Challenging qualifying for Hitech

Austrian Walter Grubmüller and Briton Max Chilton were unable to make the most of their tyres on the abrasive Thruxton circuit in qualifying for today’s two British Formula 3 International Series races.

The Hitech Racing pair headed to the Hampshire track in a confident mood after a positive test last week and left disappointed not to be able to repeat the performance that saw them first and sixth. On a track renowned for its abrasive surface, the Buckingham-based reigning championship-winning team elected for a more conservative set-up in an attempt to prevent the problems of poor tyre wear at last year’s race.  However, in the two 30 minute sessions, 19 year-old Grubmüller and 17 year-old Chilton were unable to get the best out of the tyres and were left  down in the midfield.

Despite the lowly grid positions, Max who has twice taken a podium finish, and Walter who has regularly shown a rapid race pace are confident of taking two top ten finishes in the races which take place at 11:45 and 15:40 on Sunday.

“It’s very disappointing to be so far down the grid after being so quick in testing last week, said Walter.  “I’m not too sure why, we simply weren’t quick enough, which after being consistently quick in testing is very frustrating. Hopefully though we can get a good start in both races tomorrow and make up some places.  From where we are it’s possible to get a couple of top ten finishes, so that will be the aim.”

“It seems to be similar to Snetterton in that we were awesome in practice. I know it was over a month ago and it was wet, but usually if you’re quick in the wet you’re normally quick in the dry,” said Max. “I don’t know what’s happened here today. Round Thruxton there are really only two corners; the last corner feels fine it’s just the Complex that’s the problem in that I seem to have a lot of oversteer but apart from that it’s not bad.

“The team has found something in the data where I need to brake later and harder and that cost me some time. Looking ahead to the races tomorrow, I know we’re a long way back but it’s quite easy to overtake here as you can get a good slipstream, so I’ll be looking for some good strong top ten finishes.”

“We went conservative on the set-up because of the tyres,” said Team Principal David Hayle.  “We went way too conservative because after the first session the tyres were like new as though we’d done ten laps of Snetterton rather than ten laps of Thruxton. They still had the moulding lines on them.  So we went the other way to be more on the edge for the second session and found six tenths but that obviously wasn’t enough.”

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