- Harvey claims his first victory
- Nasr increases point lead
- Hylkema & Sakurai clash in Rookie Class
Nurburgring sees Harvey claim first victory, Nasr drives an intelligent race to increase points lead
For this morning’s sprint race at the Nürburgring, Rupert Svendsen-Cook (Carlin) started from the front, after his team-mate Kevin Magnussen (winner of yesterday’s race) drew the 8 ball from the hat to indicate that the 8th placed finisher in yesterday’s round of the British F3 International Series would be on pole and the rest of the top eight would be reversed on this morning’s grid. Nothing like keeping it in the team. And it was in that same spirit it seemed that Jack Harvey (Carlin) snatched the lead at the start and hung onto it all the way to the flag, leading Svendsen-Cook home to claim his first ever F3 victory. In 3rd, and more than slightly distant, was International Class debutant Pedro Nunes (Hitech Racing) who has raced with us before, but in the Invitation Class in 2009.
At the start, Harvey made a superb getaway to squeeze up the inside of Svendsen-Cook to claim the lead as they dived down towards the Mercedes grandstand and out into the countryside. Meanwhile, things had already got very messy in the pack with Fahmi Ilyas (Fortec Motorsport) and Pietro Fantin (Hitech Racing) involved in a clash that put both of them out of the race on the spot. It also necessitated the scrambling of the Safety Car, as the wreckage was moved to a safer place. Harvey settled in to lead the pack round, followed by Svendsen-Cook, William Buller (Fortec Motorsport), Antonio Felix da Costa (Hitech Racing), Nunes, Harry Tincknell (Fortec Motorsport), series leader Felipe Nasr (Carlin), Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin), Kevin Magnussen (Carlin) and Pipo Derani (Double R Racing). In 11th was Scott Pye (Double R Racing), Lucas Foresti (Fortec Motorsport), Adderly Fong (Sino Vision Racing), Menasheh Idafar (T-Sport), Hywel Lloyd (Sino Vision Racing), Bart Hylkema (T-Sport), Carlos Huertas (Carlin), Yann Cunha (T-Sport) and Kotaro Sakurai (Hitech Racing). Meanwhile Pye was in trouble about something, with his team manager being asked to report immediately to the race director.
At the restart, a couple of laps later, Harvey controlled it well, not allowing Svendsen-Cook a glimpse of daylight as he shut the door to maintain his lead. Behind them da Costa attempted to claim 3rd from Buller and nearly came a cropper as Buller cut across on him, forcing the Portuguese perilously close to the pit wall. Da Costa held his nerve and Buller span out, much as he did at Snetterton, while da Costa lost a handful of places, and it was every man for himself in the pack as they tried to avoid the incident. While Buller limped in with body work damage, the main beneficiary was Nasr, who avoided the chaos to leapfrog up to 4th, with Jaafar and Magnussen following him for 4th and 5th. Da Costa was now behind them in 6th, and Tincknell had also lost ground as a result, ending up 7th when the dust settled. Harvey, meanwhile was happily setting a new fastest lap of the race as he tried to open a gap from Svendsen-Cook.
A sudden outbreak of yellow flags at Turn 13 heralded the abrupt departure into a convenient gravel trap of Idafar, and Huertas, after the later tried to move up the order to where he can normally be found, having started from the back because he crashed out of yesterday’s race. Germany doesn’t seem to suit the Colombian at all. The race suddenly became very processional, after the early alarms and excursions, with about the only interest coming from Nasr, the latter sitting very close indeed to Nunes. It looked as if he might consider a move, at least if Nunes were to make a mistake. However, the intelligence the championship leader has been showing all season was very much in evidence this morning. No matter how much he wanted to pass his fellow Brazilian, he didn’t need to. Nunes is no threat to Nasr, having only just joined the series, and it is better to consistently score points if you want to be champion, than to throw it all away on an ill-considered move for 3rd, especially as the sprint race only carries half the points of the other races. Nasr knows all this and no matter how much he hates not winning, and make no mistake, he really doesn’t like not finishing first, he can see and smell the title now, and he is not about to mess that up.
As Harvey cruised round, setting a new fastest lap en route to the flag, in the Rookie Class it all suddenly got a bit alarming, when Hylkema suddenly appeared trailing the remains of his rear wing behind him. Sakurai made a late – and unsuccessful – lunge at the Dutchman at the Chicane, smiting him heavily in the rear and shredding the wing. Hylkema was lucky to be able to continue in what looked like a rerun of Brands Hatch, but this time Sakurai didn’t end up the winner, and they limped round in formation, with a pair of sorry looking cars to their name, so much so that by the time Hylkema completed the slowing down lap he looked to be running a Formula Ford car, the wing now lying somewhere in the German countryside.
And so, after a difficult first half of the season, Harvey came home to claim his first victory, ahead of Svendsen-Cook, Nunes, Nasr, Jaafar, Magnussen, da Costa, Tincknell, Derani and Pye. Foresti was 11th, which hasn’t helped his championship chances, from Fong, Lloyd, Cunha, Hylkema and Sakurai.
The fastest laps were set by Harvey and Hylkema.
Weather: Cold, windy, dry.