Austrian Walter Grubmüller will start from the third row in today’s opening British Formula 3 International Series race at Donington Park. His British team-mate Max Chilton posted the fourth quickest time but was later stripped of it after as it was adjudged to have been done under a cautionary yellow flag. That and a ten place grid penalty, following a collision last time out, puts him 17th on the grid for race one.
In the most closely fought qualifying session of the year, the top of the time sheets changed throughout the course of the 30 minutes, with Max leading the way from the start. Several times the 17 year-old retook the number one spot but knew that whatever lap time he achieved, he would inevitably drop ten places on the grid following his collision with Sergio Perez in Bucharest last time out.
For Walter another sterling performance following his sixth quickest time in official testing on Thursday netted him the eighth quickest time in the session. However after several drivers were also moved down the order for similar yellow flag infringements, 19 year-old Walter will line-up sixth for the first of two races at the Leicestershire track tomorrow.
The second 30-minute session was held in mixed weather conditions, the 24 runners all venturing out on track on dry weather slick tyres. However ten minutes into the session, a light drizzle descended over the track, forcing the majority of the field to pit for wet weather tyres.
As the track conditions worsened over the course of the remaining laps, the disappointed Hitech Racing pairing were left down in 16th and 18th, with Grubmüller once again the first of the two teenagers.
“The first session was OK except that I didn’t quite get all my sectors together so I would have liked to have been higher,” said Walter. “In the second session we went out on slicks and weren’t quick enough before it started to rain. We switched to wets but by then unfortunately the conditions had just got too bad and we were not able to improve. For the first race I’ll be aiming for a podium finish, it’ll be hard but that has to be my aim.”
“In the second session it was all really down to the tyres and being out on the right rubber at the right time,” said Max. “It was a weird session really and I just couldn’t pull back the time. Tomorrow will be tough in both races starting so low down the grid but as always, I’ll give it everything I’ve got and see if I can make up as many places as possible to try for a top ten finish.”
Today’s two final 30 minute races of 2008 are scheduled to start at 11:10 and 16:05.
Qualifying for Round 211. Brendon Hartley Carlin Motorsport Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA 1:01.3092. Jaime Alguersuari Carlin Motorsport Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA 1:01.3873. Oliver Turvey Carlin Motorsport Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA 1:01.5404. Max Chilton Hitech Racing Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA 1:01.613*5. Nick Tandy JTR Marshall Westland Mygale M-08F3 Mercedes HWA 1:01.6706. Sam Abay Carlin Motorsport Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA 1:01.7228. Walter Grubmüller Hitech Racing Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA 1:01.769*Receives ten place grid penalty
Qualifying for Round 221. Oliver Oakes Eurotek Motorsport Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA 1:09.2492. Jaime Alguersuari Carlin Motorsport Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA 1:09.9313. Sergio Perez T-Sport Dallara F308 Mugen Honda 1:10.0634. Nick Tandy JTR Marshall Westland Mygale M-08F3 Mercedes HWA 1:10.0845. Marcus Ericsson Fortec Motorsport Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA 1:10.1396. Brendon Hartley Carlin Motorsport Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA 1:21216. Walter Grubmüller Hitech Racing Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA 1:11.12018. Max Chilton Hitech Racing Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA 1:11.810