Rising star Tom Lebbon fought back well from a tough start to his weekend to secure a career best top six finish as the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship season headed for Silverstone for the second meeting of the campaign.
The Bury St Edmunds-based teenager made the trip to Silverstone on the back of a solid start to his single-seater career at Brands Hatch, where the Elite Motorsport driver secured a hat-trick of top ten finishes.
Two busy days of testing at the home of the British Grand Prix prior to the weekend saw Tom post the seventh quickest time on the combined timesheets on both Thursday and Friday, leaving the talented teenager feeling confident going into qualifying on Saturday morning at the wheel of his We Finance Any Car-backed machine.
A solid run in the session would see Tom post the tenth quickest time, with his best time being just sixth tenths of a second away from pole, and left him well placed for a strong result heading into the opening race of the weekend.
Unfortunately for Tom, his race would come to an early end after a clash with Ayrton Simmons forced him into retirement but that only increased his determination to fight for a top ten finish in race two.
From seventh on the grid, Tom lost a spot on the opening lap but then settled into his groove as he ran in eighth spot for a large portion of the race, dicing for position in a train of cars battling for fifth place.
Although he would he would be overhauled by Bart Horsten in the midfield battle to cross the line in ninth spot, a penalty for Alex Connor for exceeding track limits means Tom would be classified in eighth.
Starting from eighth for race three, Tom made a strong start when the lights went out and quickly moved his way up into the top six by the end of the opening lap.
Staying out of trouble as a number of rivals clashed on track, Tom briefly managed to make his way up into fifth spot and although he slipped back into sixth after team-mate Jose Garfias managed to get ahead, sixth place saw Tom end the weekend with his best result in the series to date.
Tom sits twelfth in the standings ahead of the next event at Donington Park on the weekend of 10/11 July.
"Silverstone proved to be very tough weekend with quite a few highs and lows, but overall I think it was one that I can look back on as a success," he said. "Although I have raced at Silverstone before, I’d never driven around the full Grand Prix circuit before, so to be right on the pace from the moment we went out on track in practice was very encouraging.
"The team put in a lot of hard work to fine tune the car and develop it to suit my driving style and we were able to put in some really competitive lap times, and it left me feeling confident about the race weekend.
"Being forced to retire from race one wasn’t part of the plan and from that point on, the only way was up. To come away from the final two races with an eighth and a sixth was really good, and I was able to learn a lot.
"Overall I’d say it’s been a promising weekend and I’ll look to try and fight inside the top six again when we head for Donington Park."