despite mixed weekend at Croft
Bahraini racing driver Salman Al Khalifa took his second National Class podium of the season at the weekend, as the British Formula 3 International Series visited Croft in North Yorkshire.
Driving for reigning champions T-Sport, Al Khalifa finished second in race 2, and limited his race 1 losses by salvaging a handful of points despite suffering with an engine misfire early on. He now sits third in the championship after four races.
With wet conditions dogging the drivers all weekend, Salman struggled to find a clear lap in qualifying for race 1 and was due to start from fifth when an engine misfire on the formation lap forced him into the pits. After urgent repairs, he started from pit lane but was back one lap later as the problem persisted. Having lost three laps, Al Khalifa decided to go back out to get some wet weather running and ran consistently quicker than most of his fellow National Class runners. He eventually finished eighth in class, scoring some crucial championship points.
Qualifying for race 2 went much better for Al Khalifa, setting the second quickest National Class time. After making a good start, Salman was right on the tail of class leader Andrew Meyrick before a multi-car pile-up ahead brought out the red flags. He made another strong getaway from the re-start and chased Meyrick in the opening stages before the Carlin Motorsport driver began to pull away. Salman, however, drove a faultless race for second in class, finishing just two seconds behind International Class runner Walter Grubmuller and over six seconds clear of third placed Hywel Lloyd.
Al Khalifa reflected on his weekend by saying: “The track changed so much during the weekend because of the inclement weather and it was difficult to perfect our set up. I’m pleased we managed to salvage something from race 1 though and in race 2 we finished well clear of the Hywel Lloyd in third. I felt we have the pace and now it’s just a matter of putting everything together over a full weekend and coming away with two strong results. We’re working very hard to improve and we’ll continue to do so before the next round at Monza.”
T-Sport Team Principal Russell Eacott added: “To be fair to Salman he put in a stellar performance in race 1 once we got the car fixed and out of the pits. He came back on track three laps down, but just behind the overall leaders, and he showed great pace to stay with the top ten for the rest of the race. Along with his performance in race 2, I think that was a much fairer reflection of his race pace. He showed stunning pace in testing at Rockingham recently and that shows exactly what he is capable of.”