This afternoon at Snetterton Mick Devaney completed a double by winning the second race of the day for Ultimate Motorsport: the first man to win in anything other than a Dallara in this series since June 20th 2004, and he did it twice in one ...
This afternoon at Snetterton Mick Devaney completed a double by winning the second race of the day for Ultimate Motorsport: the first man to win in anything other than a Dallara in this series since June 20th 2004, and he did it twice in one day.
Things could have been so different though. The lead initially was in the hands of Brendon Hartley, until the New Zealander spun it all away, handing the lead to Devaney. Behind the Irishman, Sebastian Hohenthal was 2nd, and Jaime Alguersuari now leads the championship by one point after finishing 3rd. In the National Class, Stefan Wilson (Fluid Motorsport) took his first win in the category ahead of Jay Bridger (Fluid Motorsport) and Hywel Lloyd (CF Motorsport).
There was some excitement before they even got going. The officials showed the 5 second board, switched on the start lights and then immediately switched them off again and hesitated. The only man with the presence of mind to actually floor it and go was Devaney, which was why he was second by the time they reached Riches, just behind Hartley, who had held his lead into the first corner. In the middle of the pack there was something of a sort out after Sam Abay (Carlin Motorsport) and Nick Tandy (John Tandy Racing) made contact at Sear. They both required pit visits but were both able to get back out there again a long way back.
Meanwhile Hartley was starting to pull out a gap, while behind Devaney Hohenthal was ahead of Atte Mustonen (Double R Racing), who had Alguersuari and Sergio Perez (T-Sport) all over him, Perez having had an engine change in the gap between races. Just for good measure Abay had rejoined and was right in the middle of the front runners, though a lap down.
While all that was going on Hartley was pushing on, and had set a fastest lap. Wilson meanwhile was firmly established in the National Class lead and was 10th overall but Bridger now had category leader Andy Meyrick (Carlin Motorsport) catching him hand over fist.
At the front things were about to go pear-shaped for Hartley. Coming into Riches on lap 5 he got on the marbles on the outside and spun off into the field at the end. It wasn't clever and the conversation with the guys at Red Bull afterwards is likely to be painful. In effect, it handed the win to Devaney who didn't need a second invitation. That all allowed Alguersuari to have a go at Mustonen after the Finn backed off to avoid involvement, and instead Perez shot through, but then spotted the waved yellows and promptly and properly dropped back. Once things had calmed down again, Perez was right there with Alguersuari, the pair of them clearly being held up by Mustonen, who seemed to be acting as a very effective roadblock. Marcus Ericsson (Fortec Motorsport) meanwhile, had been looking strong, but then lost ground after he exited Coram very slowly and ended up 10th overall behind Wilson.
Four laps later Riches again proved popular, this time with Henry Arundel (Double R Racing), the youngster exiting the race there and then. It had little to no effect on the leaders, needless to say, but there were now yellows again so a potential overtaking place was out of bounds, at least for the time being. Devaney was now leading happily from Hohenthal and Mustonen, while further back Oliver Turvey (Carlin Motorsport) had Max Chilton (Hitech Racing) with him, and Walter Grubmuller in the other Fortec car was behind them. They were all now close to Perez, which meant that in effect there was something that resembled a 24-wheeled F3 car bottled up behind Mustonen. Something was going to have to give. It was just a question of what, because Mustonen was simply soaking up the pressure.
Someone who wasn't soaking it up was Viktor Jensen (Nexa Racing). Running without a race engineer he was on a hiding to nothing anyway, but then his vanished from the leader board, the less than perfect end to a far from perfect weekend for the youngster. He wasn't the only one in trouble. Callum Macleod (Litespeed F3) was also having a hard time, having the pit in the mid stages of the race. If this was a trial run for the SLC chassis, it seems there's an awful lot of work still to do.
In the National Class, Meyrick was also in trouble. After having caught Bridger, he made a mistake and joined Hartley in the agricultural crop at Riches, having effectively wiped himself out of a podium place, handing 3rd in class to Lloyd, who'd started last but one and was having a fine old time overtaking people merrily.
At the front it was all change too, as Alguersuari finally found a way past Mustonen, while Chilton had a go at Turvey, but then seemed to think better of it. Once Alguersuari was through he rapidly started to reel Hohenthal in, leaving the rest of them stuck behind Mustonen. Ericsson, meanwhile, was recovering from whatever he'd done to lose ground and was back ahead of Wilson and gaining ground fast, setting a new fastest lap of the race as he did so. That meant the young Swede would soon catch the squabbling mob up ahead. There looked as if there might be a vacancy soon there anyway, because Perez was now right with Mustonen again and the Mexican was very keen to get past. He didn't want to concede any more positions to Alguersuari than he had to, especially as Alguersuari had now snatched the point for fastest lap from Ericsson.
Almost immediately Perez squeezed past Mustonen, which would have reduced the queue by one except that Ericsson had now joined it. In retaliation, Ericsson had a go at Grubmuller at Riches but couldn't quite make it stick. He would have to reconsider. A further shift occurred when Turvey got the drop on Mustonen, and as the front-runners came round to lap Jordan Williams (Team Loctite) Alguersuari caught right up to Hohenthal. There was only a lap left now, and it just wasn't enough for the Spaniard. He would have to settle for 3rd. Meanwhile, with a lap left to run, Ericsson finally sorted out Grubmuller and was through to claim 8th.
And so Devaney once more won for Ultimate, to the pleasure of many, with Hohenthal 2nd and Alguersuari in 3rd, now with a 1-point lead in the title fight over Perez, who was 4th. Turvey was 5th, beating Mustonen, Chilton, Ericsson, Grubmuller and National Class winner Wilson to the line. John Martin (Double R Racing) finished in 11th, ahead of Alistair Jackson (Ultimate Motorsport), Bridger, Philip Major (Fortec Motorsport), Lloyd, Steven Guerrero (T-Sport), Kristjan Einar (Carlin Motorsport), Salman Al Khalifa (T-Sport), Ricardo Teixeira (Ultimate Motorsport) Williams, Abay and Tandy.
The fastest laps of the race went to Alguersuari and Bridger.
Weather: Hot, sunny.
Next Races: Rounds 11 & 12, Thruxton, Hampshire, 28th/29th June.