British F3: Harvey shines at a cool Brands Hatch
Carlin Motorsport racer Jack Harvey brought himself back into the hunt for the British Formula 3 championship following two wins at Brands Hatch over the weekend.
Harvey’s stellar drives to victory bookended a reverse grid triumph for Fortec’s Pipo Derani – the Brazilian’s second of the season.
Meanwhile, Harvey’s title rival and teammate Jazeman Jaafar recorded a pair of confident 2nd place finishes, ensuring the Malaysian holds a seven-point advantage going into round six this weekend. Meanwhile, an uneven round for Carlos Sainz Jr. saw the Spaniard fall some 37 points shy of Jaafar.
In the opening race of the weekend, poleman Harvey held off a feisty Jaafar to win at a cool and windy Brands Hatch. The 19-year-old led from lights-to-flag, but spent the duration facing severe pressure from his Malaysian teammate.
Fortec’s Alex Lynn came home an impressive 3rd place, marginally beating Sainz Jr across the line.
Although the gap between the leading pair was rarely larger than one second, Jaafar could not find a way past, irrespective of how much he ducked and dived in Harvey’s mirrors. Indeed, Harvey helped his cause with a lightning start off the line, initially shooting into the distance as Jaafar fought with Lynn in the opening corners.
Jaafar closed in on Harvey, but with overtaking virtually impossible at the Kent circuit the Malaysian simply did not have enough to force the issue.
Once settled into 3rd, Lynn spent the duration keeping Sainz Jr at bay, but like the fight for the lead, this would remain static throughout, although their battle would prove to be less fraught.
Harry Tincknell held 5th from start to finish, but came under pressure from Fortec’s Felix Serralles late on. Serralles ran behind Brands Hatch surprise package Nick McBride for 19 laps until the Puerto Rican pushed his way by the T-Sport rookie with three laps remaining,
Pietro Fantin and Pipo Derani both drove quiet races to 8th and 9th respectively, while Geoff Uhrhane stepped up to close out the top ten. Fahmi Ilyas finished 11th after running past National Class winner Adderly Fong at the mid-point, while Spike Goddard took 13th.
Duvashen Padayachee suffered a spin entering the final corner of the race, while Hannes van Asseldonk added to the misery when he spun on lap seventeen.
The following morning, Derani claimed his second win of the season thanks to an understeering Ilyas. Starting 3rd in the reverse grid event, the Brazilian jumped Uhrhane off the line and began chasing the leading Ilyas for four intense laps.
Teammate Serralles came home a close 2nd, while Fantin represented Carlin on the podium following a solid drive to 3rd. As Derani pushed hard, the pressure proved too much for Ilyas who eventually slipped off at Paddock Hill Bend gifting the front to the Fortec man.
Despite Serralles’ best efforts, the Puerto Rican could make no impression on Derani, with the Brazilian closing the door at every opportunity. The pair remained together as they crossed the line – only two-tenths apart – allowing Derani to take his second victory of 2012.
Serralles’ position was helped somewhat by a stellar start that saw him jump from 6th on the grid to 3rd by turn one, with Ilyas’ mistake promoting the rookie to 2nd place.
Fantin and Sainz Jr also filtered trough ahead of the recovering Malaysia to gain 3rd and 4th respectively. Ilyas maintained his top five spot for the duration, while a train – headed by Jaafar – formed up in his mirrors.
A mere 8.43 seconds covered 5th to 12th, as Ilyas made his Double R machine incredibly wide amidst Brands’ flowing corners, keeping Jaafar, McBride (T-Sport, 7th), Lynn (Fortec, 8th), Harvey (Carlin, 9th), van Asseldonk (Fortec, 10th), Uhrhane (Double R, 11th) and National Class winner Fong (CF Racing, 12th) at bay.
There was little movement in the pack – Uhrhane fell to 9th at the start before dropping behind Lynn and Harvey (both lap 2) and van Asseldonk (lap 7).
Tincknell was removed from the action at the one-third mark, as a result of Ilyas’ off – the Malaysian rejoined the circuit as the field piled through the exit of Paddock Hill Bend with Tincknell breaking his front wing as the pack squeezed together,
National Class runner-up Spike Goddard ended the race 11 seconds adrift of Fong, although he was lucky to pip Padayachee at the line – the pair were split by only 0.487 seconds.
Harvey cruised to his fourth British Formula 3 win of the season at a sunny – if cool afternoon – Brands Hatch. The 19-year-old led from lights-to-flag, while Jaafar and Tincknell chased in the distance. Lynn broke the Carlin party as he shadowed Tincknell for the duration.
The Englishman pulled away gloriously and while Jaafar held close to Harvey for the opening dozen laps, the leader pulled out two-tenths at a time. From there, Harvey opened out and drew into the distance, eventually winning by a comfortable 9.5 seconds. With another relatively large gap to Tincknell, Jaafar settled for 2nd spot, solidifying his lead in the championship at the halfway point of the season.
Tincknell enjoyed a slightly busier race, although the Essex man seemed confident of his pace ahead of Lynn, appearing simply unable to break his Carlin rival.
From there on, the race was somewhat static with Fantin nabbing 5th ahead of the squabbling McBride and van Asseldonk, while Uhrhane assumed a solid 8th for Double R.
Felix Serralles forced 9th from Fahmi Ilyas just before the finish line – despite some rather “rough” defensive tactics from the Malaysian. The Puerto Rican had lined up 6th on the grid, only to be caught out when Sainz Jr and Derani clashed in Paddock Hill Bend on the opening lap.
The incident brought out a brief safety car, helping Serralles a degree while he pitted for a new right rear tyre. Meanwhile Sainz Jr and Derani were out of the spot. Serralles can be pleased with the pace shown – the driver rejoined the race in 12th and some 20 seconds behind Padayachee.
Serralles made short work of the rear of the field. Moves on Padayachee (lap 13), Goddard (lap 19) and Fong (lap 20) gave Serralles free air and an opportunity to run on Ilyas – something the Puerto Rican national would take advantage of as they crossed the line.
Fong ran home to an unchallenged 11th, taking his third National Class victory of the weekend. The Canadian-Chinese driver led Goddard for much of the running, only for the latter to throw his T-Sport machine off after 22 laps, gifting Padayachee 12th spot.
2012 British F3 points standings (after round 5) - International Class
Pos / Driver / Points
1. Jazeman Jaafar 174
2. Jack Harvey 167
3. Carlos Sainz Jr 137
4. Felix Serralles 124
5. Alex Lynn 123
6. Pietro Fantin 95
7. Harry Tincknell 93
8. Pipo Derani 92
9. Hannes van Asseldonk 57
10. Nick McBride 44
1. Spike Goddard 207
2. Duvashen Padayachee 187
3. Adderly Fong 62
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Leigh O'Gorman - The Motorsport Archive
Published 26/06/2012 16:12
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As the noise settled down, colleagues, well-wishers and friends moved from the podium, while Leicestershire skies began to rain down.
It’s a rather unusual sound to bear in the immediate aftermath of a race and not the most welcome. Not welcome at all in fact.