F3 International Series, Round 15, Silverstone, Northamptonshire,
August 12th/14th 2005
© Lynne Waite and Stella-Maria Thomas
Before the race started Ricardo Teixeira (Carlin Motorsport)
seemed to have a bit of a problem in the steering area. Certainly
he stopped off in the pitlane and waved desperately at the
mechanics. They didn't seem to think there was much they could
do, and duly sent him back out. Maybe he was just suffering
from back pain. His rib injury was really giving him a hard
time in the race on Saturday, and he found that the vibrations
caused by going slowly behind the Safety Car were enough to
make him scream with pain. However, he wasn't going to sit
the race out, and he duly took up his place on the grid.
He was a long way back, but his teammates weren't. As the
lights went out, Marko Asmer (Hitech Racing) bogged down,
while Alvaro Parente (Carlin Motorsport) and Charlie Kimball
(Carlin Motorsport) had no trouble at all getting off the
line. The two of them wasted no time stamping their authority
on yet another race, the Portuguese pulling away almost immediately,
while Mike Conway (Fortec Motorsport) also got the drop on
Asmer, who managed to lose two places before he even got up
through the gears. It doesn't bode well for this afternoon's
race, which he starts from pole. It does bode very well for
Parente, who will be beside him.
At least today's race weather looked a lot better than yesterday's,
although after the torrential downpour of Saturday afternoon
you could guarantee that you wouldn't want to drop your wheels
onto the grass because it would be horrendously slippery.
You also wouldn't want to get in the gravel traps either if
you could help it. What you also didn't want was to be put
in the wall by your teammate, but that's what happened to
Bruno Senna (Double R Racing). Daniel Clarke made a move to
block Steven Kane (Promatecme F3) at the start of the race,
and when Kane took avoiding action he tangled with Senna,
and the two of them ended up in the pitwall, just by the gate.
Their races lasted about 10 yards each, while Clarke got away
scot-free. Maybe he should stick to surfing
The result of all this was a pair of cars knitted together,
and an instant Safety Car period. It picked the leader up
at the end of his first lap, while the organisers scrambled
a snatch vehicle to rescue the two stranded cars. Behind the
Safety Car, the order was Parente, Kimball, Conway, Asmer
and Clarke. Danilo Dirani (P1 Motorsport) was 6th, from James
Walker (Fortec Racing), Christian Bakkerud (Carlin Motorsport),
Ryan Lewis (T-Sport) and - to the astonishment of many - Tim
Bridgman (Hitech Racing), who was a) still running at the
end of Lap 1 and b) in the points. Next up was Salvador Duran
(P1 Motorsport), in 11th and leading the National Class. The
Mexican might have had a dismal time on Saturday, but today
was looking better already. Jonathan Kennard (Alan Docking
Racing) was next up, from Stephen Jelley (Menu Motorsport),
Ronayne O'Mahony (Fortec Motorsport), Ben Clucas (Fluid Motorsport),
Alejandro Nunez (HBR Motorsport), Michael Herck (Junior Racing
Team), Charlie Hollings (Promatecme F3), Juho Annala (Alan
Docking Racing) and Barton Mawer (T-Sport). The final places
were taken by Keiko Ihara (Carlin Motorsport), Josh Fisher
(Team SWR), Teixeira, Cheong Lou Meng (Edenbridge Racing)
and Nick Jones (Team SWR). Karl Reindler (Alan Docking Racing)
was out of the race, having pitted with clutch failure just
as the Safety Car emerged.
When the race restarted on lap 4, Parente controlled it beautifully,
Kimball hanging on to the white, green and red car. A little
further back Lewis was trying to go round the outside of Bakkerud
as they tore into Copse, but the Dane was having none of it.
Meanwhile, Dirani tried to pass Clarke, while Walker looked
to see if he could catch both of them. It didn't work but
it was worth a try. Of course, all this was playing into Parente's
hands, and he and Kimball seemed to be strolling away from
the rest. The only real effort needed by the Portuguese was
to keep ahead of the American, while all Charlie could do
was hang on and hope for a mistake from Alvaro that never
came. Conway was being pursued by Asmer, but never looked
really likely to catch Kimball, or to break away from the
Estonian, and Clarke was holding up what looked like the rest
of the field for 5th. And that was mostly how it stayed, although
Bakkerud was now on terms with Walker, and found a way round
on lap 5. There was a brief rumour of rain, but it turned
out to be unfounded, and the sun came out almost immediately
it was mentioned, so at least we didn't have that to contend
There was also activity in the National Class. Duran was safe
enough in the lead, because he had Jelley and O'Mahony between
him and any threat, but as that threat was Clucas, who had
got the drop on Kennard, he couldn't be too confident of success.
