Piquet Crowned 2004 Avon Tyres British Formula Three Champion
Nelson Piquet Jr sealed the Avon Tyres British Formula Three Championship with a second place behind James Rossiter at Brands Hatch this afternoon. The Brazilian finally lifted the championship as main rival Adam Carroll could only manage to finish in ninth place. Ryan Lewis picked up his 16th race win of the year in the Scholarship Class.
Rossiter got a great start to lead the field into Paddock Hill Bend on the opening lap as Piquet suffered from wheel spin on pole position. He managed to hold off Danny Watts to keep second place and a within a handful of laps had managed to get back on terms with the leading Fortec Motorsport car.
Carroll made a poor start to cross the line seventh at the end of the first lap. Rob Austin, James Walker and Danilo Dirani had decided to start the race on wet weather tyres as the track was already damp. These three made superb progress through the field, with Austin charging from the back of the field following a spin on the second lap, to demote the Northern Irishman to ninth place, ending his championship hopes.
Piquet narrowed the gap to Rossiter in the second half of the race and looked to be lining up his rival to make a move for the lead. However, an eye on the championship stopped him going for his sixth win of the year.
"I was quicker than Rossiter and knew I had the pace to have a go for the lead, and I thought about it. But I kept thinking about the championship and thought better of it," said Piquet. "It feels such a relief to finally take the title and get to this point. I want to go out in the second race and take a win to finish off the season," he added.
Rossiter was pleased to have taken his third race win of the year and move back ahead of Carroll into the runner-up position in the points. Dirani resumed his battle with Watts that had started at Spa-Francorchamps. The Brazilian pushed the Lola-Dome hard but as the circuit began to dry out in the closing stages Watts was able to take an easy podium place.
"I got a great start and once I'd built up a good lead the team told me to calm down a bit," said Rossiter. "I could tell that piquet was looking to go for a win. He pushed me pretty hard in the middle of the race but I think he thought about the title towards the end," he added.
Rob Austin got caught behind James Walker and Marko Asmer after making up ground from the rear of the field. A move on Walker put him into sixth and he went for fifth place on the final run up to the line. However, contact with Asmer just before the line meant that he had was unable to make up another place.
Stephen Jelley led the entire race in the Scholarship Class until he ran wide at Graham Hill bend on the final lap, gifting Ryan Lewis his 16th victory of the season. Lars Sexton came home in third place after Ronayne O'Mahony ended his race in the Paddock Hill bend gravel trap.
"I'm pleased with another win, but I would have preferred to have had more pace. Clearways was especially slippery and I just couldn't get the power down anywhere," said Lewis.