Wins for Nasr and Christodoulou at Oulton Park
Felipe Nasr extended his Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series points lead to 34 at Oulton Park this afternoon thanks to a faultless pole-to-flag victory by the Brazilian Carlin driver in the sixth round of the championship. Earlier in the day, Riki Christodoulou became the second British driver to win a round in 2011, the Midlands-based 22-year-old leading home his team-mate Pietro Fantin for a Hitech 1-2.
In the Rookie class, Dutch driver Bart Hylkema overcame his rival Kotaru Sakurai to take twin wins and further extend his points advantage.
Round 5 race report
Christodoulou’s win was a lights-to-flag affair for the Volkswagen-powered Hitech Racing team at Oulton Park this morning. Riki profited from a bungled start by pole-sitter Kevin Magnussen, the Dane creeping and then stalling as the lights flashed off. Christo’s start wasn’t great but he managed to hold off a determined challenge into Old Hall from his Hitech team-mate Pietro Fantin. Riki pulled a second clear of his Brazilian pursuer on the opening lap and kept the gap steady all the way to the checkered flag to record his second career British Formula 3 win; his first was at Snetterton in 2009 for the Fortec team.
Said Christodoulou of his second win: “It was actually pretty easy, this one! I knew the hardest bit was going to be the start, that was where the race would be won. I saw that Magnussen started then stopped, and I thought ‘sweet’. It made it all the easier for me. Pietro got a really good start; I had too much wheelspin so I had to defend a bit, after that it was all really straightforward.”
Fantin set fastest lap after fastest lap in his pursuit of his team-mate, but had to settle for second, 2.4s adrift at the checkered flag. The teenager was delighted with his maiden British Formula 3 podium: “It feels good, I am really happy. This is only my second weekend in the International class of British Formula 3, and already to have a podium is a big thing. I am developing as a driver and Hitech is developing the car. I think by the end of the season we will be fighting for poles and for wins.”
There was another podium virgin in the shape of Fortec’s Harry Tincknell, who kept his third place from the grid to the checkered flag, the Exeter youngster not putting a wheel wrong despite the pressure of the Carlin cars of Jazeman Jaafar and championship leader Felipe Nasr looming large in his mirrors throughout. Nasr had made a great start to leapfrog Carlos Huertas on the opening lap but could not dislodge his Malaysian team-mate from fourth.
Huertas was sixth ahead of Saturday race winner Lucas Foresti, with Rupert Svendsen-Cook surviving a third-lap moment at the chicane to retain eighth. Oulton testing pacesetter Scott Pye was ninth for Double R and Racing Steps driver Jack Harvey 10th.
There was more drama for Menasheh Idafar, who went off in Saturday’s race and did so again on the opening lap of this one. Another who went off was Hitech Rookie class runner Kotaru Sakurai, who exited on the final lap; his class rival Bart Hylkema was well ahead of the Japanese driver throughout and collected a straightforward Rookie win - his fourth - for T-Sport.
Round 6 race report
Felipe Nasr’s victory was the Brazilian Carlin driver’s third win of the season, coming on top of his twin Monza wins last weekend, and leaves him comfortably clear in the championship stakes. The 18-year-old made an impeccable start from pole position to lead Saturday race victor Lucas Foresti into Old Hall on the opening lap. A couple of quick laps from Nasr put him 1.5s ahead by lap four and, even though Fortec man Foresti responded with a fastest lap of his own, catching his countryman never looked likely.
Felipe crossed the line 3.4s clear of Lucas, and was delighted with his win: “These are very important points and a great win for me. My car was great again. I had to sacrifice a bit on my qualifying because of tire issues but I had a very good set for this race and I had strong pace.”
Nasr and Foresti left the rest of the pack struggling in their wake. Lucas was nearly 20s clear of third-place man Menasheh Idafar at the end, and was just as pleased as Nasr with his drive and also with the additional award he received: Sunoco Driver of the Weekend. “We are pushing every weekend to get better and better. The team is really good, Mercedes, my sponsors, everything is perfect. We maybe just did not quite get the set-up right for the temperature of the tires in this race. But I am very happy,” said Lucas.
For Idafar, his first podium finish of the season came as a blessed relief. The London-based Bahraini had shown strong pace in qualifying for T-Sport but crashed out on Saturday and again this morning. “It’s always good to get a podium but especially so after what happened in the last two races,” said Menasheh.
On a circuit which makes overtaking more than hard in a Formula 3 car, the top 10 was pretty much settled at the start, Svendsen-Cook settling into fourth and running Idafar hard for the duration but unable to find a way past. Will Buller made a good start to overhaul Jazeman Jaafar for fifth away from the line.
The top 10 was completed by Carlin driver Jaafar, Fortec’s newcomer Harry Tincknell, Double R’s Scott Pye, Pietro Fantin for Hitech and Carlos Huertas for Carlin. Huertas’ team-mates Kevin Magnussen and Jack Harvey were both in mechanical bother and pitted; Harvey continued on to last spot but Magnussen’s miserable Oulton weekend ended in retirement.
A poor star for T-Sport’s Bart Hylkema left the Dutchman struggling behind the car of his Rookie class rival Kotaru Sakurai for six laps; Bart eventually found a way through at Lodge Corner for his fifth class win of the season.
British Formula 3 enjoys the headlining support of Cooper Tires and is additionally backed by Sunoco Racing Fuels, Anglo American Oil Company and OAMPS.
Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series
Round 5, Oulton Park 25/4/2011
13 laps / 34.996 miles
Provisional results Championship class
1 Riki CHRISTODOULOU / GBR, Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen 19m 27.635s / 107.89mph
2 Pietro FANTIN / BRA, Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +2.403s
3 Harry TINCKNELL / GBR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +9.135s
4 Jazeman JAAFAR / MAS, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +10.449s
5 Felipe NASR / BRA, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +11.316s
6 Carlos HUERTAS / COL, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +12.589s
7 Lucas FORESTI / BRA, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +13.172s
8 Rupert SVENDSEN-COOK / GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +17.690s
9 Scott PYE / AUS, Double R Dallara-Mercedes +18.370s
10 Jack HARVEY / GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +21.904s etc
Provisional results Rookie class
1 Bart HYLKEMA / NED, T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda +41.949s
Fastest lap Fantin 1m 28.840s / 109.08mph
Round 6, Oulton Park 25/4/2011
26 laps / 69.66 miles
Provisional results Championship class
1 Felipe NASR / BRA, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen 39m 09.433s / 107.24mph
2 Lucas FORESTI / BRA, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +3.394s
3 Menasheh IDAFAR / GBR, T-Sport Dallara-Volkswagen +22.570s
4 Rupert SVENDSEN-COOK / GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +23.124s
5 William BULLER /GBR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +23.931s
6 Jazeman JAAFAR / MAS, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +24.537s
7 Harry TINCKNELL / GBR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +25.225s
8 Scott PYE / AUS, Double R Dallara-Mercedes +26.319s
9 Pietro FANTIN / BRA, Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +30.052s
10 Carlos HUERTAS / COL, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +30.517s etc
Provisional results Rookie class
1 Bart HYLKEMA / NED, T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda +1m 22.290s
2 Kotaro SAKURAI / JPN, Hitech Dallara-Mugen Honda 25 laps
Fastest lap Fantin 1m 29.467s / 108.32mph
Full TSL timesheets http://bit.ly/fwgptU