Jordan Gronkowski has admitted he was not expecting to beat Ross Martin to Scottish Formula Ford pole position at Knockhill, only learning of his qualifying success in scrutineering afterwards.
Ross Martin had topped qualifying in both of this year’s SMRC meetings to date, and as runaway championship leader was expected to set the pace once more.
However, a 54.270s final lap from Gronkowski demoted Martin to second place, denying him a third consecutive pole.
“I didn’t know I was on pole until I came into scrutineering, I presumed I was still second!” said Gronkowski.
“I saw I’d only gone a tenth faster and thought ‘that’s not going to be enough’. Dad and Mum were at the end of the scrutineering bay holding up a ‘P1’ which is a nice surprise.”
Though he had been unable to topple Martin in qualifying twice previously this year, Gronkowski was not surprised to be so close to the Graham Brunton Racing driver’s pace.
“We were optimistically hoping for it. The car ran very well yesterday, so we thought we’d be on the pace and able to challenge.
“Through the session it looked like were stuck on P2. I felt the car going off a little bit at the end and thought ‘well that’s it, there’s no way I’m going to improve’.
“I calmed down a little bit as I’d started to overdrive a bit, as when you feel the grip going you tend to push harder to try and get the grip back and it just doesn’t come. I calmed myself down a little bit, flow a bit more and put the lap time in.”
Gronkowski had struggled to match both Martin and BRSCC Avon Tyres National FF1600 Championship guest drivers at the previous race meeting, which had been run on Knockhill’s reverse layout.
Having now closed that pace gap on the regular clockwise circuit, Gronkowski indicated his pace was back to normal and his previous struggles were down to the specific nature of the reverse layout.
“We didn’t get the car in the sweet spot for the reverse direction [round]. We never were really in contention that weekend.
“We learned some things that weekend which we’ve tried this weekend but as it’s a different circuit, it’s not exactly the same. Hopefully that’s made a little bit of difference though.”