Carlin’s Kevin Magnussen was merely 3 laps away from taking his 2nd Cooper Tyres British Formula 3 International Series victory at the NÃ¼rburgring ahead of team-mate and championship rival Felipe Nasr – when misfiring engine issues that mired Magnussen’s Brands Hatch weekend reared their heads once again to deny him another impressive win.
Until the engine problems, the race looked like a carbon copy of Saturday’s Round 13, which saw Magnussen withstand immense pressure from Nasr all race long to claim his 3rd win of the season. The young Dane looked more than a match for Nasr in Race 3 – maintaining a comfortable gap after a brief safety car period. But with only a few laps remaining, Magnussen suddenly slowed and could only watch as Nasr simply drove past him and into 1st place.
Nasr was still happy to take the victory: “I don't know what happened to Kevin, he just slowed suddenly in the middle sectorâ€¦ Sometimes wins just come unexpectedly. We were pretty strong all weekend. This is a bit of pay-back because at Snetterton I was unlucky because I started from pole twice and didn't get any wins.”
Not only is his victory a bitter blow to the thoroughly deserving Magnussen, it increases his championship lead to a gaping 75 points ahead of Lucas Foresti. Magnussen now lies only 5th and exactly 100 points behind the Brazilian.
Nasr feels no need to be conservative however, “We have to still be looking for victories and the team and I will just keep pushing.” He added.
Carlos Huertas and Antonio Felix Da Costa also picked off Magnussen as he limped around the final few laps to move into 2nd and 3rd respectively. On the final lap however, Da Costa muscled his way past Huertas to grab 2nd place and conclude an impressive weekend for the Portuguese GP3 competitor. Their podium finishes were made more impressive by the fact they had both started some way down the grid after both incurring penalties in Round 14.
Huertas however, wasn’t so impressed with Da Costa’s overtaking: “He made an aggressive move on me,” said an unhappy Huertas. “It was the last lap of the race and I wanted to avoid contact, particularly after being penalised before the start.”
Lucas Foresti stole 4th from Magnussen on the last lap, who just managed to cross the line ahead of Rupert Svendsen-Cook to finish an immensely disappointing 5th. Fortec’s William Buller came home in 7th ahead of HiTech’s Pietro Fantin and team-mate Harry Tincknell. Pedro Nunes rounded out the top 10.
In the Rookie Class, it was yet another win for Bart Hylkema as the Dutchman led from start to finish. His 11th class victory of the season was made even easier after Kotaro Sakurai was penalised for ‘failing to respect the track limts’. Hylkema was also awarded the Sunoco Driver of the Weekend Award for taking all 3 class wins on offer at the NÃ¼rburgring weekend.
Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series
Round 15, NÃ¼rburgring 3/7/2011
20 laps / 63.98 miles
Provisional results Championship class
1 Felipe NASR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen 40m 45.907s
2 Antonio Felix da COSTA, Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +6.964s
3 Carlos HUERTAS, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +7.576s
4 Lucas FORESTI, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +9.974s
5 Kevin MAGNUSSEN, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +16.152s
6 Rupert SVENDSEN-COOK, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +16.779s
7 William BULLER, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +17.867s
8 Pietro FANTIN, Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +18.772s
9 Harry TINCKNELL, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +20.939s
10 Pedro NUNES, Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +21.387s etc
1 Bart HYLKEMA, T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda +37.684s
2 Kotaro SAKURAI, Hitech Dallara-Mugen Honda +1m 09.544s
Fastest lap Magnussen 1m 55.818s / 93.54mph
Full timesheets http://bit.ly/mvDuGy
Provisional championship standings
1 Nasr 196 points; 2 Foresti 121; 3 Jazeman Jaafar 110; 4 Huertas 107; 5 Magnussen 96; 6 Svendsen-Cook 79; 7 Buller 75; 8 Tincknell 63; 9 Fantin 58; 10 Riki Christodoulou 51 etc
1 Hylkema 214; 2 Sakurai 159.
The 2011 Cooper Tyres British Formula 3 International Series continues on 15-17 July at the Paul Ricard Circuit in Le Castellet, France.