Danilo Dirani completed a successful opening weekend in the British Formula 3 International Series with a double victory at Donington Park. The Brazilian started in second place for race two but took the lead at the start and was never headed....
Danilo Dirani completed a successful opening weekend in the British Formula 3 International Series with a double victory at Donington Park. The Brazilian started in second place for race two but took the lead at the start and was never headed. Pole position holder Marko Asmer recovered from a poor start to finish second and Mike Conway completed the top three.
"Everybody wants to win - for us the same but we knew it was going to be difficult", said Dirani. "We got the car a month and a half ago, we did not have time to test so many things, and to come here with two first positions is amazing. We do out best to keep improving and getting better."
Asmer suffered problems even before the start of the race. His engine had trouble firing up and the mechanics were forced to send the car out with bodywork missing so that he could join the grid and then receive further attention there. Asmer then got a poor start and dropped down to fourth in the first corner although he had recovered to third by the end of the first lap. "My start was not very good", he said. "This time there was too much wheelspin. Normally I do very good starts but I do not know what happened now." This allowed Dirani into the lead although, like in race one, the Safey Car was brought out at the end of the first lap.
Bruno Senna had been right on the tail of James Walker entering the Craner Curves but Walker drifted right to have a look down the inside of Charlie Kimball and this caused Senna to drift wider and on to the grass, at top speed aproaching the Old Hairpin. Senna kept the car under control as he bounced over the grass for 100m and rejoined just before the corner without hitting any cars. His tyes were completely covered in dirt and he spun as soon as he turned the wheel, coming to a stop in the middle of the track with fourteen cars approaching. Drivers swerved either side of the stationnary car but unfortunately Charles Hollings hit the stationnary car head on and put both him and Senna out on the spot. Ronayne O'Mahony also spun in sympathy but was able to rejoin.
Dirani made a brilliant getaway at the restart and was a couple of seconds clear at the end of the first flying lap. Behind him were Daniel Clarke, Asmer and Conway, but Clarke made a mistake later around the lap and dropped back to fourth behind Conway. Asmer and Conway ran a second apart for remainder of the race but Conway was not able to get close enough to pass. "I had a very good start but I just screwed up on the first lap", said Conway. "The tyres were a little bit colder than I thought and I went wide at the Old Hairpin and that did it."
Clarke held on to fourth place with Stephen Kane in fifth and Christian Bakkeraud in sixth place. There were several battles early on in the race, notably between Kane and Bakkeraud, Jonathan Kennard and Josh Fisher, and a close fight between Susie Stoddart and Ryan Lewis before Lewis slipped past at the Old Hairpin on his rise up from fifteenth on the grid to seventh.
Barton Mawer won the National Class from Salvador Duran and Josh Fisher. Mawer had started at the front of the class and ran as high as tenth overall early on before falling back towards the end but still finished six seconds ahead of Duran.