At Snetterton this morning, Renger van der Zande (Hitech Racing) took an easy victory, though he did have a worrying moment when overtaking one of the backmarkers. Second was current series leader Daniel Ricciardo (Carlin Motorsport) looked to...
At Snetterton this morning, Renger van der Zande (Hitech Racing) took an easy victory, though he did have a worrying moment when overtaking one of the backmarkers. Second was current series leader Daniel Ricciardo (Carlin Motorsport) looked to have the speed to challenge for the lead, but spent too long bottled up behind eventual third-place finisher Henry Arundel (Carlin Motorsport). The National Class victory went to Daniel McKenzie (Fortec Motorsport) from Gabriel Dias (T-Sport) and Victor Correa (Litespeed F3).
Unusually for Snetterton, the race start was quite tidy, only Wayne Boyd making a bit of a nonsense of Riches and ending up on the grass. He was able to get going again, though he'd lost an awful lot of ground by then. Someone who couldn't afford to lose ground but did a corner further on was Max Snegirev (Team West-Tec), the hapless Russian spinning off before continuing all alone at the back of the field. Not making a nonsense of anything at all was van der Zande though, the Dutchman getting ahead at the start and never being challenged again for the rest of the race.
Arundel was second by the time the pack reached Riches. In third after a good start, despite missing a gear or two, was Ricciardo, while Walter Grubmuller (Hitech Racing), Riki Christodoulou (Fortec Motorsport), Max Chilton (Carlin Motorsport) and Jay Bridger (Litespeed F3/Bridger Motorsport) filed in behind him. Van der Zande almost immediately began to pull away, with Arundel proving a major bottleneck behind him. In the pack, Carlos Huertas (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) dropped all the way down the field, while Hywel Lloyd (CF Racing) was attacking Philip Major (Carlin Motorsport) and Boyd began an attempted recovery drive.
A lap later and Adriano Buzaid (T-Sport) got into difficulties attempting to pass Daisuke Nakajima (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) - who was being held up behind National Class leader McKenzie. The Brazilian wobbled onto the grass as the Japanese resisted his attack and promptly lost two places as a result. He was lucky to hold it together at all, and immediately started trying to gain back the lost places, while a little further back Lloyd was still trying to find a way past Major for 13th overall. It took Lloyd quite a long time to get through, while Buzaid was altogether speedier in making up ground, soon catching and overhauling Victor Garcia (Fortec Motorsport). While he was doing that, team-mate Boyd was now scything past the Litespeed car of Aaron Steele, and was soon on Correa's tail. By lap 5, however, it was pretty much all over.
Rather as in F1, the start had generated most of the action and things were about to get very processional. First, however, Lloyd finally got through, and Huertas overhauled Stephane Richelmi (Barazi Epsilon), to be followed through shortly afterwards by Boyd. At the front, van der Zande continued to streak away into the distance, while Arundel held off Ricciardo, Grubmuller, Christodoulou, Chilton, Bridger and McKenzie, with Nakajima and Buzaid about to join onto the end of the train, Buzaid having passed team-mate (but National Class runner) Dias easily to get back into the hunt, exactly where he'd been when the trouble started, behind Nakajima.
And for a great deal of what remained of the race, nothing much happened, though Snegirev's progress (or rather distinct lack thereof) was worthy of note. By half distance van der Zande was almost on him, and it didn't take long for the Dutchman to catch and lap the West-Tec car. That seemed to cause some sort of brainstorm on Snegirev's part, because by the end of that lap, almost all of the rest of the field had gone past too. It takes a special kind of talent to lose an entire lap within a minute or so of being passed by the leader!
Meanwhile, Buzaid had finally got the better of Nakajima, while Huertas went missing on lap 16, allowing the other yellow T-Sport car, that of Boyd, through onto Major's tail. It was just as well, because there wasn't much happening at the front. The order only changed when Arundel found he had a problem. The gear selection wasn't functioning correctly, and a messed up shift was all Ricciardo needed to get by. Once through, he also pulled away rapidly and began catching van der Zande, though it was unlikely he would have enough time to challenge for the lead. He came close to getting handed it with about three laps to go when van der Zande caught up with Steele. The National Class rookie may not have seen the blue flags advising him of van der Zande's presence close behind him, and when the leader went to overtake, Steele tried to fight back. The Dutchman kept his foot in and held it all together but he was a bit surprised to find a backmarker trying to race him.
That sorted, it was a simple run to the flag for van der Zande. Ricciardo couldn't quite catch him - he would have needed more laps. Arundel was third having figured out what to do about the gear selection problem. He didn't lose any more ground, despite having a pack of five squabbling F3s on his rear. Fourth went to Grubmuller, who is now 20 points behind Ricciardo in the title fight, while behind him were Christodoulou, Chilton, Bridger, National Class winner McKenzie, a slightly lonely Buzaid and with Nakajima rounding out the top ten. Dias was 11th, ahead of Garcia, Lloyd, Major, Boyd, Richelmi, Correa, Steele and Snegirev (who had been lapped by everyone except himself).
Fastest laps of the race went to van der Zande and McKenzie.
Weather: Cloudy, warm, clearing during the race.