Round 8 of the 2013 British F3 International Championship was won by Felipe Lopes Guimaraes (Fortec Motorsport) after team mate William Buller embarked on what appeared to be a self-destruct mission from the very first seconds of the race (if not earlier).
In second, and moving to within a handful of points of the series lead, was Antonio Giovinazzi (Double R Racing), while returnee Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin) came home in 3rd. The National Class victory went to Ed Jones (Team West-Tec) after a tough battle with series leader Sun Zheng (CF Racing).
It was at the start that Buller’s troubles started when the Northern Irish driver stormed into the lead by the first corner. Unfortunately, his getaway was an obvious jump start, and no one was surprised when he was promptly awarded his second drive through penalty of the weekend for his second jump start.
It was made more obvious as pole sitter Tatiana Calderon (Double R Racing) was somewhat tardy getting away. That put Guimaraes into the lead on the timing screens, if not on the track, as Buller charged off into the distance in pursuit of a point for fastest lap.
In the National Class Zheng was leading, while Jones, who started from the back, was up a place on Chris Vlok (Team West-Tec) and in pursuit of the rest of the National Class. He seemed to be a man on a mission too, but at least his wasn’t to throw away as many points as possible.
On lap two Buller got his fastest lap, but he needed to come in and soon. Certainly the Clerk of the Course was going to want a word at some point, as he already did with Buller’s team manager, who was being called to the office with immediate effect.
A lap later and Buller came in, promoting Guimaraes to the on track lead, ahead of Jann Mardenborough (Carlin), ahead of Giovinazzi, Jaafar, Jordan King (Carlin), Nicholas Latifi (Carlin), Buller, Calderon, Sean Gelael (Double R Racing), Zheng, Zhi Cong Li (Carlin), Cameron Twynham (Team West-Tec), Jones and Vlok.
As Guimaraes started to pull away, Latifi was given a warning for exceeding track limits, while Giovinazzi set about trying to find a way past Mardenborough. While Guimaraes was looking a bit ragged, it was nothing compared to Mardenborough, who was all over the place as he tried to defend himself in 2nd. At least they weren’t being bothered by Jaafar and King, who were fighting it out for 4th now.
In the National Class Jones had gained another place and was now 2nd in class, behind Cong Li on the track, while Buller was back up in 7th now, and pressing on. The next track limits warning came now too, when Guimaraes was warned. It seemed to calm him down a little, probably helped by the realization that he was over two seconds ahead and he really didn’t need to put himself under pressure.
Half way through the race Guimaraes was still leading and looking increasingly comfortable, while behind him the battle for 2nd raged on, Mardenborough unable to shake off Giovinazzi whatever he tried. The attack eased a little when the double waved yellow flags were hauled out after Vlok went off at Clarke Curve and ended up in the gravel.
However, the respite didn’t last long and they were soon at it again, Mardenborough earning a warning for not respecting track limits. It could have been worse; Latifi was past the warning stage, and had now been awarded a five second penalty for the same offence.
With the penalty applied that meant Buller was ahead of Latifi although he was behind on the road. He soon got by to make it a reality and, having got by at Surtees, set off after King. Meanwhile Mardenborough had a bit of a wobble at Sheene, and went off piste, letting Giovinazzi through, as well as Jaafar and King. Just to add to the fun Jones was now right on Zheng’s trail for the National Class.
With ten laps left, almost unnoticed, Buller was awarded his second penalty, this time a five second penalty for not respecting track limits, at much the same time that Latifi was hit with his second penalty, of 30 second, for continuing to ignore track limits at Paddock Hill Bend. His team manager was requested to present himself at race control immediately.
Buller continued in his all-out pursuit of Mardenborough for 5th, getting past the Englishman easily and pulling ahead to the point where he had theoretically negated the 5 second penalty. Latifi meanwhile was now classified last but one despite being 8th on the road. He was joined in the closing stages of the race by Buller, who had now completely thrown away anything he might have salvaged from this race by collecting his third penalty in 30 minutes, with a 30 second penalty. Sometimes it seems that drivers never learn.
And so Guimaraes came home to claim his first victory in the series: “I thought I got a good start until I saw Will overtake and I thought incredible! Then I saw he had a drive through so he was too fast… It was tough for us and we struggled all weekend to find a better set up for me. Today it was better, and I was faster lap by lap, getting more competitive without going off the track limits. I was praying hard for God to help me get this win.”
Giovinazzi was 2nd, which puts him 3 points behind series leader Buller, and 3 behind King: “I had a good start and passed four cars in the first lap after a mistake in corner 7. The car was good and I was catching Guimaraes but there are few places where you can overtake here. I hope for next race I can do better.”
A delighted Jaafar was 3rd, in what he felt was a good race: “I got a good start and in the first two corners I got three cars and then I heard over the radio that Will got a drive through. That made it possible to catch Antonio, and then Mardenborough went off so I continued on and had a good race.”
4th went to King from Mardenborough, Gelael and Calderon. In 8th was National Class winner Jones, who seemed relieved rather than pleased. ”Yesterday was difficult getting through traffic but it is better today. Our pace was faster than the other guys in the class so I pulled a big gap and then just concentrated on keeping it on the track.” Buller was classified 9th, from Latifi, then came Zheng, Cong Li and Twynham. Fastest laps went to Buller and Jones.