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Norris storms to pole position at Rockingham

Saturday, April 30 2016

Lando Norris led a Carlin one-two in qualifying at Rockingham as he blitzed the Northamptonshire circuit to take race one pole position by 0.409s from his team-mate Ricky Collard. Double R Racing’s Matheus Leist was third quickest with Douglas Motorsport’s Thomas Randle fourth and Finnish driver Aleksanteri Huovinen completing the top-five.

Bright sunshine welcomed the teams on Saturday morning with mild conditions making a change from Friday practice’s colder weather. The 20-minute qualifying session got underway with the majority of the field opting to take to the track immediately, although some teams, including Douglas Motorsport, elected to hold their drivers back in order to find clear track space.

After a handful of laps, times began to tumble and the first man to drop into the 1m13s bracket was one of Friday’s pace-setters, Brazilian Matheus Leist. His 1m13.858s saw him top the timing screens, as Lando Norris went second quickest. However, the 16-year-old would soon go quickest as he lapped the International Super Sportscar layout at Rockingham in 1m13.246s. Australian Thomas Randle went second fastest but still 0.587s adrift of Norris, before being knocked down the order by Huovinen. He fought back on his next lap to snatch back second just 0.203s slower than Norris, with his team-mate Enaam Ahmed going fourth fastest, before the red flags flew as the Chris Dittmann Racing car of Krishnaraaj Mahadik came to grief at the exit of Pif Paf.

Mahadik’s car was quickly retrieved and the session restarted with 10 minutes remaining on the clock. After an initial few minutes with drivers warming up their Pirelli tyres, improvements soon came thick and fast with Double R Racing’s Matheus Leist going quickest overall with a 1m13.098s, laying down the gauntlet to Norris and those behind. The 2015 MSA Formula champion responded in style, on his next lap clocking a 1m12.844s to jump back to the top of the timing screens, with his team-mate Ricky Collard moving into second, at that stage 0.349s slower than Norris.

Norris continued to find more speed, initially lowering the benchmark to a 1m12.680s and then to a 1m12.577s with a stunning lap on his penultimate tour. Collard himself found more time but his best lap, a 1m12.986s, was still 0.409s slower than his Carlin stable-mate and he had to be content with second. Leist will start on the second row in third with Thomas Randle alongside in fourth, who was just 0.005s than the Brazilian. Behind Huovinen in fifth came Ameya Vaidyanathan in sixth, Enaam Ahmed in seventh and HHC Motorsport’s Ben Hingeley in eighth. The top-10 was completed by Fortec Motorsports Tarun Reddy and Sean Walkinshaw Racing’s Jan Jonck. It was a disappointing session for Lanan Racing's Toby Sowery, who will take the start in 13th position.

Race one of the weekend at Rockingham gets underway at 15:05, with live timing and updates available on the official British Formula 3 website.

BRDC British Formula 3 – Rockingham – Qualifying Top-10

1. Lando Norris, Carlin, 1m12.577s
2. Ricky Collard, Carlin, +0.409s
3. Matheus Leist, Double R Racing, +0.479s
4. Thomas Randle, Douglas Motorsport, +0.484s
5. Aleksanteri Huovinen, Double R Racing, +0.779s
6. Ameya Vaidyanthan, Carlin, +0.802s
7. Enaam Ahmed, Douglas Motorsport, +0.893s
8. Ben Hingeley, HHC Motorsport, +1.044s
9. Tarun Reddy, Fortec Motorsports, +1.051s
10. Jan Jonck, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +1.159s
11. Quinlan Lall, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1.166s
12. Thomas Maxwell, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +1.209s
13. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, +1.308s
14. Eugene Denyssen, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +1.310s
15. Al Faisal Al Zubair, Fortec Motorsports, +1.447s
16. Akhil Rabindra, Lanan Racing, +1.642s
17. Jeremy Wahome, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1.732s
18. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, +1.744s
19. Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1.784s
EXC. Enzo Bortoleto, Double R Racing, All times disallowed