Novalak Takes Inaugural Pole of the Year at Oulton Park

Clement Novalak (FRA) Carlin BRDC British F3
Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Clement Novalak set the precedent for the 2018 BRDC British F3 Championship, taking the first pole position of the year at a damp Oulton Park. The British driver followed in Carlin‘s footsteps from last year, with a time of 1min 30.866.

It was a strong start for testing pace setter Nicolai Kjaergaard, the Dane was determined to not let his momentum slip, but his greatest competition was to come from teammate Novalak. The Brit, fresh off his TRS campaign was out to prove himself during what will be a reduced campaign.

As for the other Carlin drivers, Sun Yue Yang remained under a second from the leader, but the close field ensured that this saw him float towards the back of the top ten. Fairing worse though was Billy Monger, the 18-year-old was over two seconds behind Kjaergaard in the early stages, though with five minutes to go, finally put in a blistering lap to go fifth.

Back at the front, it would be Linus Lundqvist and Krishnaraaj Mahadik who moved into the frame, with the Swede taking the top spot. Lundqvist, Novalak and Kjaergaard swapped places at the top, before a final blast from Novalak put him 0.116 seconds in front.

Lundqvist was forced to settle for second from Kjaergaard and Mahadik who filled up the second row. The result ensures that the first five spaces on the grid were filled by just two teams, with Carlin and Double R Racing laying down the gauntlet.

Monger would be joined on the third row by the Ginetta Junior champion Tom Gamble. The Fortec Motorsports driver had also started the session poorly but had been challenging for pole until he was forced to come into the pits before the chequered flag.

A surprise result for Sasakorn Chaimongkol saw the Hillspeed driver take seventh ahead of the final Carlin representative Sun. Despite his incredible pace on Thursday and Friday testing, Jordan Cane was unable to recreate his pace on Saturday, going ninth from Kush Maini.

Elsewhere, Ben Hurst crashed in his inaugural qualifying session, coming into the pits with a broken front-wing.