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Rao takes double pole in close qualifying at Thruxton

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
Photo: Paul Davies Photography

Photo: Paul Davies Photography

British F3 championship leader Matt Rao has secured two pole positions for the series’ fifth outing at Thruxton.

Rao led a Fortec 1-2 in a close qualifying session that saw all five drivers fit within 0.3s on overall best laps.

The Briton joined the track ten minutes into the qualifying session and took little time getting to the front, jumping to the top with a strong 1:07.843 lap and then shaving off 0.01s on his subsequent attempt.

He was back into the pits shortly thereafter and, while the drivers behind him managed to close in on his benchmark lap as the qualifying went on, none could match his two best flyers, allowing Rao to take his first poles of the season.

Championship contender Martin Cao managed drastic improvements late into the session, which ensured he’ll start races one and three from the front row.

Carlin’s sole representative Peter Li Zhi Cong was third overall, narrowly edging ahead of Double R Racing duo of Max Marshall and Camren Kaminsky.

Series debutant Marshall managed to get one better on Li Zhi Cong on second-best laps and will start race one from third.

Coming into today’s first Thruxton race, Rao will lead his Fortec teammate Cao by just 4 points.

Qualifying results
Race 1 Race 3
Pos. Driver Team Time Pos. Driver Team Time
1 Matt Rao Fortec Motorsport 1:07.843 1 Matt Rao Fortec Motorsport 1:07.833
2 Martin Cao Fortec Motorsport 1:08.009 2 Martin Cao Fortec Motorsport 1:07.867
3 Max Marshall Double R Racing 1:08.072 3 Li Zhi Cong Carlin 1:07.969
4 Li Zhi Cong Carlin 1:08.096 4 Max Marshall Double R Racing 1:08.035
5 Camren Kaminsky Double R Racing 1:08.264 5 Camren Kaminsky Double R Racing 1:08.130