Weather: Cold, damp, but drying rapidly.
At the Nurburgring this afternoon Jordan King (Carlin) outfoxed William Buller (Fortec Motorsport) to claim pole position for Rounds 10 and 12 in this final meeting of the 2013 British F3 International Series, the Englishman being the only driver to record a time in the 1:49s in his efforts to prevent Buller getting back ahead in the final stages of the championship, which King currently leads by three points. Third on the grid for both races goes to Antonio Giovinazzi (Double R Racing) despite the best efforts of Nicholas Latifi (Carlin).
After a spate of deeply annoying timetable changes, and then a delay while the circuit snatch vehicles collected a number of errant Lamborghinis from the gravel, the session finally got underway on a track that was still slightly slippery from overnight fog, but which soon dried out and allowed the drivers to start pushing hard from the minute they started their first flying laps.
Certainly no one was hanging about when the lights went green, but even so it was well over two and a half minutes before anyone could start a timed lap, which meant there was no time to lose. Certainly Buller didn’t think there was and he was fastest by over two seconds at the end of the first timed lap. However, there was still a long way to go yet, as was proved when King went faster a lap later, edging ahead of the Northern Irish driver. A lap later and Buller was back on top again, but King was still pushing hard and was clearly not done yet.
Meanwhile, despite a number of visits to the Clerk of the Course to explain themselves in the morning session, drivers were still failing to respect the track limits to the satisfaction of the observers. It was no great surprise when the first warnings flashed up on the screen, in this instance for Chris Vlok (Team West-Tec), Tatiana Calderon (Double R Racing), and Richard “Spike” Goddard (ThreeBond with T-Sport). It took very little time before Goddard got his second warning, followed by being penalised a time for his offence.
Elsewhere on the track the pit stop wave had started, with Latifi coming in first, and then Buller, leaving King to continue his drive for pole. At the halfway mark the order was now Buller from King, Giovinazzi, Jann Mardenborough (Carlin), Felipe Lopes Guimaraes (Fortec Motorsport), Latifi, Goddard, Calderon, Sean Gelael (Double R Racing), Alfonso Celis (Fortec Motorsport), National Class pole position man (and de facto National Class champion now with Ed Jones electing not to race here) Sun Zheng (CF Racing), Vlok and William Barbosa (Team West-Tec).
With eight minutes left on the clock, the order seemed to have stagnated, and thus it was a welcome relief when Calderon went 7th, displacing Goddard. A lap later and her team-mate Gelael had also moved ahead of the Australian, dropping him to 9th. Meanwhile, an improvement from Giovinazzi saw the Italian up in 3rd. He didn’t stay there long. Latifi’s response was to go faster and he was quickly ahead of the bright yellow car.
King was able to dig even deeper, and a flying lap saw him edge out Buller for pole, while Giovinazzi was also fighting back and was now back into 3rd once more. There were four minutes left of the session and now it was very much a question of whether or not King could hold onto his advantage all the way to the flag.
As it turned out, yes, he could. However, in the intervening four minutes quite a few other things were going on. Mardenborough had been handed a warning over track limits, and Goddard had got back ahead first of Gelael, and then of Calderon, which put him 7th again. Several drivers then decided to pit and end the session early, which left King pretty much in complete control of the pole position slot. He could be happy with his afternoon’s work.
Behind King for Round 12 will be Buller, from Giovinazzi, Latifi, Mardenborough, Guimaraes, Goddard, Calderon, Gelael and Celis. Zheng starts 11th from Vlok and Barbosa. The order for Round 10 is exactly the same apart from 4th and 5th where Mardenborough is ahead of Latifi.