Team USA Scholarship driver Tristan Nunez battled back from a lap two mistake to win the first of the two Kent class semi-finals at the 2012 Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch.
Starting from pole position after his quarter-final win yesterday Nunez led the opening lap around the Indy circuit, but fell back behind Ivor McCullough’s #1 Van Diemen after running wide through Paddock Hill Bend at the beginning of the second lap.
Nunez ran wide at the first corner again a few laps later, Luke Cooper taking advantage to take second place as the fight for the win increasingly became a three way battle, the leading trio breaking away from David Quinn in fourth, who in turn had pulled away from the fifth place battle with nearly four seconds between Quinn and Garrett Grist at the end of the fifth lap.
Grist’s tenancy of fifth place would end soon after, spinning out at Druids to become the fourth retirement from the race. Jonathon McMullen’s race would also end on lap five, retiring from sixth place after starting from 20th on the 21 car grid. Xavier Michel and Sean Doyle – who span off at Paddock Hill Bend on lap two while trying to find a way around Grist – completed the retirements.
After falling to third Nunez briefly fell away, Cooper closing in on McCullough ahead in an attempt to take the lead before Nunez’s quarter-final pace returned and he pulled to within a second of the leader as the race entered the final handful of laps.
Nunez took back second from Copper with a simple move at Druids, then on the final lap made a diving move down the inside of Graham Hill Bend to steal the lead – and the win – away from McCullough.
Ben Mitchell, who fought through from the inside of the seventh row took fourth away from David Quinn. Austin Kimberly finished seventh ahead of Simon Hadfield and Scott Moakes, Moakes surviving a trip through the Paddock Hill gravel on lap six.
Photos courtesy of http://www.gazhphotography.co.uk