Fortec‘s Lucas Foresti took victory in Round 10 of the Cooper Tyres British Formula 3 International Series, as drying conditions allowed the Brazilian to outsmart his opponents. Championship leader Felipe Nasr finished only 4.9 seconds behind, using his slick tyres to take huge chunks out of the Foresti’s lead before just running out of time.
A pre-race shower forced all the entire field to start on wet weather tyres, and pole-sitter Rupert Svendsen-Cook led away cleanly and began establishing a lead, with Carlin team-mate Carlos Huertas and Nasr chasing. Foresti jumped from 6th to 4th in the opening lap, mastering the slippery conditions and the tyres as he began to the hunt down the leading pack. Foresti took 3rd place from Nasr on lap 7 – by this stage the circuit was significantly drier, with a clear racing line traced over the tarmac.
Nasr, a slow-starting William Buller, Pipo Derani and Kevin Magnussen all pitted a lap later for slick tyres. Foresti stayed out, taking 2nd place from Huertas before inheriting the leader when Svendsen-Cook pitted for his own set of dry tyres.
“We had a massive lead and my pace was excellent but Lucas seemed to have a lot more pace than me even though he was on the same tyres,” said Rupert. “I could probably have fought with him to the end of the race, but it was difficult to know that at the time. We certainly had the pace to win, we proved that.”
His pit-stop also promoted Scott Pye into 2nd place, the Australian taking the same gamble as Foresti in trying to run on wets until the chequered flag. Nasr however, had quickly become the greatest threat in the field – the Brazilian flying on his new slicks and catching the wet-weather gamblers at some 4 seconds per lap.
Foresti’s lead was 17 seconds with 4 laps remaining, Nasr continued to relentless slice into his lead, but just couldn’t manage it, losing out on the win by a mere 4.9 seconds. Foresti’s fellow risky strategist Scott Pye tumbled back down to 7th place by the end, showing just how vulnerable Foresti was on the effectively the wrong tyres for dry conditions.
Nevertheless, Foresti did enough to make it work, taking a tense victory. “I think half the way was really dry and then I didn't know what to do but I just kept going,” Foresti told www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk “I had to do fastest lap, fastest lap every time so people couldn't catch me and I couldn't look in the mirrors. But it was pretty good – the set-up of the car the team did really well.”
“I didn't even think about the stop but I was thinking to cool the tyres a lot of the time,” he added, also admitting that one more lap would have put him in a fight for first against the charging Nasr.
2nd place Nasr added: “Maybe if the race had been one lap longer.But it's a great result; scoring points means more than anything. I thought I was not even going to get a race after my accident in qualifying; there was a lot of last-minute work. Big thanks to Carlin.”
Svendsen-Cook completed the podium after passing Scott Pye on lap 19, with fellow Carlin team-mates Jazeman Jaafar and Carlos Huertas rounding out the top 5 respectively. Buller recovered well to finish 6th, ahead of Pye who had Magnussen for close company by the end of the race. Menasheh Idafar finished 4 seconds ahead of Race 2 pole-sitter Harry Tincknell, who rounded out the Top 10.
The Rookie Class victory went to Kotaro Sakurai, after rookie rival Bart Hylkema spun off during the wet phase of the race.
Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series
Round 10, Brands Hatch 18/6/2011
21 laps / 51.10 miles
Provisional results Championship class
1 Lucas FORESTI, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes 30m 35.827s / 100.20mph
2 Felipe NASR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +4.966s
3 Rupert SVENDSEN-COOK, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +12.447s
4 Jazeman JAAFAR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +16.903s
5 Carlos HUERTAS, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +19.329s
6 William BULLER, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +21.838s
7 Scott PYE, Double R Dallara-Mercedes +28.417s
8 Kevin MAGNUSSEN, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +29.708s
9 Menasheh IDAFAR, T-Sport Dallara-Volkswagen +34.168s
10 Harry TINCKNELL, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +38.714s etc
1 Kotaro SAKURAI, Hitech Dallara-Mugen Honda 20 laps
Fastest lap Buller 1m 19.566s
Full TSL timesheets http://bit.ly/m2SV8Q
Provisional championship standings
1 Nasr 129 points; 2 Foresti 91; 3 Huertas 79; 4 Jaafar 78; 5 Magnussen 60; 6 Svendsen-Cook 57 etc.
1 Bart Hylkema 130; 2 Sakurai 93.