2011 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series
Round 30, Silverstone, Northamptonshire, October 8th/9th 2011, © Lynne Waite and Stella-Maria Thomas
Race Report – Round 30 (Race 3):
At Silverstone this afternoon after three years of trying Carlos Huertas (Carlin) finally claimed his maiden F3 victory in the last race of what should be his last season in the category. He was chased home by Kevin Magnussen (Carlin) who did enough to claim the runner up slot in the championship despite being disappointed not to win, and Rupert Svendsen-Cook (Carlin) rounded out the podium for the championship winning team after a dominant season. The Rookie Class was won by Kotaro Sakurai (Hitech Motorsport) as the only runner.
At the start Felipe Nasr (Carlin) took off like a rocket, charging through to 3rd while Huertas nabbed the lead from Magnussen in a desperate attempt to finally claim a win and not be the only Carlin driver it to win a race this year. Another good start came from Mitch Evans (Double R Racing), which was just as well because team-mate Scott Pye seemed to have gone to sleep and lost a lot of ground. At least he managed to avoid what happened next. Nasr suddenly start to fall back, and then veered off, taking out Max Snegirev (Hitech Racing), the Russian an innocent bystander in an accident not of his own making. Nasr meanwhile limped round to the pits for a new tyre and some remedial work.
Pye, meanwhile, fell victim to Alexander Sims (Motopark) who had nothing to lose as a visitor to the series and thus with no interest at all in the championship or in points. He was soon past the Australian and looking threatening in Pietro Fantin’s wing mirrors, as the Hitech Racing Brazilian fought to hold him off. Just ahead of them William Buller (Fortec Motorsport) and Evans were now disputing 5th with Evans locking wheels alarmingly as he tried to hold his place. Pye, meanwhile, lost another place to Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin) to end up 10th.
At the front things were hotting up, and Magnussen set a blistering pace as he tried to reclaim the lead from Huertas. Unfortunately it wasn’t just his pace that was blistering; his tyres were pretty worn out now, and were certainly a lot worse than Huertas’ rubber by now. In 3rd now Foresti seemed to be holding back, presumably in the hope that he might benefit from a clash between the two. That would prove to be a bad move as it allowed Svendsen-Cook to close right up on him, and the royal blue car was very, very close indeed.
Further back Jack Harvey (Carlin) was fighting hard to find a way past the mobile chicane that is Fahmi Ilyas (Fortec Motorsport) and wasn’t looking too happy about it. And after Harvey went through, Guilherme Silva (Hitech Racing) was the next to have a go. In the same batch of cars Menasheh Idafar (T-Sport) was back to normal service after the damp conditions in race 2, and was giving Harry Tincknell (Fortec Motorsport) a hard time that nearly saw them both go off. It didn’t take Tincknell too long to get back ahead of Idafar though.
Meanwhile, Svendsen-Cook saw his chance and pulled alongside Foresti at Abbey, stealing 3rd from the Brazilian despite Foresti’s spirited defence. A couple of corners later and Foresti ran wide on the grass at Aintree, letting Evans and Buller through, while Fantin also made an error that let Sims past.
And then we started what should probably henceforth be known as the age of the drive through penalty. While Huertas continued to lead from Magnussen, Svendsen-Cook and Evans, Silva was given the first of the penalties for disrespecting the track limits. He was followed by Evans though there was some doubt about the validity of that, as he hadn’t been issued a warning; it looked as if he might be a case of mistaken identity. Harvey was another being penalised, and he came in, but Evans didn’t, the notification of the Kiwi’s penalty vanishing from the screen as unexpectedly as it had appeared. Next up to be hauled in were Ilyas and Sakurai, both of whom promptly pulled in and went back out as required.
None of this in any way perturbed Huertas, the Colombian continuing calmly on his way while Magnussen couldn’t find an answer. Svendsen-Cook was running a lonely race well ahead of Evans but nowhere near the top two, and Buller, Foresti, Sims, Fantin, Jaafar and Pye rounded out the top 10. Actually the most interesting part was the battle for 5th with the next four cars all stacking up behind Foresti, though a change without a mistake from anyone looked a bit unlikely. Foresti may have had wing damage but it may just have been something he’d collected earlier that was flapping on his front right end plate. Sims looks especially keen but Foresti wasn’t keen on losing any more ground to anyone thank you very much. Elsewhere Silva was off in the gravel, but as he was only 20th anyway it hardly mattered.
Of the penalty earners Harvey was the one least affected but then the others are nowhere near as fast as him normally anyway so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise really. He only lost out when Pye also got a penalty and managed to shoot back out just ahead of the Racing Steps boy. It wasn’t especially exciting even so. For excitement you still needed to look at the main pack, where Fantin had edged closer to Sims as the pair of them tried to chase down Foresti but even that was now very processional. It was going to come down to a mistake, as already demonstrated, and no one wanted to blot their copybooks this late in the season.
Huertas came home to a well-deserved win having been the bridesmaid so often this season, and Magnussen was 2nd, from Svendsen-Cook, Evans, Buller, Foresti, Sims, Fantin, Jaafar and Hywel Lloyd (Sino Vision Racing). Tincknell was 11th from Pipo Derani (Double R Racing), Idafar, Bart Hylkema (T-Sport), Yann Cunha (T-Sport), Adderly Fong (Sino Vision Racing), Pye, Harvey, Ilyas and Sakurai.
The fastest race laps went to Magnussen, Silva and Sakurai.
Next Rounds: 2012.