PHM AIX Racing rookie Taylor Barnard says he didn’t have much to lose and gave everything he had on his final lap in the Sakhir Qualifying that will see him line up 10th in Saturday’s Feature Race.

Barnard’s performance in the pole position shootout also means he will start from pole position in Friday’s Sprint Race, with ART Grand Prix driver Victor Martins set to join him on the front row.

Reflecting on his performance after jumping out of the cockpit, a delighted Barnard said: “I was a bit too cautious on the first push lap on both sets. My last lap it was all or nothing for me, I don't really have much to lose anyway.

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“I am still in the process of learning everything, the preparation for the season has not been great. I left nothing on the table in that last lap and now I am starting on pole in my first ever F2 race.”

Part of his learning has been Barnard adapting to the driving style required by Formula 2 machinery. The British racer says that he has been steadily improving since the pre-season test and that shows in his Qualifying performance.

“Every single corner I am doing I'm like ‘Okay there is a little bit here and a little bit there’,” added Barnard. “When we get to the European season I am going to start pushing for more results, but for the first few weekends we are just going to take it how it comes. What a crazy quali!”

Barnard will line up on pole position for Fridays Sprint Race
Barnard will line up on pole position for Friday's Sprint Race

He also added: “Honestly my pace on the softs was quite good and I was like 'If I really nail it, I think I can get there' but I didn’t really expect it to come true to be honest. But we will just take all of these as a learning curve, and that’s a step forward.”

Barnard intends on using Friday’s Sprint Race as a lesson going forward given that he struggled on his long runs during pre-season testing.

With tyre management being one of the keys to success around the abrasive Bahrain International Circuit, the PHM AIX driver is keen to use the information he learns to improve his confidence within the new F2 car.

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As for the event tomorrow, Barnard admits it is likely that he is overtaken by some of his rivals around him, although he is hopeful of taking home some precious points.

“For sure I am going to be getting overtaken by some of the quicker guys but like I said, it's just going to be a learning curve and just about doing the best start, then doing all the procedures that I know to do the best that I possibly can.

“Starting from pole, I would like a podium but to take away some points from the races is the main target. Let’s just see. It's all learning and we will do the best that we can.”