Joel continued to feature at the sharp end of the timesheets on the final day of GB3 testing at Oulton Park, going second fastest across Friday’s two concluding sessions ahead of this weekend’s hotly anticipated season-opener.
After topping the times on Thursday, Joel wound up a close second to Hitech GP’s Luke Browning in both Friday sessions. Browning – who counts Oulton Park as his home venue – has celebrated considerable success at the Cheshire track in the past, winning all three races at the circuit en route to the British F4 title in 2020 and making a victorious GB3 debut in front of the local crowd last year.
Joel ended up 0.157s behind Browning in the first session of the day, before working his way down to a mere 0.053s deficit in session two.
Behind the top two, reigning champions Carlin took experienced Brazilian Roberto Faria to third on the timesheets, one tenth down on Joel.
With 15 of the 21 drivers lapping within a second of the ultimate pace, the stage is set for a dramatic first qualifying session of the season on Saturday, as Joel bids to carry his strong test form into a pole position charge tomorrow morning.
“It’s been pretty much plain sailing,” Joel comments at the end of Friday. “There are always small things to improve, and currently we’re working on the balance of the car in slow corners, but on the whole we’re very close to where we want to be. I feel confident in the car and I can push it to the limit the way I need to. Now, it’s all about getting those laps together when it counts in qualifying. It will be close, but we’re in the mix and I’m feeling ready.”
The first qualifying session of 2022 takes centre stage at 11.05 local UK time on Saturday. The 20-minute session will shape the grids for all three of the weekend’s races. For a reminder on the GB3 event structure, please click here.
Time table – Saturday 16 April (local UK time)
Race 1: 14.45-15.05