Jordan King took an almighty step towards securing the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series title with a dominant lights-to-flag victory in race one at the Nurburgring, while his title rival Will Buller had a nightmare.
Carlin‘s King and Fortec‘s Buller looked set for a thrilling contest as they played mind games with each other even heading around on their formation lap, but the fight ended prematurely when Buller’s Dallara-Mercedes started dramatically belching out white smoke, which quickly turned to black.
The start was delayed as the fiery car was moved to the pit lane, Buller’s title challenge damaged significantly as he returned to the race three laps down.
When the shortened 27-minute encounter got underway, King held off Antonio Giovinazzi into the tight first hairpin, a lead he would never lose as he extended the lead out to over four seconds by the halfway stage.
Felipe Guimaraes made the best start from sixth meanwhile, passing both Carlin cars of Jann Mardenborough and Nicholas Latifi into the first corner, muscling Latifi aside. Canadian Latifi then fought off the attentions of Mardenborough, but his Welsh team-mate braved a move around the outside three corners later heading out of the stadium section to grab back fourth.
King was untroubled as he cruised to a vital third win of his 2013 campaign by over 10 seconds, the British driver also clinching denying Buller the extra point for fastest lap to leave himself with one hand on the trophy, bagging 26 points to extend his cushion over the Fortec man to 28 with two races remaining in Germany.
Double R‘s Giovinazzi finished second not far ahead of Guimaraes who made up the podium, Mardenborough and Latifi not able to get close enough to attempt a passing move on the Fortec man despite the former having a brief look into the hairpin.
Sixth place was hotly-contested throughout the race, Sean Gelael passing Double R team-mate Tatiana Calderon on the opening lap of the race to take the early advantage.
But the Colombian lady racer fought back superbly with a brave move under braking around the outside of the Indonesian at the first hairpin with two laps to go, snatching sixth ahead of Gelael and Threebond with T-Sport returnee Spike Goddard in eighth, the top 10 rounded out by Alfonso Celis and National class winner Sun Zheng.
CF Racing‘s Zheng was comfortable in claiming the secondary class spoils, the recently-crowned 2013 National class champion leading from lights-to-flag also to beat Chris Vlok.
The West-Tec driver’s chase of his Chinese rival was dampened by a close call with team-mate William Barbosa at the first bend, then further hindered by an excursion late in the race at the chicane tying to make up for lost time.