BF3

Croft: Series round 19 race report

Asmer and Perez Win Titles as Jelley takes Second Win Marko Asmer ( ...

Asmer and Perez Win Titles as Jelley takes Second Win

Marko Asmer (#7 Hitech) was crowned the 2007 Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series Champion after Round 19 but he had to watch most of the race from the sidelines after a blown engine forced him out of the lead. Stephen Jelley came home for his second win of 2007, finishing ahead of Sam Bird and Greg Mansell after Niall Breen and Maro Engel's race ended in a clash at the first corner.

Frankie Cheng won the National Class but second place for Sergio Perez was enough for the young Mexican to be crowned 2007 British F3 National Class Champion. Perez's TSport team mate Salman Al Khalifa took the final podium position.

At the start it was Asmer who got the best start from pole position as Niall Breen from 3rd got on terms with Maro Engel into the opening corner. The two Carlin cars collided as Niall Breen locked his wheels in a cloud of tyre smoke, taking both cars out of the race, effectively handing the British F3 title to Marko Asmer because Engel had to finish ahead of the Estonian to keep his slim championship hopes alive.

As Asmer took off the rest of the field sorted themselves out, with Stephen Jelley now in second, Sam Bird up from sixth to third and Greg Mansell up from eighth to fourth ahead of Atte Mustonen, Sebastian Hohenthal and Alberto Valerio.

Asmer opened up a five second gap to Jelley but as the Estonian's Dallara came into the Hairpin a puff of smoke was seen coming from the back of the car. At every corner smoke would appear and as the race progressed it got steadily worse. However Asmer was able to maintain his lead.

Further back in the National Class Frankie Cheng was leading Sergio Perez, who had the championship car of Alistair Jackson on his rear wing. The Ulsterman tried to pass the National Class car at the Hairpin but he collided with the Mexican and Perez was up on two wheels and was lucky not to end up on his roll hoop. The Dallara ended up on all four wheels and Perez got going but he had lost two places to Salman Al Khalifa and Viktor Jensen.

Back at the front Asmer started to slow and on the 13th lap he pulled over at Tower Bend as his Mercedes engine gave up. Stephen Jelley inherited the lead and started to pull away from Sam Bird, who had Greg Mansell less than a second up the road.

Further back Juan Pablo Garcia Samano had Francesco Castellacci trying to move ahead but the Italian tried a bit too hard into the Hairpin and he locked up hitting the Mexican and leaving both cars were stranded in the middle of the track. Garcia managed to get going but the Safety Car was deployed to recover the ADR Dallara. However by the time the Safety Car was out on track the marshals had already moved the car and racing resumed at the end of the lap.

Sergio Perez recovered to pass Jensen and Al Khalifa to move back into second place in the National Class but Cheng was too far up the road for the Mexican to catch.

Jelley once again moved away from Bird as the race went green leaving the Carlin driver to fend off Mansell and Mustonen for the final few laps. At the flag it was Jelley who took his second victory in three races, with Sam Bird returning to the podium, his first since Spa. Greg Mansell scored his third podium finish of the season ahead of Atte Mustonen, Alberto Valerio, Mario Moraes, Michael Devaney and Rodolfo Gonzalez. Leo Mansell scored his first championship points of the season with John Martin taking the final championship point.

However with Maro Engel failing to score Marko Asmer was crowned British F3 Champion even though he failed to finish the race. In the National Class second place was good enough for Sergio Perez to become the 2007 British F3 National Class Champion and the TSport team celebrated by dressing up as Mexican bandits.

-credit: britishf3international.com

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Series BF3