Mollekens on top at Donington

Belgium's Kurt Mollekens became the fifth different winner of the season as he stroked to a comfortable victory in the eighth round at Donington Park on June 23. The 23-year-old from Bonheiden started from the second row of the grid and took advantage when pole-sitter Brian Smith, from Argentina, stalled at the start.

It was a demoralising mistake by TOM'S driver Smith, who had hoped to become the first non-Dallara driver to win an F3 race in Britain since 1993. Even though he got away dead last, Smith drove a scintillating race and would have finished seventh had he not dropped back on the penultimate lap to avoid a rival's spinning car. Twelfth place was his fruitless reward.

Championship leader Ralph Firman started alongside Smith on the front row but was unable to prevent Mollekens from getting past at the start. He made a concerted effort to get on terms with the Belgian in the middle stages of the 18-lap race, but Mollekens was able to respond. Mollekens crossed the line three seconds ahead of Firman, who extended his series lead over fellow Briton Guy Smith to 31 points.

Third place fell to the Renault-powered Dallara of Frenchman Nicolas Minassian, ahead of Guy Smith. Championship frontrunners Juan Pablo Montoya - a winner at Donington in May - and Jamie Davies both hit trouble, the former suffering electrical problems and the latter dropping out of the points after a minor collision with a rival. Montoya's only consolation was one point for setting fastest lap.

Mollekens said: 'I've been waiting four years for this win. I've been qualifying well all season, and I was sure it would only be a matter of time before I won. My car was perfect in the race, and when I found myself in the lead I just kept my head down and made sure I made no mistakes.'

Next round of the championship is the British Grand Prix-supporting race at Silverstone on July 13.

ROUND EIGHT RESULTS 1 Kurt Mollekens (Dallara-Mugen); 2 Ralph Firman (Dallara-Mugen); 3 Nicolas Minassian (Dallara-Renault); 4 Guy Smith (Dallara-Mitsubishi); 5 Brian Cunningham (Dallara-Mugen); 6 Darren Manning (Dallara-Mugen). -- Best in British Motor Sport