Priaulx on pole

Andy Priaulx provided the surprise of the British Formula 3 Championship season by taking pole position today (Saturday) for tomorrow's final round on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit.

Priaulx on pole

The 27-year-old expectant father from Guernsey made light of the atrociously wet conditions to plant his Promatecme Dallara-Renault at the top of the pile - possibly benefiting from his experience as an ex-British Offshore Powerboat and Hillclimb champion!

With standing water dispersing gradually from the racing line as qualifying wore on, the final couple of laps were always going to be critical. Recent form man Takuma Sato had twice lowered the pole standard by a whole second, but Priaulx pipped him on the penultimate tour. The Japanese then got stuck behind a slower car on his final lap and lost out by a mere 0.062 seconds.

"I always said that if it was wet I'd be right up there," said Priaulx. "Every time I could dig a bit deeper if I wanted to." He then provided a thinly-veiled criticism of his Renault engine, saying: "We [Priaulx and team-mate Matt Davies] always tend to struggle in qualifying. You're only as good as your weakest link, and the chassis and the drivers are OK."

A philosophical Sato said: "Everything was really bad timing. I passed a slower car on my best lap. I'm OK about being on the front row, but at the same time very disappointed."

The second Promatecme driver, Matt Davies, is third on the grid, feeling that traffic cost him the pole position time. Newly-crowned champion Antonio Pizzonia had the same story after qualifying fifth. Between them in fourth is Narain Karthikeyan, whose car was set up for a slowly drying track, only for it to rain again just as the session started. The other regular front-runner, Tomas Scheckter, was ninth after suffering brake problems.

Top 10
Andy Priaulx (Promatecme) 2:00.804
Takuma Sato (Carlin) 2:00.866
Matt Davies (Promatecme) 2:01.583
Narain Karthikeyan (Stewart) 2:01.695
Antonio Pizzonia (Manor) 2:01.810
Westley Barber (Manor) 2:02.564
Andrew Kirkaldy (Avanti) 2:03.078
Marcos Ambrose (Docking) 2:03.120
Tomas Scheckter (Stewart) 2:03.240
Nicolas Kiesa (RC) 2:03.311

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