Van der Zande and Ricciardo win British F3 races
A brace of scintillating Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International races kept the Silverstone crowds enthralled today (Sun), with visiting Dutch driver Renger van der Zande enjoying a dream debut in the championship to win on his maiden outing and Australian Daniel Ricciardo scooping victory three laps from home in the second race, extending his championship lead in the process.
|Renger van der Zande leads the way at Silverstone|
|Jakob Ebrey Photography|
Van der Zande led the championship's third round all the way from lights to checkered flag to score a resounding victory for the Hitech Racing team.
The 23-year-old, whose Hitech drive was confirmed a matter of hours before the meeting, displayed immense confidence on a circuit he had never before raced to claim the team's first victory since its championship-winning season in 2007. It was also the first win of 2009 for engine supplier Mercedes.
"I only did 29 laps of free practice," said Renger. "But I managed to set a good time in qualifying. The car was very good, the team did a great job, and that helped me a lot. It was decided at the start really; I made a good start and drove away. But the race wasn't easy because of the wind, which blew me off the track one time. After that I took things a little easier. I think this is a good entry to the championship and I'm happy with it. I'm not sure about the rest of year yet, for sure I would like to come back and do more races."
Pole-sitter Max Chilton pursued van der Zande all the way to the end, rarely more than half a second behind in his Carlin Dallara, and was left to rue the Dutchman's better grid getaway: "I got a good start," said the 18-year-old Brit, "as good as everyone around me apart from Renger. He absolutely launched it and gave me no chance of blocking him from getting past. During the race I wasn't taking any risks because of the wind out there. You didn't know what it was going to do next..."
Brazilian Adriano Buzaid slotted into third in his T-Sport car and stayed well in touch with van der Zande and Chilton until a minor mistake mid-distance cost him time. He recovered to stay ahead of Riki Christodoulou to take his maiden British F3 podium.
Christo' drove a storming race from fifth on the grid, the Midlander and his Fortec Dallara overhauling Daisuke Nakajima on the third lap to move into fourth. He might have inflicted more grief on Buzaid but for the need to watch his mirrors as Ricciardo - who started a lowly 11th after a qualifying off - loomed large in them from the third lap onwards.
Though Nakajima fell victim both to Christo and Ricciardo, he had the pace to stay ahead of Walter Grubmuller for sixth, with Nick Tandy battling through to eighth in his JTR Mygale from 15th on the grid. Henry Arundel and Carlos Huertas rounded out the top 10.
In the National Class, Fortec's Daniel McKenzie outgunned T-Sport driver Gabriel Dias at the start to lead the division for a couple of laps until handling problems prevented him from resisting the Brazilian's attentions. For Dias, who broke his back in a crash last season, class victory was sweet: "Daniel got past me through the first corner but I managed to get him back. The race was difficult but races will always be so; it was a good result."
Aussie ace Ricciardo extended his points lead with another race victory for the Carlin Motorsport team, his third from four starts. The 19-year-old from Perth started the second of the day's Silverstone rounds from second on the grid, shadowed his team-mate Chilton until three laps from the end, then swept past him for another Volkswagen-powered victory when Chilton struck gear selection problems.
"We stayed in formation for most of the race," said Daniel. "Max's first few laps were good and he pulled a gap. Then I started to feel a bit more comfortable with the car and I saw Max have a few problems, a bit of oversteer, and with a few laps to go I managed to get alongside him through the fast Maggotts/Becketts section and got the run on him down the straight."
A disheartened Chilton said: "I led from the pole after a great start. I had a good lead and I knew that Dan wouldn't have the pace to pass me... Then three laps from the end I tried going down through the gears and it just wouldn't, so I lost at least a second trying to get it to go in gear. Dan got a tow off me and did a good move and that was the end of the race to be honest." Max was voted Sunoco Driver of the Weekend for his efforts.
Chilton's Dallara appeared to recover quickly from its gearbox trouble, Max fighting manfully with Daniel, side-by-side along the Hangar Straight, before admitting defeat. Then, perhaps demotivated, he fell victim to an opportunistic move from Christodoulou, who dived up Chilton's inside at Abbey two laps from the flag to snatch second from his grasp. It was Fortec driver Christodoulou's maiden podium finish, and it promotes him to championship third.
Race one victor van der Zande held third for the first 12 laps before being unseated by Christodoulou and then suffering a power loss which dropped him to 12th by the end. Nakajima collected fourth spot, five seconds adrift of the winner.
Tandy put in a typically gutsy drive for the JTR team, charging from 10th on the grid to fifth in his Mygale and smashing the hours-old circuit lap record as he went. He closed on to Nakajima's tail before losing pace in the latter stages.
Arundel, Grubmuller and Huertas held station for the duration to collect sixth, seventh and eighth respectively, with Oliver Oakes ninth, just ahead of Buzaid, the Brazilian losing ground after running sixth early on.
Buzaid's countryman and T-Sport team-mate Dias pinched the National Class win on the final lap from the clutches of Fortec driver McKenzie.
ROUND 3 PROVISIONAL RESULT
18 laps / 57.5 miles
1 Renger van der Zande/NED, Hitech Dallara-Mercedes, 30m 52.430s / 111.78mph
2 Max Chilton/GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen, +0.453s
3 Adriano Buzaid/BRA, T-Sport Dallara-Volkswagen, +1.721s
4 Riki Christodoulou/GBR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes, +4.283s
5 Daniel Ricciardo/AUS, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen, +4.809s
6 Daisuke Nakajima/JPN, RR Dallara-Mercedes, +6.299s
7 Walter Grubmüller/AUT, Hitech Dallara-Mercedes, +8.493s
8 Nick Tandy/GBR, JTR Mygale-Mercedes, +9.047s
9 Henry Arundel/GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen, +16.416s
10 Carlos Huertas/COL, RR Dallara-Mercedes, +16.849s...
National Class: Gabriel Dias/BRA, T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda, +33.156s
Fastest lap: van der Zande 1m 41.703s / 113.05mph. Record
ROUND 4 PROVISIONAL RESULT
18 laps / 57.5 miles
1 Daniel Ricciardo/AUS, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen, 30m 46.091s / 112.17mph
2 Riki Christodoulou/GBR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes, +1.963s
3 Max Chilton/GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen, +4.755s
4 Daisuke Nakajima/JPN, RR Dallara-Mercedes, +5.046s
5 Nick Tandy/GBR, JTR Mygale-Mercedes, +13.029s
6 Henry Arundel/GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen, +22.007s
7 Walter Grubmüller/AUT, Hitech Dallara-Mercedes, +23.770s
8 Carlos Huertas/COL, RR Dallara-Mercedes, +25.434s
9 Oliver Oakes/GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen, +26.781s
10 Adriano Buzaid/BRA, T-Sport Dallara-Volkswagen, +27.439s
National Class: Gabriel Dias/BRA, T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda, +32.553s
Fastest lap: Tandy 1m 41.282s / 113.52mph. Record
PROVISIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS
International Class 1 Ricciardo 68 points 2 Tandy 40; 3 Christodoulou 39; 4 Chilton 37; 5 Grubmuller 36; 6 Nakajima 34 etc. National Class 1 Daniel McKenzie (GBR/Fortec) 73; 2 Dias 56; 3 Max Snegirev (RUS/West-Tec) 37; 4 Victor Correa (BRA/Litespeed) 36.
30/31 May Rockingham