He wasn't helped by O'Mahony dropping places as the race wore
on. He was helped by the fact that Mawer, the series leader,
was in some trouble and was a lap down after something happened
out of sight of the commentary team and dropped him to last
in class, well behind Cheong and Jones who were having another
of their fierce but slow battles, swapping places a number
of times before the chequered flag. The honours finally went
to Cheong, who seems to have done a great deal of work on
his fitness since Monza.
Things got rather more heated in the National Class once Jelley
found his way past Duran, and Clucas tried to go with him.
It was never really on though and the Mexican's run to the
flag was relatively untroubled; his series standings were
improved when Mawer pitted for a quick check of his rear wheels,
which he thought might be damaged. They weren't and he was
sent back out again to try and score some points. Clucas was
now happy enough in second too, as Kennard had all his attention
taken up by Herck, who was trying to get past the National
Class runner to put distance between himself and Nunez. On
the last lap, Kennard lost the place to the Belgian, though
it made no difference to his position in class.
The only other interest now came from the battle behind Bakkerud,
who was clinging on to 7th place for dear life. He certainly
seemed to be at the head of a 16-wheeler. Probably what saved
him was the fact that the three behind him were as busy squabbling
with each other as they were trying to find a way past the
Carlin car. The order shifted when Lewis was passed by Walker
after Walker tried to find his way past Bakkerud and failed.
As if that wasn't bad enough, Bridgman came past Lewis a lap
later, to record his best finish of the season, increasing
his points score by 150% and claiming 8th place.
At the front, everything was steady, though Parente kept upping
his pace, setting a number of fastest race laps before he
was done. Kimball couldn't quite live with him, despite his
best efforts, but he too seemed secure in his position. By
the time they finished, the 3rd placed man, Conway, was almost
8 seconds back, with Asmer still on his rear wing. It was
dominant performance by Carlin, and you have to wonder whether
anyone will want to drive for any other team next season.
The only faint sign of error was when Parente appeared to
be expecting the chequered flag a lap earlier than it came
out, the Portuguese veering towards the pit-wall as if to
celebrate, before realising his mistake. It was the 5th 1-2
for the pair, and Parente's 8th win of the year from 13 races
(he missed the first two races at Donington, because the budget
wasn't in place), an impressive record by anyone's standards.
Conway was a distant 3rd, from Asmer, while Clark held Dirani
off, and Bakkerud held onto 7th, from Bridgman, Walker and
Lewis. 11th was Jelley, ahead of National Class winner Duran,
Clucas, Herck, Kennard, O'Mahony, Hollings, Nunez, Ihara and
Fisher. Annala was 21st, from Teixeira, Cheong and Jones,
while last man home was Mawer.
The extra points for fastest laps went to Parente, Kennard
Afterwards, Parente couldn't stop smiling at everyone: ""Yesterday
I had used tyres and Charlie had the opposite. This time I
had new ones, because I knew I had to challenge him today.
I pulled away at the first corner, and after that I just kept
on pulling away. There was a strong wind round at Becketts,
but it was the same for everyone I guess."
Kimball, on the other hand, was in a philosophical if whimsical
mood afterwards. "I had a better run today and I did
some good solid laps to try to run him down, but my car was
handling very badly. We will have to make some big changes
for this afternoon. Today the wind contributed partly to the
different conditions and my tyres weren't so good either.
Of course, yesterday was Spa and I've always like Spa better
The Championship Class isn't won yet, but it would take a
brave person to bet against it going to Carlin to match their
2001 and 2003 titles.
Duran was now squarely back in contention in the National
Class, having closed the gap to Mawer with his morning's effort,
though it hadn't been easy: "It was not very straightforward,
it was very difficult
in the first lap, the wind was
blowing very hard on the straight and it was difficult to
keep the car on the track."
Clucas had had no answer to the Mexican, and he knew it, so
he wasn't too disappointed at being 2nd in class. "I
had a lot of pace at the start of the race and managed to
overtake seven or eight other cars, then I lost a lot of grip
and just hoped I could make up ground on Barton so I'm happy
with second. We made up a lot of time and made a lot of changes
after first qualifying and that seemed to improve matters."