Carlin dominate Thruxton qualifying
Reigning British F3 champions Carlin dominated qualifying at the Thruxton circuit in Hampshire today, qualifying 1-2-3 thanks to the efforts of Jean-Eric Vergne, James Calado and Adriano Buzaid. With the drivers’ second quickest times setting the grid for race one later today, Vergne and Calado will once again line-up first and second, with Rupert Svendsen-Cook taking third place making it a second 1-2-3 start for the Carlin team.
The session got off to a slow start for the Carlin drivers, who made small set-up changes and various pre-race preparations in the opening minutes. With ten minutes of the session gone none of the Carlin drivers had set a flying lap, with the exception of Jazeman Jaafar who was fourth quickest.
As the session really got underway, Jaafar took provisional pole from Felipe Nasr, but that time was quickly bettered by team mate Rupert Svendsen-Cook. Calado’s first flying lap put him second to Svendsen-Cook before Vergne snatched pole and when Foresti put his car fourth it was a provisional 1-2-3-4 while Buzaid was eighth and Jaafar 11th.
With 11 minutes left on the clock, track action was halted by a red flag as marshals recovered the car of Carlos Huertas at the chicane. As the session got underway again, it was Calado who still held provisional pole. Championship leader Vergne snatched pole in the final minutes however, ironically by getting a tow from team mate Calado and then did the same again to take pole for both race 1 and race 3. Buzaid put in a consistent performance to set the third fastest time overall, Svendsen-Cook qualified fifth while Foresti was impressive on his Thruxton debut in sixth with Jaafar 11th. With the drivers’ second quickest times setting the grid for the first race of the weekend later today, the Carlin team will see all six cars in the top seven.
Vergne will line up on pole, ahead of Calado and Svendsen-Cook making it another 1-2-3 start for the team. Buzaid will start race 1 from fifth, ahead of team mate Foresti who will line up sixth, just ahead of Jaafar in seventh.
Speaking about his qualifying session, pole sitter Vergne said “I am really happy to have two poles here, on my first visit to Thruxton. In the first half of the session James [Calado] was quickest and was three tenths quicker than me. I knew that if I wanted to get pole I had to get into someone’s slip stream, so I just waited. Then I followed James and got a good tow and again on the next lap to get two pole positions.
The race will be difficult as James knows the circuit better than me, but we’re starting in the best possible place.”
Race 1 will take place at 14.30 later today.