Christian Mansell Narrowly Misses Out On Podium Finish At Silverstone
Christian Mansell narrowly missed out on a podium finish in the GB3 Championship's second visit of the season to Silverstone this past weekend (14/15 August), as he continued his consistency to maintain second in the championship standings.
The 16-year-old Carlin rookie arrived at the Northamptonshire circuit for a second time this season sitting second in GB3 - formerly BRDC British F3 - with two wins already to his name, a tally he hoped to add to at the 'Home of British Motor Racing'.
The young Australian - backed by AJM Transport, Castrol, Vawdrey Trailers, VISA Global Logistics and Infinity Sports Management - participated in two days of testing in mixed conditions across Thursday and Friday, gathering data ahead of the weekend and enjoying solid pace ahead of qualifying.
Saturday's crucial timed session would be trickier for drivers than initially imagined however thanks to a sprinkling of rain arriving just moments before cars ventured back out onto the circuit for their 20-minute blast. Mansell was first in the queue to head out onto the track with all drivers on slick tyres, a compound that he would bravely stay on until the chequered flag while others gambled on wets in damper conditions midway through.
Battling among the top five throughout the dramatic and ever-changing session, Mansell's consistency put him up into fifth place on the grid for the opening race of the weekend, with his title rivals left in his wake.
Dry conditions greeted the reigning British F4 Rookie Cup champion for race one later that afternoon, and he became embroiled in a feisty opening lap battle with fellow Australian Bart Horsten. When the second-placed car ahead of him lost a wheel at Copse corner, Mansell pounced on the inside to move his Carlin machine into third spot overall. Losing a place on the restart, Mansell kept up the pressure late on to narrowly miss out on the podium in fourth.
The Rush Performance, IOR Petroleum, Locker 27 and AMSL Diabetes Australia-backed racer fell from 12th on the grid to 15th after a hectic opening lap of race two on Sunday, but it fueled a recovery in the second half of the race. Mansell climbed two further spots and overtook team-mate Bryce Aron on his way to 12th, before picking off three more rivals in a frenetic final two laps.
Mansell lined up 10th on the grid for the reverse grid race, and again had his elbows out at the start of the final contest of the weekend. Battling to make up ground, he became embroiled in a fight on the fringes of the top 10 and climbed up to eighth place by the chequered flag after pulling off some bold overtaking moves late on.
Christian Mansell:“It's been an up and down weekend. We're still feeling good from the experiences however and we still showed good pace in the races.
"It's just so difficult to be able to follow cars around here in the dry with how close a lot of us are in the dirty air. We still put that to one side and fought hard and I made up a few places in the races over both days, so we're still right up there in second in the championship.
"It was maybe bold to be on slicks all the way through qualifying but I stuck with that decision and it did start to improve at the end, and I got the banker laps in rather than look like an idiot! Race one; Bearman's off worked in my favour as I was on the inside line and it helped me make up those few places, and we kept making spots up over Sunday.
"Qualifying at Oulton Park is crucial, and I would just like to have a normal dry qualifying, without any mixed conditions."
Mansell's next outing in the GB3 Championship comes in four weeks' time when the series heads to Oulton Park circuit over the weekend of 11/12 September.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.