Walker responds well in the wet

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Following brilliant practice performances in which he was the second-quickest driver, Walker’s weekend looked like being as disappointing as the cold, wet weather when he emerged only seventh and tenth from official qualifying sessions.

The drop in temperature and high winds left Walker with severe handling problems and worn tyres with insufficient life to last the races, but rain meant that everyone would start the first race on new, wet-weather tyres which gave him a chance.

He got a fantastic start from seventh on the grid, very nearly taking fourth spot by the first corner but deciding to settle for fifth rather than risk going off.

He soon took fourth but around half distance he pushed a little too hard, and had a quick spin which dropped him out of the podium positions.

He was back on the tail of the battle for third and fourth within a lap, however, but an incident which led to the deployment of the safety car halted his progress.

When racing resumed he set about taking the place again and crossed the line at the chequered flag right alongside the fourth-placed driver, missing out by a matter of inches.

After a disappointing GP Masters event for Nigel Mansell and Derek Warwick in which nether driver finished, the latter was on the grid with last-minute advice for Walker in the day’s second F3 race.

It seemed to work, as Walker gave everything in the early stages while his badly worn tyres still had reasonable performance.

Another cracking start saw James make up a place to ninth on lap one.

He then set about a series of overtaking manoeuvres, moving into eighth on lap two and hauling in Bruno Senna, nephew of the late world champion Ayrton Senna.

After several laps of pressure Walker took the Brazilian for seventh.

In an entertaining fight he was then repassed but fought back, taking the place once again, and before long he had pulled off another overtaking move for sixth.

However, his car by now had very little grip as the tyres grained badly.

He could do nothing to defend his place as he was retaken, but he was determined to keep Senna at bay and finished ahead of him in a gritty seventh place.

‘After qualifying it was a case of damage limitation,’ said Walker.

‘However, it was enjoyable to pass so many cars, which has moved me up to sixth in the championship and third of the British drivers.

With a good run from now until the end of the season I may be able to climb another couple of places, and I’m still focused on winning races.’ His next race is at Brands Hatch, Kent, on 27 August.

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