Eastern express Sato goes West

Castle Combe may be the furthest West of any circuit in England, but it was a driver from the Far East who took pole position for the first of Sunday's two British Formula 3 Championship races. Takuma Sato took his Carlin Motorsport Dallara-Mugen Honda around a massive 0.250 seconds quicker than the opposition

Eastern express Sato goes West

In second qualifying, it was the Japanese driver's Carlin team-mate Anthony Davidson who took the pole spot on a day on which Buzz Buzaglo's lap record took a hammering as F3 cars returned to Wiltshire for the first time in 28 years.

Sato was mighty in the first session, needing just a few laps to do his time before parking his car well before the finish. His performance was aided by the two F3 classes being split in a one-off experiment, on a circuit on which the lap time is only 59 seconds.

"It was because I could get a clear lap," he said. "I got stuck behind a car on my first attacking lap. On my second the tyres were still fresh - I had just a little understeer, which is normal when the tyres are just scrubbed."

In the second session, Sato was on another flier when he hit a marker board at the Bobbies chicane, which got wedged in the front suspension and cracked the right front wing. That gave him a huge understeering moment into the final corner - Camp - on a lap that still netted him fourth on the grid. He plugged on for another couple of laps before calling it a day.

That assured Davidson, who took second to Sato earlier on, of a front-row double.

"It didn't really feel that different," said the Englishman of his pole position lap. "That's the hard thing about this place - it's difficult to know when you've done a good time. It's a scrappy feeling around this place, but that's what makes it all fun."

Jamie Spence, who languished 11th in the first session, took a great second for Duma Racing in the second. He actually held pole and was trying to improve when he understeered wide in a lurid moment at Camp and narrowly missed the tyre wall before spinning back across the track. Adding further to Duma's joy were a pair of third row places for new recruit Ryan Dalziel, making his first appearance with the team since his defection from RC Motorsport.

"It's a mega plus, big time," said the previously solo Spence. "We've got more personnel and morale is much better now. It brings the whole profile of the team up."

Third places were taken by Andre Lotterer in first qualifying and Derek Hayes in the second, Hayes improving later on after feeling that he had failed to make the most of his tyres during their peak of performance in the first session.

Pole positions for the Scholarship Class races were taken by Fred Goddard Racing twins Robert Doornbos and Robbie Kerr.


1 Takuma Sato (Carlin Motorsport Dallara-Mugen) 59.587s
2 Anthony Davidson (Carlin Motorsport Dallara-Mugen) 59.837s
3 Andre Lotterer (Jaguar Racing Dallara-Mugen) 59.885s
4 James Courtney (Jaguar Racing Dallara-Mugen) 59.964s
5 Ryan Dalziel (Duma Racing Dallara-Mugen) 59.998s
6 Derek Hayes (Manor Motorsport Dallara-Mugen) 1:00.018s
7 Bruce Jouanny (Promatecme Dallara-Mugen) 1:00.122s
8 Atsushi Katsumata (Promatecme Dallara-Mugen) 1:00.154s
9 Gianmaria Bruni (Fortec Dallara-Renault) 1:00.155s
10 Mark Taylor (Manor Motorsport Dallara-Mugen) 1:00.170s
Robert Doornbos (Fred Goddard Racing Dallara-Renault)


1 Davidson 59.708s
2 Jamie Spence (Duma Racing Dallara-Mugen) 59.818s
3 Hayes 59.849s
4 Sato 59.924s
5 Courtney 59.951s
6 Dalziel 59.966s
7 Lotterer 59.986s
8 Taylor 1:00.050s
9 Matt Davies (Team Avanti Dallara-Opel) 1:00.145s
10 Jouanny 1:00.347s
Robbie Kerr (Fred Goddard Racing Dallara-Renault)

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