James Calado put his disappointing seasonal start behind him today on the new Silverstone Arena Grand Prix circuit, setting a blistering pace in qualifying for the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series.
The Volkswagen-powered Carlin man ended qualifying a tenth of a second ahead of his nearest rival to bag pole position for tomorrow afternoon's sixth round. To complete his delight, Calado also secured the pole for this afternoon's round four.
“It all came together perfectly,” said the Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver. “I was quite happy with my time on my first set of tyres, but we had a bit of understeer and I asked the team to make some big changes. Then on my second set of tyres the car was absolutely transformed, completely perfect.”
Calado's result was a much welcomed complete reversal of his qualifying at Oulton Park last month, where mechanical problems left him languishing towards the back of the grid.
Today it was the turn of his Carlin team-mate and championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne to suffer problems; the French driver was quickest on his first set of tyres but failed to make the most of his second set and wound up eighth fastest overall.
It was Fortec's Oli Webb who ran Calado closest, with an excellent showing from Northampton resident Will Buller to claim third fastest for Hitech Racing. Raikkonen Robertson's quickest driver was, for the first time this season, Brazilian Felipe Nasr; he pipped team-mate Daisuke Nakajima to fourth spot overall by three-hundredths.
Hitech's Gabriel Dias completed the top six, the Brazilian disappointed not to be able to replicate his strong testing pace of yesterday.
T-Sport driver Menasheh Idafar was quickest again in the National class, taking nearly two seconds from his team-mate James Cole, whose efforts were hampered by a broken gear stick. Mexico's Esteban Gutierrez was quickest of the three invitational class runners from the ART Grand Prix team; he was 13th overall.