At Hockenheim yesterday afternoon Gabriel Dias (T-Sport) took a hard fought for win over Oli Webb (Fortec Motorsport), with Adriano Buzaid (Carlin) in 3rd after a short tussle with Jay Bridger (Litespeed F3). The National Class was won by James...
At Hockenheim yesterday afternoon Gabriel Dias (T-Sport) took a hard fought for win over Oli Webb (Fortec Motorsport), with Adriano Buzaid (Carlin) in 3rd after a short tussle with Jay Bridger (Litespeed F3). The National Class was won by James Cole (T-Sport) from his team-mate Menasheh Idafar.
In the afternoon heat the field lined up for what was a far more orderly start than they'd managed in the earlier race, with Webb getting off the line and into the lead cleanly, followed by Buzaid, Dias and Bridger, who was making the most of being so close to the front for once and clearly intended getting on the podium if he could, even if he had been unable to hang onto 3rd. Meanwhile, starting from 8th was Jean-Eric Vergne (Carlin), winner of the first race of the weekend. Having drawn a starting place further back than he could have hoped for, Vergne was in no mood to stay back there if he could help it. He soon hauled himself up a couple of places, blasting past Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin), and Daniel McKenzie (Fortec Motorsport) and making short work of James Calado (Carlin Motorsport) before the race was a lap old. Meanwhile Daisuke Nakajima (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) was out on the spot with contact damage. The Double R team really was not having a good weekend, and it wasn't showing any sign of improving any time soon.
At the front, Webb was holding station and looked set to hang onto his lead, but that was to bargain without Dias, who forced a way past Buzaid for 2nd and then started to close Webb down. Meanwhile, Vergne's charge had come to a premature halt when he got stuck behind Bridger - the Litespeed driver wasn't about to let anyone take 4th from him, championship leader or not, and put up stiff resistance that would last all the way to the flag. He wasn't the only one having to find ways to hold on to his position. While Dias went after Webb, William Buller (Hitech Racing) was battling to keep Jaafar from staging a recovery, and Felipe Nasr (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) was battling Alex Brundle (T-Sport) for what would become 7th.
The National Class was far more clear cut, with Cole starting 9th overall and opting to simply hold his line while the International Class men around him found their own way past. He had no intention of getting involved in anything that might cost him the lead. As a result he was steadily reeled in by Idafar (who started last because of a penalty picked up for corner cutting in Race 1), though it was never likely that he would be able to catch up with the class leader in the 20 minutes available.
After the shenanigans of the first race, where almost everyone served a drive through at some stage, this turned out to be quite processional, the only real interest coming from Vergne's repeated efforts to pass Bridger, and the speed with which Dias was gaining on Webb. On lap 8 it was all over for Webb, after Dias reeled him in and took him up the inside of the hairpin to snatch the lead and then vanish into the distance, clearly so much faster than the Englishman this time round.
Behind them, Buzaid was now running quietly in 3rd, while Bridger was still concentrating hard to keep Vergne at bay. On the last lap the Frenchman sized up his opponent one more time and was about to have a go at getting past when - after being shown the black and white flags and awarded a penalty for repeated corner cutting - Adderly Fong (Sino Vision Racing) finally threw it off in the Sachs Curve gravel and caused an outbreak of yellows, just where Vergne had it in mind to make his attempt. He had no choice but to settle back in to 5th and bring it home there to score more useful points in his championship chase.
And so Dias came home to claim an emotional win, over Webb, Buzaid, Bridger, Vergne, Calado, Buller, Jaafar, Svendsen-Cook, and Carlos Huertas (Raikkonen Robertson Racing). 11th was Daniel McKenzie (Fortec Motorsport), from Lucas Foresti (Carlin), who got the better of Felipe Nasr (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) in the closing stages of the race. Brundle, who had been up with Nasr at one point, faded to finish 14th, ahead of Cole, Idafar, Wayne Boyd (Sino Vision Racing) and Hywel Lloyd (C F Racing with Manor Motorsport).
Fastest laps went to Dias and Idafar.