|Mitchell Hale took a superb 3rd place at Cartaya in Southern Spain last Sunday (22 June), but believes that he should have done better – despite scorching temperatures of over 40 degrees.|
The 14-year old KF3 driver was competing in the second round of the Spanish Open Championship.
The Bristol teenager delivered a strong performance in timed qualifying, not that he was entirely happy about it - “I was 10th overall (out of 64) and 5th in my group. I didn’t drive very well” he said, demonstrating the exacting standards he expects of himself.
In his two heats, Mitchell took a 5th - and then came back from a collision (dropping down to 15th) before taking 9th at the chequered flag. These results put him on the 4th row of the grid for the pre-final.
“I started 8th but didn’t get a very good start and lost a few places” he said. Sticking to his task, he fought his way back through the field to steal 9th at the finish.
Although starting further back than he would have liked (on the 5th row), Mitchell did have the vital inside line for the first corner. But as the pack hammered their way into the first corner, he was forced to try some unconventional racing lines.
“I went into the (right-hand) first bend on the inside, but it then tightens before flicking left – which put me on the outside. I was forced over the kerbs and onto the grass, but just kept my foot on the gas and only lost one place. From there, I went forward and worked my way into 5th place. I got into 3rd on the very last lap, when the two drivers ahead of me ran into each other and I nicked through!”
“It was quite good (to take 3rd) but I could’ve done better. If I’d been faster in qualifying, then I would’ve been further up the grid for my heats. Don’t get me wrong, I am pleased - but I think I could’ve won if everything had been right at the beginning.”
Asked about how he coped with the heat, he said: “It was very hot which made things quite hard. It was really, really hot inside my racesuit but my fitness paid off.”
Mitchell now faces two weeks of testing in Portugal and Spain in readiness for the European Championship at Alcaniz in Spain on 13 July, where he hopes to make it through to the finals at Braga in Portugal on 3 August.
“Last year, I got through and was 20th overall in the finals. This time, I’d like to be at the front. I’m hoping that it’ll be a lot better than last time. I’ve now got the team and the kit to do it.”