Carlin’s Felipe Nasr claimed a masterful victory in wet conditions in Round 12 of the Cooper Tyres British Formula 3 International Series at Brands Hatch. The current championship leader finished a dominant 24 seconds ahead of 2nd placed Lucas Foresti, increasing his lead in the 2011 series to 45 points.
Akin to Round 10 (Saturday’s race) a heavy downpour just before the start forced the field onto wet tyres, then intermittent weather throughout the rest of the race offered several options for tyre strategy. The race-winners as well as the rest of the top 10 all opted to stick with the wet-weather tyres from start to finish, as another mid-race soaking ensured that the wet Cooper tyres were the only effective choice.
Pole-sitter Rupert Svendsen-Cook made a good getaway and spent the first half-dozen laps leading the race. Nasr started 3rd on the grid, and quickly stole 2nd place from Adderly Fong off the line before hunting down Svendsen-Cook and snatching the lead at Graham Hill bend on lap 7. From then on, Nasr left the rest of the field for dead, thriving in the wet conditions. Adderly Fong’s race suddenly fell away from him however, as he found himself running wide and into the gravel trap on lap 8, causing him to fall back down the field.
A crash between Pipo Derani and Max Snegirev – his 2nd in 3 races brought out the safety car for a brief period, reeling Nasr back in momentarily. Kevin Magnussen, who had taken front wing damage in the early laps of the race, pitted for a new front wing and also took on slick tyres looking to take advantage of the slightly drier conditions. Behind the safety car however, another downpour left him exposed, and the Carlin driver was forced to pit for a 2nd time and revert back to wet tyres, knocking him down the order.
Nasr nailed the restart and began reasserting himself at the front of the field, the Brazilian was even lapping a full second a lap faster than nearest rival Svendsen-Cook, who was in real danger of losing his 2nd place spot to a hard-charging Pietro Fantin. Fantin stalked the back of Svendsen-Cook’s Dallara for a handful of laps, before finally running out of patience and trying a risky move around the outside at Paddock Hill Bend. But the pair simply ran out of track, and the two collided and swept each other off the circuit allowing Lucas Foresti into 2nd place.
Foresti was well aware of his good fortune, commenting after the race: “I was a bit lucky maybe. I was fast but I didn't put everything together to win. There were a few mistakes, unfortunately. But I still made second place and it is great for Fortec to have second and third also.” Lucas' efforts were further rewarded with the Sunoco Driver of the Weekend trophy.
William Buller had fought well from 6th place up to 3rd – the Ulsterman finally receiving some fortune after being luckless in Rounds 10 and 11. Jazeman Jaafar came home 4th after a solid weekend, ahead of Carlos Huertas who climbed up from 10th place after a dismal first lap. Jack Harvey finished his season’s best in 6th place, ahead of Hywel Loyd, Scott Pye and race 2 winner Harry Tincknell. Pietro Fantin recovered to round out the top 10.
Bart Hylkema took victory in the Rookie Class, making no mistakes to leave rival Kotaro Sakurai behind and take his 8th rookie class victory of the 2011 season.
Felipe Nasr once again asserted himself as the strongest competitor of the 2011 season so far – his 24 second victory is the largest leading gap of the year so far. The Brazilian was delighted with his performance: “It was a very exciting race. At the beginning it seemed like a repeat of yesterday; the track was drying out very quickly and I thought we would struggle towards the end, but then the rain came again: perfect for us. The car was just great, I made no mistakes and it has been a brilliant weekend.”
Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series
Round 12, Brands Hatch 19/6/2011
26 laps / 63.27 miles
Provisional results Championship class
1 Felipe NASR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen 41m 05.110s
2 Lucas FORESTI, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +24.531s
3 William BULLER, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +26.884s
4 Jazeman JAAFAR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +28.804s
5 Carlos HUERTASL, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +30.414s
6 Jack HARVEY, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +34.220s
7 Hywel LLOYD, Sino Vision Dallara-Mercedes +37.916s
8 Scott PYE, Double R Dallara-Mercedes +38.507s
9 Harry TINCKNELL, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +42.419s
10 Pietro FANTIN, Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +44.488s etc
1 Bart HYLKEMA, T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda +1m 22.396s
2 Kotaro SAKURAI, Hitech Dallara-Mugen Honda +1m 25.172s
Fastest lap Kevin MAGNUSSEN / DEN 1m 30.496s
Full TSL timesheets http://bit.ly/m2SV8Q
Provisional championship standings
1 Nasr 154 points; 2 Foresti 109; 3 Huertas 95; 4 Jaafar 94; 5 Buller 63; 6= Rupert Svendsen-Cook & Magnussen 61 etc
1 Hylkema 161; 2 Sakurai 119.
The Cooper Tyres British Formula 3 International Series continues on 1-3 July in Germany at the Nurburgring Circuit.