Webster’s on quest for better qualifying to move up the grid

NOSE TO TAIL: Josh Webster does battle in Saturday's GP3 race at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, near Valencia, Spain, on Saturday, recording a 17th-place finish
NOSE TO TAIL: Josh Webster does battle in Saturday's GP3 race at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, near Valencia, Spain, on Saturday, recording a 17th-place finish
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Suffolk speedster Josh Webster believes he can score his first points in international competition — but only if he gets qualifying right.

The 19-year-old, from Mickfield, near Stowmarket, finished 17th and 18th in his two GP3 Series races for Status Grand Prix at the Circuit Ricardo Torm, near Valencia, Spain, at the weekend.

However, Webster feels a top-10 finish — and points — are there for the taking if he can find a few extra tenths in qualifying.

“The results weren’t ideal and to be honest I expected better,” said the teenager, who was dogged by throttle problems when he endured a miserable opening weekend in Barcelona in June. “It’s so close between everyone in qualifying, we just ended up the wrong side of where we should have been.

“We were so close to being in the top 10 in terms of time, but ended up 19th.”

The twice BARC Formula Renault Championship runner-up’s time of one minute 23.559 seconds was only good enough for 19th, but was only 0.634 seconds shy of 10th-placed Jack Harvey.

“Our race pace was good, but you can’t make any inroads from that far back,” said Webster, who made a fantastic start in race one to run as high as 13th by the end of lap one.

However, Nine Group-backed Webster dropped back when he suffered from tyre degradation in the middle of the race, eventually holding on to 17th from Status teammate Jimmy Eriksson by half a second.

Eriksson and Webster went into combat again in race two, but this time it was the Swede who ended up on top by putting Lewis Williamson between himself and Webster after passing the Suffolk driver.

“Both times I got a good start, but with the Pirelli tyres you can’t go hell for leather overtaking people because within three laps your tyres are gone,” said 2009 karting Formula Rotax Junior Max European Series champion Webster.

After his opening-round nightmare of the throttle jamming in Barcelona, Webster was pleased to tackle a GP3 race with a driveable car for the first time.

“I’m learning all the time,” he added. “It was a really good experience. The car is not perfect still, but we are still improving that.”

Webster returns to these shores to be part of the British Grand Prix on June 28-30 when the GP3 Series provides support races to the Formula One event.