Alguersuari steals championship lead with second podium
TEAM NEWS: Carlin Red Bull driver Jaime Alguersuari snatched the lead in the British F3 International Series today, following a second podium at the Snetterton circuit. The F3 rookie completed a strong weekend to take third place in round 10 of the season, ahead of team mate Oliver Turvey in fifth place. Sam Abay endured a difficult afternoon having been forced to pit early on for repairs, while Kristjan Einar came home fifth in the National Class. Brendon Hartley and Andy Meyrick both failed to finish.
Having put in an impressive performance in Saturday’s wet qualifying session, it was Brendon Hartley on pole for round 10. The F3 rookie made a good start away from the line and managed to pull away from Michael Devaney in second. Behind him, Alguersuari had made up one position to slot into fifth place, while Turvey was seventh in the Racing Steps Foundation car. Sam Abay meanwhile was forced to pit for repairs having been tagged at the start and rejoined the race at the back of the field.
Lap five saw a change in the order, as Hartley made an uncharacteristic mistake to spin off track while in the lead. The F3 rookie was unable to rejoin, elevating Alguersuari to fourth and Turvey to sixth. With a podium in his sights, Alguersuari was closing up on third placed man Atte Mustonen, and made the move on lap 13 to take the final podium position. Now in free air, the young Spaniard was on a charge and also set the fastest lap of the race. Oliver Turvey was also on the pace, passing Mustonen for fifth place on lap 21. Positions remained unchanged for the remainder of the race, leaving Alguersuari to take his fourth consecutive podium finish and take the championship lead from Sergio Perez.
Speaking about his second podium finish of the weekend, Alguersuari said, “I caught Mustonen quite easily, but even so it was very difficult to get past him. It’s really not easy to overtake at Snetterton, but I managed to get past and then I had some free space, which allowed me to set the fastest lap and catch Hohenthal. Again I felt I had the pace to win, but it’s just not possible from sixth on the grid here. I’m really pleased to have taken two podiums this weekend, it’s a great result for me and the team, and gives me more confidence ahead of the next round at Thruxton. I’m looking forward to the next race already, I’m working really well with the team and my engineer and I know that we will be among the fastest if we get another dry race.”
Team boss Trevor Carlin added, “It was a good weekend for the Red Bull drivers, who took two podium finishes and a pole position between them, although it was unfortunate that Brendon was unable to convert that into a race win. Jaime really did a great job today. He worked very hard and kept pushing to take another podium finish. Not only did he race well, but he was clearly the quickest driver out there, and I think he’s looking like a strong contender for race wins for the rest of the season. Oliver had another solid outing to take another top five finish. I think we’ve confirmed this weekend that we’ve got a quick car, but we’ll be pushing for further improvements before Thruxton.”