Race Report – Round 11 (Race 3):
At Rockingham this afternoon Race 3 of the latest British F3 Series meeting proved a somewhat dull affair despite early issues. The race was won in dominant style by Jack Harvey (Carlin), this time making the most of his pole position to streak away into the lead and hold it all the way to the flag. He was too fast for Alex Lynn (Fortec Motorsport) who ended up 2nd, some distance ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr (Carlin), who ended a less than happy weekend with a podium that went some way to making up for his disappointment in the first two races. Duvashen Padayachee (Double R Racing) had an easy run to the National Class victory after his only rival Richard “Spike” Goddard (T-Sport) crashed out in a first lap incident not of his own making.
Harvey got off the line superbly at the start, as did Sainz who came charging past Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin) to snatch 3rd. He wasn’t the only one to make a rapid getaway. Pietro Fantin (Carlin) was moving fast too, possibly too much so. Whoever was to blame, and it certainly looked as if Fantin was at least partly implicated, the result was a messy transit through Yentwood, three cars off and a scrambled Safety Car. When the dust settled it became clear that the victims in the mayhem were the winner of Race 2, Harry Tincknell (Carlin) who had been hit hard up the rear, Geoff Uhrhane (Double R Racing) with front end damage and Goddard. They were relatively easy to get moving again, but all three of them limped into the pits immediately.
The order while the sort out was going was Harvey, from Lynn, Sainz Jr, Jaafar, Hannes van Asseldonk (Fortec Motorsport), Felix Serralles (Fortec Motorsport), Fahmi Ilyas (Double R Racing), Pipo Derani (Fortec Motorsport), Fantin and Nick McBride (ThreeBond with T-Sport). In 11th and destined for a lonely race now was Padayachee. Meanwhile, in the pits, Uhrhane was being fitted with a new front wing, while Tincknell and Goddard both climbed out and into retirement. By the time Uhrhane rejoined he was a lap and a half down and any chances of him recovering from the incident were long gone.
After just one lap the Safety Car came back in, and Harvey controlled the subsequent restart nicely. Behind him Sainz was harrying Lynn while Jaafar was coming under pressure from the group that was led by van Asseldonk, though he was having to keep an eye out for Serralles who was looking pretty feisty back in 6th. He had Ilyas and Derani having a bit of a battle in his rear view mirrors and to no one’s great surprise it resolved itself in favour of Derani, who slipped through reasonably easily.
The top three looked as if there might be some entertainment value to be had there, as Sainz caught Lynn into the Hairpin repeatedly, but the Spaniard lost out again further around each time and could make no impression of the Englishman despite his best efforts. That helped Harvey too, and he started to pull away rapidly, leaving the opposition to fight among themselves while he simply romped away.
Having been overtaken by Derani, Ilyas was now being harried by Fantin, who was keen to make amends for his early race rush of blood to the head (or whatever it was) and he had a couple of goes at Ilyas, though he couldn’t quite make it stick. Ilyas at the same time was being warned by the officials over track limits. It wasn’t his first warning of the weekend, which did make you wonder a bit as to what it takes to get a message to sink in for some drivers. A hammer perhaps?
And that was pretty much it for the racing side of the afternoon. Harvey continued to increase his lead, Lynn pulled away from Sainz, and the top three showed no sign of changing all the way to the flag. In 4th Jaafar had van Asseldonk a lot closer than he might have liked, but even that wasn’t coming to anything, and the resulting procession was only enlivened when the leaders came round to lap Padayachee. Given the Australian’s polite demeanour when caught by the leaders in the past, it was no surprise that he tucked neatly out of the way as soon as he saw the blue flags. So even that didn’t create any excitement; it did allow van Asseldonk to get just a little closer to Jaafar but the Dutchman was still nowhere near close enough to mount a challenge, and that threat too evaporated as if it had never existed.
And so Harvey won the third race of the weekend, to his obvious relief, while Lynn was also pleased with his 2nd place. Sainz would have preferred to come home with more than the last spot on the podium, and probably hopes never to see Rockingham again after the way it treated him. Jaafar was 4th, from van Asseldonk, Serralles, Derani, Ilyas, Fantin and McBride. 11th was Padayachee and Uhrhane finished 12th, 2 laps down and out of the points. The upshot is that Jaafar now leads the championship, from Harvey and Sainz. It is still very much all to play for.
The fastest laps of the race were set by Harvey and Padayachee.
Weather: Dry, clouding over.
Next Races: Rounds 12, 13 & 14, Brands Hatch, Kent, 24th/25th June.