Qual: Piquet and Austin star

Championship leader Nelsinho Piquet sealed another pair of pole positions at Silverstone today, but the star of the afternoon was Formula 3 returnee Rob Austin. After taking over one of the vacant Menu Motorsport Dallara-Opels, Austin qualified eighth and then third for the two races on the Grand Prix layout.

Qual: Piquet and Austin star

The Menu team is now almost certain to race after the strong qualifying - the underfunded team has always maintained that it would only race if practice results were promising.

"This car is good enough for pole position," said Austin. "I didn't time either of my laps perfectly because I am still learning these tyres, which are different from last year. In the second session I could have been quickest."

But Piquet outpaced both Austin and his championship rivals in both sessions, even though the track got a lot slower in the afternoon. Nelson scored a double win last timme out at Oulton Park and is now threatening to demoralise his opposition in a year that until recently had looked wide open.

The men chasing Piquet in the points, Adam Carroll and James Rossiter, each got a second spot on the grid. Carroll got a third too, but Rossiter will start race two fifth after tyre difficulties in the second session.

Carlin's unhappy spell continues after a disastrous Marlboro Masters last weekend. The most the team had to celebrate today was a sixth position for race two, set by Portuguese driver Alvaro Parente. The looks set for a hard day when the races go ahead on Sunday.






Nelson Angelo Piquet (Dallara-Mugen) 1m42.561s
James Rossiter (Dallara-Opel) +0.229s
Adam Carroll (Dallara-Mugen) +0.241s
Will Power (Dallara-Mugen) +0.309s
Danny Watts (Lola-Dome-Mugen) +0.701s
Alvaro Parente (Dallara-Mugen) +0.897s



Nelson Angelo Piquet (Dallara-Mugen) 1m43.185s
Adam Carroll (Dallara-Mugen) +0.108s
Rob Austin (Dallara-Opel) +0.208s
Danny Watts (Lola-Dome-Mugen) 0.261s
James Rossiter (Dallara-Opel) +0.298s
Will Power (Dallara-Mugen) +0.426s

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