Barnicoat struggles at Nurburgring

Ben Barnicoat struggled in the sunny conditions at the Nurburgring, qualifying outside of the top 10 for the opening two of three FIA European Formula 3 Championship races in Germany.

The Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver, who had earlier toiled in the two free practice sessions, continued to labour throughout his qualifying sessions; a combination of driving errors and inconsistent balance preventing him from competing towards the front of the grid.

Having earlier complained of both understeer and oversteer through corners, Barnicoat’s Hitech GP car hindered his progress, with the British driver only able to set the 13th quickest time for the opening race of the weekend.

Having briefly moved into the top 10 positions in Friday’s later second qualifying session with an early time of 1m 22.585s, Barnicoat improved with 1m 21.674s.

Other racers significantly improved on their final runs. Barnicoat however was unable to better his time and will start the weekend’s second race from 14th position.

Based on the session’s second quickest time, Barnicoat will start the final race from 10th place.

“The balance was really inconsistent in practice,” Barnicoat said. “I was experiencing oversteer in the slower corners and understeer in the quicker sections.

“The hotter temperatures aren’t helping that balance. The car seems to work better in the cooler conditions like we experienced at Spa at the last round, and I’m struggling to gain the most from the car in the optimum window.

“I also made some errors, so we need to see how we can improve the car in order to make my way up the grid for the rest of the weekend.”

Motopark’s Sergio Sette Camara set pole position for the opening race of the weekend, but takes the second of three 10-place grid penalties for an engine change at the previous round at Spa Francorchamps.

Therefore, Prema’s Lance Stroll will begin races one and two from pole position, and start the final race from the front row alongside Maximilian Gunther who set the second quickest time of the third qualifying session.