Henry Arundel endured a tough weekend at the new Portimao circuit in Portugal this weekend, as he took part in rounds 17 and 18 of the 2009 British F3 Interntional Series. The young British racer fought back from a difficult qualifying session on Saturday to claim fourth place in race two on Sunday.

While a number of the British F3 drivers already had race or test experience of the new Algarve track, Arundel had his first taste of the Portimao circuit in Friday’s practice session. The Links of London backed driver adapted well to the undulating 2.9 mile circuit, finishing the first practice session sixth of the British F3 runners. However, a car problem in the second session meant that Arundel lost some momentum ahead of the first qualifying session on Saturday morning.

Conditions remained hot and sunny for the first qualifying session of the weekend on Saturday morning and with only a short window to get the most from the Cooper Tires, Arundel struggled to put together the ideal lap after being caught up in traffic. At the end of the session, Arundel found himself the 12th fastest British F3 runner with plenty to do in the first race on Sunday. The second qualifying session was a similarly hectic affair, with a red flag period with just five minutes to go disrupting proceedings, as Arundel set the 11th fastest time of the British F3 drivers.

As the lights went out for the first ever British F3 race at Portimao on Sunday, Arundel made a good start and was clearly on a mission, having moved up several places by the end of lap two. A safety car period on lap three bunch up the field again, and as the cars circulated at a reduced pace Arundel was hit from behind by Ardiano Buzaid. With the back of his car severly damaged from the impact, Arundel was forced to limp back to the pits and retire.

With only one more opportunity remaining to score points in Portimao, Arundel was on the pace as the second race of the day got underway. At the end of lap one, the British racer was the sixth British F3 runner and made up one further position just before an early safety car period. At the restart, Arundel lost out to Buzaid, but the Brazilian driver was later handed a 10 second penalty for passing Arundel before the finish line and therefore under safety car conditions. Arundel maintained strong pace for the remaineder of the pace and with Buzaid pushed down the finishing order, Arundel was classified as the fourth British F3 driver, collecting 10 points to add to his championship tally.

Speaking about his weekend, Arundel said, “It was a really tough weekend; the track was pretty challenging, but despite that I was looking forward to a good weekend after a promising start in first practice. Unfortuantely qualifying didn’t quite go our way with traffic and red flags which left a lot to do in the races. I was really disappointed to be taken out of the first race as the car felt good and I was really making progress. In the second race we had good pace again, and after such a difficult qualifying session, I think fourth place was a satisfatory result for us.”

Arundel will be track on track for the final round of the season at Brands Hatch later this week.