Antonio Giovinazzi kept himself in title contention thanks to a brace of podium finishes in the third round of the 2013 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series at Brands Hatch.
The Italian racer, who has won twice so far during his maiden season in the championship with Double R Racing, was a consistent threat during the most recent meeting at the GP layout of the Kent circuit, grabbing two podium finishes before ending the weekend with a non-finish after a collision with title rival Will Buller in race three.
Qualifying fifth on the grid – promoted to fourth for Jann Mardenborough‘s grid penalty for colliding with Giovinazzi at the conclusion of the final race at Spa-Francorchamps last time out – the Double R man moved up to third place in the opening race past Nicholas Latifi, remaining there after Buller recieved a drive-through for jumping the start.
Giovinazzi went one better with a highly professional drive in race two from sixth place up to second by the flag, pressuring Mardenborough into a a mistake on lap 12 at Sheene to seal a second visit to the rostrum. The final race ended in disappointing fashion however, colliding with Buller at Graham Hill Bend in a three-way fight between the duo and Buller’s Fortec team-mate Felipe Guimaraes that saw the three Dallara-Mercedes’ run out of racing room into the left-hander.
After a tough weekend for points leader Buller, Jordan King now leads the series heading into the final three races of the season at the Nurburgring next month by three points, Giovinazzi having also closed the gap to remain in the hunt, just 21 adrift of the Carlin driver.
“We’re delighted with two podiums for Antonio”, said team principal Anthony Hieatt. “He’s been mega quick again and it’s just a shame he got tangled up early on in race three, otherwise it could have been a hat-trick. The pace and racecraft are getting better every weekend.”
Giovinazzi’s silverware aside, team-mates Sean Gelael and Tatiana Calderon had mixed fortunes on their way to collecting points finishes, Gelael salvaging an eighth and a sixth place in the latter pair of races following a retirement in the opening encounter when he left the road at Sheene Curve.
Calderon meanwhile started on pole for race two after a eighth place finish prior to that, but slipped back to ninth place before rounding her weekend off with a seventh place, the pair now lying sixth and eighth in the championship.
Hieatt added: “Sean and Tatiana had a tougher time of things but they raced well, picked up some valuable points and continued to learn. Overall I’m pleased with how the weekend has gone in the main, we always enjoy being at Brands and to come away with some trophies makes it all the more enjoyable!”
The Nurburgring GP circuit in Germany will host the season finale of the 2013 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series on September 21/22.