Asmer Cruises to Win Number Eleven
2007 Champion Marko Asmer cruised to a lights-to flag victory ahead of Atte Mustonen and Sebastian Hohenthal. Hohenthal started in 10th and made up seven places to take his first podium finish since Brands Hatch in July.
Sergio Perez scored his 13th win of the season in the National Class, finishing well ahead of his T Sport teammate Salman Al Khalifa and Performance Racings Hamad Al Fardan.
Asmer got a good start off the line, with Mustonen following the champion into Turn One for the first time. Mario Moraes got up alongside the ADR Dallara of John Martin as the pack headed down to the Deane hairpin. Mustonen had a look down the outside of Asmer but the Estonian had the racing line and held the lead. Fifth placed Rodolfo Gonzalez braked late into the corner passing Moraes and Martin to exit the corner in third place.
Jonathan Kennard became the first casualty, his race ending in the tyre wall at Deene.
Further back Hamad Al Fardan was leading the National Class, just ahead of Sergio Perez who had been delayed at the first corner. Al Fardan held the class lead for three laps until an error dropped him down the order.
At the end of the opening lap it was Asmer, from Mustonen and Gonzalez. Sam Bird had also made up two places to end the lap in 4th place ahead of Moraes. Sebastian Hohenthal had leapt up four places to cross the line in 6th place.
Asmer continued to pull away from Mustonen at nearly a second a lap as Gonzalez came under pressure from Bird, the English driver closing on the Venezuelan. However Bird's race came to an end on lap 6, parking his Carlin Motorsport Dallara at the end of the pitlane with a broken driveshaft. On the same lap Hohenthal moved ahead of Moraes to take 4th place and set off after Gonzalez.
Asmer settled into a rhythm and continued to move ahead of Mustonen, who in turn pulled away from Gonzalez who was being caught by Hohenthal. As the cars crossed the line for the 15th time Hohenthal was right behind the T-Sport Dallara and as the two cars headed towards Deene Hohenthal dived to the inside of Gonzalez, out braking the Venezuelan into the corner and taking the podium position.
Greg Mansell, who had made up six places on his lowly 20th grid position, decided to come in to make some adjustments to the settings on his Fortec Motorsport Dallara in preparation for the second race of the day.
As the race entered the final few laps Marko Asmer was over 13 seconds ahead of the rest of the field and cruising to his 11th win of the his championship winning season. Atte Mustonen took the chequered flag behind the Estonian, just 1.5 seconds ahead of Sebastian Hohenthal who scored his first podium since his win at Brands Hatch in July. Rodolfo Gonzalez was 4th, ahead of Mario Moraes, the Brazilian equaling his best finish of the season. Niall Breen was 6th, with John Martin in 7th, the Australian Formula Ford Champion taking his best British F3 finish since Bucharest.
Alberto Valerio, Stephen Jelley and Maro Engel rounded out the point scoring positions.
Sergio Perez took his 13th win of the year in the National Class, the young Mexican untroubled once he hit the front. Salman Al Khalifa made it a T-Sport 1-2 with Hamad Al Fardan recovering to finish on the podium for the 12th time this season and secure 3rd place in the National Class behind Perez and 'Frankie' Cheng, who wasn't racing at Rockingham as he was on A1GP duty for Team China at Zandvoort.