With all three series eligible for the 2010 Sunoco Daytona Challenge – British Endurance Championship, Avon Tyres British GT Championship and the British Formula Three International Series – making stops on continental Europe, the results of these foreign races will have a significant bearing on which driver eventually wins a drive in a Daytona Prototype in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The Formula Three drivers got their year underway in Italy in April, but the summer months send the young F1 hopefuls on a longer swing through Europe. At their most recent races, on the Grand Prix track at the Nurburgring the wins in the races counting towards the Challenge were shared between Carlin teammates Kevin Magnussen and Felipe Nasr.
Magnussen held off Nasr throughout the first race, claiming the race – but not the 100 Sunoco Challenge points for the win, as sponsor commitments elsewhere mean the Dane is not entered for the prize. That meant that Nasr's effectively won the Challenge for that race, taking another 75 points, that was further boosted by his win in the weekend's final race, helping preserve his healthy lead at the top of the standings at the half way point.
However, perhaps the star of the weekend was Harry Tincknell. After taking a first win at Brands Hatch, the young Briton scored another podium in the opening race in Germany, driving up from eighth on the grid, surviving an attack from Carlos Huertas.
“I had the best start ever,” said Tincknell. “Everything just hooked up perfectly and I went from 8th to second by the first corner.”
“I was on the outside of Nasr however came through the first corner in third after I got hit by Heurtas. From there I didn't quite have the pace of the leaders but I'm very happy with my first 'main' race podium.”
Tincknell's Fortec Motorsport teammate Lucas Foresti continues to be the only F3 driver – Nasr aside – in the top ten in the Challenge points. However, a disappointing weekend by the standard of the Brazilian's year – a tenth and a fourth in the two points scoring races – dropped his average score and him two places in the Challenge standings.
By contrast the British Endurance Championship has only one race on the European mainland, with a 100 minute race at Spa-Francorchamps the weekend before F3's Nurburgring meeting. With Keith Robinson again absent after MJC‘s engine woes, and the Eclipse Motorsport McInerneys not travelling to Belgium the best placed BEC driver is Javier Morcillo.
With the steering issue, and a gearbox problem, continuing into Sunday for the race Morcillo and co-driver Manuel Cintrano had to settle with sixth place at the checkered flag, a result that drops Morcillo to third in the Challenge standings.
The race win went to Michael Millard and Ian Heward in their Rapier 6 SR2, with Raphael Fiorentino and Henry Fletcher in second place for Topcats Racing. The best placed Challenge entrants were GT3 Racing duo Aaron Scott and Craig Wilkins, who completed the podium, and now lie just out of the top ten.
The British GT Championship is the last of the three championships to make the cross-channel trip, following in the BEC's footsteps to Spa for a pair of 60 minute races.
Sunoco Daytona Challenge Points as of July 3
|1||Felipe Nasr||Carlin||British Formula 3||92.00|
|2||Marcus Clutton||ABG Motorsport||British GT||68.75|
|3||Javier Morcillo||Azteca Motorsport||British Endurance||61.50|
|4||Matt Bell||United Autosports||British GT||57.50|
|5||Michael Guasch||United Autosports||British GT||57.50|
|6||Lucas Foresti||Fortec Motorsport||British Formula 3||56.00|
|7||Peter Belshaw||ABG Motorsport||British GT||53.75|
|8||Allan Simonsen||Rosso Verde||British GT||47.50|
|9||Glynn Geddie||CRS Racing||British GT||47.50|
|10||Jay Shepherd||Hawthorns Motorsport||British Endurance||45.50|
The Checkered Flag race reports