Hartley takes first win.
New Zealander joins winners club in second Croft race.
Brendon Hartley became the fourth winner in as many British F3 International Series rounds with victory in the second race of the weekend at Croft.
In a race that was restarted after a multi-car accident, the Carlin man came ahead of race one winner Sergio Perez and Oulton Park victor Oliver Turvey, while Andy Meyrick continued his domination of the National Class with a fourth win in as many starts.
As the lights went out to start the race, Hartley got a good start to lead the 29 car field into the first corner at Clervaux with Marcus Ericsson and Perez battling for second. Sam Abay also got a good start to move up a place at the expense of his Carlin team-mate Oliver Turvey for fourth.
Perez and Ericsson were battling down the back straight with nothing separating the two cars as they exited Tower and charged towards the Jim Clark Esses. Perez got his nose down the inside of Ericsson but both cars were offline and they touched, with the Fortec Dallara spinning round across the track. Perez managed to avoid being collected by the spinning Swede but the cars following behind weren't so lucky and mayhem ensued.
Abay went off in avoidance and was joined in the tyre wall by Henry Arundel, Esteban Guerrieri, Oliver Oakes and Niall Quinn, causing the race to be red-flagged on lap two. All the drivers were ok but one marshal was injured, being treated at the trackside for a broken leg before being moved to the medical centre.
The cars formed up on the grid to restart in the positions at the end of lap one to race over 18 laps, the times of which would be an aggregate of the two race starts.
Hartley got a good getaway on the restart, followed by second place Perez, with Atte Mustinen in third. Turvey once again lost out at the first corner, losing fourth place to Jaime Alguersuari but he fought back and regained the place at Hawrhorns. Michael Devaney, who had moved up to 19th after starting at the back of the grid had blitzed through the field and was challenging Ali Jackson for tenth on the outside at Tower but overcooked it and went off. The Irish driver rejoin the track but only to retire the Mygale at the end of the lap.
Hartley now had control of the race, putting in fastest laps on lap three and lap four, breaking Takuma Sato's eight year old F3 racord, and more importantly opening up a slight gap to the second placed Mexican driver. Perez responded, closing the gap to the New Zealander but not getting close enough to challenge for the lead.
Meanwhile the two leading cars were pulling away from Mustonen, who was being tracked by Turvey, Alguersuari, Sebastian Hohenthal and Nick Tandy. Further back John Martin spun his Double R Racing Dallara at Sunny and rejoined the track only to retire.
In the National Class, Meyrick was mixing it with the International Class runners in eighth place, three places ahead of Salman Al Khalifa who had Stefan Wilson and Jay Bridger snapping at his heals. Philip Major, who was just ahead on the road of Wilson, collided with the BRDC award winner at the hairpin, the Canadian driver getting stuck on the grass at the exit while Wilson continued. This allowed Bridger to catch up with Al Khalifa but Hywell Lloyd, who was now fourth in class joined in with the podium battle.
Meanwhile nearer the front Nick Tandy was tracking the Fortec Dallara of Sebastian Hohenthal and tried to make a move on the Swede at Tower but had to back out as Hohenthal held onto the racing line. However Tandy tried again, braking late for the Hairpin and with a cloud of tyre smoke from his front left the Mygale driver made the move stick on lap 15.
At the same time Atte Mustonen was having to defend against a concerted attack from Oliver Turvey, the Englishman coming onto the back straight right on the back of the Finns rear wing. Mustonen jinked left and Turvey went to the inside, leaving his braking very late into Tower to take the podium place. Mustonen fought back through the Jim Clark Esses but couldn't retake the place.
At the front Brendon Hartley took the chequered flag to the delight of the Carlin team who lined the pit wall just ahead of Sergio Perez and Oliver Turvey. Atte Mustonen took fourth ahead of Jaime Alguersuari who had to fend off a last gasp charge from Nick Tandy who scored the first points for himself and the JTR Marshall Westland team.
Andy Meyrick came home in eighth overall to take maximum points for the second race running. Salman Al Khalifa managed to hold on to take his second podium finish of the year ahead of Jay Bridger and Hywel Lloyd on the road. However the final podium position went to Lloyd because of the combined times from the first part of the race.
For full results, CLICK HERE.
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Published 27/04/2008 18:13
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