only chance. I’m very pleased, I think I drove well and we made a few changes to the car before the second qualifying session which really helped.”
Carlin director Martin Stone was pleased with the team’s performance, adding, “Both qualifying sessions were very disjointed today and all the drivers struggled to put together a clean lap. Getting a lap free from traffic and red flags was the key to getting a quick time and a few of the drivers, especially Oliver and Brendon were a little unlucky with that. The drivers coped well with the conditions however, and Jaime did a great job to take pole position for race two. Andy is obviously pushing hard and continues to dominate the National Class. The weather is due to be wet again tomorrow so we could see some very eventful races.”