The form book got thrown out of the window in qualifying for the final rounds of the 2013 MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain, with James Abbott, Simon Rudd and Juan Rosso taking their first series pole positions at Brands Hatch.
A coating of oil laid down onto the already damp circuit a few minutes into the session produced the unexpected results, with those who set early ‘banker’ laps being rewarded as the drivers were unable to go quicker afterwards.
It was Abbott who emerged fastest, his early time of 1m 47.359s giving him pole for the weekend’s opening race by 1.6 seconds. The Radical Motorsport driver clearly benefitted from running a Mountune powerplant for the first time this season, adding two fifths on the grid for the other two races.
“I’ve always tended to go out and set a quick lap early, and it really worked for me this time,” said Abbott. “I was perhaps a bit lucky that the oil went down when it did, but then again I have gone well in the wet all year.”
Abbott will be joined on the front-row for the opening race by Rudd, the teenager making an immediate impression on his debut weekend in the championship. The Falcon Motorsport racer set the best second fastest time to give him pole for race two, which he added to with second for race three.
Rosso meanwhile has the pole for the final race of the season, the Argentinian joining Rudd in starting in the top three for all three races with third and second for the preceeding encounters.
Scholarship champion Harrison Scott and Friday testing pacesetter Sam Brabham were two drivers caught out with the early oil spill. While Scott recovered from an early pitstop to take fifth for the opening race, Brabham was left down in ninth having spent the early part of the session bedding in his brakes.
Another driver a bit lower than he’d have hoped was Max Marshall. The JTR ace stunned his rivals last time out at Silverstone with a pole position hat-trick on his series return, but this time around Marshall will start at a high of sixth for race three.
Full qualifying results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/toca/2013/134103foz.pdf