Fortec Motorsport secured a 1-2 finish in Round 13 of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series at Brands Hatch which was fought out over the course of the race between Pipo Derani and Felix Serralles. The Brazilian and Puerto Rican team mates fought it out tooth and nail until lap 11, with the 18 year old from Sao Paulo delighted with his second victory of the season, with birthday boy Serralles having to settle for second.
The key to the team's results: electric starts off the grid with both gaining places the moment the lights went out, but there was one obstacle in the team's way. That was Double R's Fahmi Ilyas, who was able to maintain his advantage into Paddock Hill Bend, having gone to the left, and then right. But the Fortec boys kept the pressure on the Malaysian driver, who held the race lead until lap 5, where he made an error, going into the gravel at Paddock Hill, losing several places in the process, but ended up finishing fifth ahead of current championship leader and countryman Jazeman Jaafar, who also had a lightning fast start, gaining four places on the opening lap.
Serralles was pilling the pressure as the race progressed, trying to force his Brazilian team mate in making a mistake, even though they were both alongside each other through Paddock and on the run up to Druids, with Derani able to fend off the attacks, and had a faultless drive to the chequered flag. Both drivers had commented on the fact that their cars were the fastest they've been all year, but as it is well documented, the Indy variation at Brands is difficult to pass on at the best of times, as that has been proven in other racing formulas, but it provides the fans with exciting, close racing.
“I think I had the fastest car I've had all year,” said Serralles. “It's just impossible to pass here – I could have taken the win if there was a longer straight, but it is what it is. It was unfortunate I couldn't qualify where I wanted because I had a puncture, so it's really fantastic to be on the podium for a Fortec 1-2 and also it's my birthday.”
Derani was complimentary of his team mate as well as the team's progression this weekend, even after a slightly worse performance in Qualifying: “But here we are, we are 1-2, Fortec on top and I think it's a good result. We try always to do our best, and today, this is our best. Felix was putting pressure on me all the time and I had to think hard about not making any mistakes; he did an amazing job.”
Pietro Fantin kept Carlos Sainz at bay for the final podium place, even though there was a possibility that a penalty may have been giving for the Brazilian exceeding the track limits, but the stewards decided on no further action to be taken. T-Sport's Nick McBride finished ahead of Fortec's Alex Lynn and Saturday's winner Jack Harvey, who carried out a monumental effort to keep Hannes van Asseldonk behind him for the majority of the race. Double R's Geoff Urhane, however, had a race to forget, even though he surged into 3rd place at the start, but slipped to an eleventh place finish in the end, with Carlin's Harry Ticknell being the last of the International Class finishers, after he lost his front wing on lap 5, which was a result of several drivers braking late to avoid Ilyas, as he returned to the track after his error.
And in the National Class, CF Racing's Adderley Fong secured class honours, having clearly secured the victory by 10.6 seconds over Spike Goddard, with Duvashen Padayachee securing third place.