By Lynne Waite and Stella-Maria Thomas
- Foresti earns his 1st BF3 win
- Weather: Sunny, dry
- Magnussen on pole for 2nd race
Race Report - Round 4 (Race 1)
At Oulton Park this afternoon Lucas Foresti (Fortec Motorsport) made up for the mixed fortunes that had plagued him at Monza with a dominant win in the first race of the weekend. In what was a pretty dull race, series leader Felipe Nasr (Carlin) was lucky to finish second ahead of team mate Jazeman Jaafar. In the Rookie Class Bart Hylkema (T-Sport) survived a brief scare to get the better of Kotaro Sakurai (Hitech Racing) for his fourth victory from four races.
At the start Nasr made very poor start while Foresti got the power down cleanly to lead by a convincing margin by the time the pack reached Old Hall for the first time. Behind him, Nasr had lost second to Menasheh Idafar (T-Sport), and was lucky not to be passed by Jaafar as well as he attempted to defend himself and salvage something from what was an oddly uninspired start. Behind the leaders it all settled down into what became a procession, but not before Pietro Fantin (Hitech Racing) had stolen 5th from Harry Tincknell. He then found he couldn't get away from the rookie and before long something of a train had built up behind him but it wasn't close enough for any overtaking to prove possible.
Further back things were also building up behind Kevin Magnussen (Carlin) in 9th, with Scott Pye (Double R Racing) first in the queue to pass the Dane if the opportunity arose. They were joined by Rupert Svendsen- Cook (Carlin) and Pipo Derani (Double R Racing), but again it didn't look as if there would be much change there either unless something odd occurred. Something odd had actually occurred back in the Rookie Class where Sakurai had somehow managed to force his way past Hylkema. The Swedish/Dutch driver wasn't about to settle for that and proceeded to fight back, regaining ground hand over fist until he was on the Japanese's rear wing, That caused the Japanese to weave more than slightly excessively from side to side as he tried desperately to keep Hylkema back. Despite being pushed onto the grass at one point, this was only ever going to end one of two ways, and in the end Hylkema found his way through and vanished into the distance at speed, leaving Sakurai to be lapped by the leaders before the race was over.
At the front Foresti was continuing to pull away, while Nasr followed Idafar and Jaafar trailed after them. So fast was Foresti that the news soon came through to say that not only had he just set he fastest lap of the race, but he had also set a new F3 lap record. He looked very much in control of this race. Then again Idafar looked in control of second until he managed to lose it on the exit of Old Hall, smashing into the barriers and handing his place to Nasr, who didn't need a second invitation.
That left Foresti clear of the pack by a massive margin, while Nasr was far enough ahead of Jaafar for him not to be a threat, For entertainment, in fact, you had to look back as far as 9th where Magnussen was still holding off a gaggle of cars for the place, but even that wasn't enough to keep the attention engaged for too long, even when Jack Harvey (Carlin) joined on the back of them, given that it never looked likely that he might lose the place to any of his pursuers, and the threat lessened further when Derani crawled over the line at the end of lap eight with what sounded like a terminally sick Mercedes power unit. While Idafar's car was still being dragged to safety on the outside of Old Hall, Derani's Dallara coughed its last and coasted to a halt on the inside. Luckily he wasn't in a bad position so no Safety Car was required, though it might have enlivened things and might also have prevented Foresti from having it all his own way.
The most exciting thing going on out there was actually William Buller (Fortec Motorsport), who was all over Hywel Lloyd (Sino Vision Racing) as he tried to make up for an appalling first lap and recover some ground. He was after moving past Lloyd for 14th, which became 12th with the departures of Idafar and Derani, but the way he was savaging the Welshman, you'd have thought it was the lead - or at least a points-scoring place - that was actually in dispute. He made repeated attempts to get round, scrabbling desperately to try and gain an advantage, only to be rebuffed each time. Lloyd wasn't going to cooperate, not now and not ever. In the end, a really wild attempt saw Buller come unstuck and lose a place to Yann Cunha (T- Sport), the latter sitting patiently behind the battling pair and waiting to see what might transpire.
Huertas, in 4th, was briefly troubled by Fantin, who seemed at one point to be gaining on him, but that threat evaporated almost as fast as it had appeared, especially as Fantin was towing Tincknell with him and thus couldn't do much about attacking anyone.
And that was pretty much how the race ended. Jaafar had started to close on Nasr but he never looked like that much of a threat, not with only five minutes left of the race, and especially not as they came up to lap Sakurai. Thankfully he didn't give the leaders the same treatment he'd given Hylkema and they were soon through, but Nasr was that bit too far down the road for anyone to catch and pass him, even if he couldn't do anything at all about Foresti, who was now the better part of 19 seconds ahead and probably feeling quite lonely as he coasted to his first ever British F3 Series win.
The full 21 points, therefore, went to Foresti, from Nasr, Jaafar, Huertas, Fantin, Tincknell, Riki Christodoulou (Hitech Racing), Magnussen, Pye, and Svendsen-Cook. 11th was Harvey, ahead of Lloyd, Cunha, Buller, Fahmi Ilyas (Fortec Motorsport), Adderly Fong (Sino Vision Racing), Rookie Class winner Hylkema and a distant Sakurai, a lap down. On the podium afterwards Foresti drew the 8 ball from the bag, thus meaning he will start tomorrow's sprint race from 8th on the grid.
Fastest laps went to Foresti and Hylkema.