- Magnussen holds off Nasr for win
- Tincknell stuns with 5 place gain at the start
- Hylkema wins Rookie Class yet again
Magnussen held off his Carlin team mate Nasr for race 1's victory at Nurburgring
At the Nürburgring this afternoon, Kevin Magnussen (Carlin) picked up his third victory of the season despite constant pressure from team mate and series leader Felipe Nasr, as the two of them cruised off into the distance, leaving fast-starting Harry Tincknell (Fortec Motorsport) to fend off Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin) for 3rd, the Malaysian having lost the place at the start. In the Rookie Class Bart Hylkema (T-Sport) was never challenged by the other runner in the class, Kotaro Sakurai (Hitech Racing), in part because they were both having to keep clear of the drivers who had been penalised a number of grid slots for ignoring yellow flags during the morning’s qualifying session.
Magnussen got off to a good start, and was well ahead by the time they reached the first corner, and although Nasr was able to go with him, he couldn’t do anything about the young Dane without risking problems himself, and much as Felipe wants to win, he apparently wants the title more and has worked out that by scoring consistently he can improved the likelihood of claiming it. With Tincknell rocketing up from 8th at the start for 3rd, they were both lucky he didn’t manage to come past them as well. Meanwhile, Yann Cunha (T-Sport) was trailing behind the pack, while a little further ahead Rupert Svendsen-Cook (Carlin) ran very wide and lost ground. The marshals rushed out to pick up some debris at the first corner after the pack had gone, and it looked as if we might get away without any problems. However, before the lap was out Carlos Huertas (Carlin) was gone, lost in the mayhem and Pipo Derani (Double R Racing) had dropped to last.
Jack Harvey (Carlin) was one of the few to benefit at the start, leapfrogging to an impressive 6th after some opportunistic driving, though sadly he wouldn’t hold it for very long. A lap later he lost a place to Antonio Felix da Costa (Hitech Racing), while elsewhere Svendsen-Cook was trying to improve on the slightly messy start he’d managed to make. Nasr might well have been laughing out loud at the news that Lucas Foresti (Fortec Motorsport) was back in 10th and only just in the points, which cannot have been what he was hoping for given he’s one of the main challengers to Nasr for the title at present. Someone who was unlikely to challenge Nasr, at least this time out, was Pedro Nunes (Hitech Racing), who managed to barge his was past Pietro Fantin in another of the Hitech cars, thus setting up an intra-Brazilian battle that raged for the rest of the 15 laps.
Pushing on behind Magnussen, Nasr snagged himself a couple of fastest laps, and looked as if he might get the extra point for it, but Kevin had other ideas and was able to respond whenever the Brazilian got too close for comfort. Meanwhile there was a bit of a train building up behind Foresti, but it never really looked likely to make a difference to the end result. The race was proving very processional, and paint drying would likely have been more exciting. The lead pair continued to pull away into the distance, and otherwise any changes tended to happen at the back of the field, and to be the result of mistakes rather than skill or overtaking ability. It wasn’t a race designed to thrill the casual spectator. If you wanted to watch anything happen, then Hywel Lloyd and Adderly Fong, both driving for Sino Vision Racing, were your men. Lloyd passed Hylkema to put some distance between himself and Fong only for it all to go wrong a little later.
Before that, though Menasheh Idafar (T-Sport) was holding off Foresti (who seemed quite keen on the idea of moving up a place but unable to make it happen because he was had to watch out for Nunes) in the fight for 9th place. Ahead of them da Costa was giving William Buller (Hitech Racing) a bit of trouble as he tried to take 5th of the regular runner.
By the time the halfway mark was reached, most of the penalty boys had managed to find their way past the Rookie Class pair of Hylkema and Sakurai, with the exception of Derani who seemed to be having a somewhat lacklustre afternoon, despite the presence of his mentor, Antonio Pizzonia, the 2000 British F3 Champion. It did briefly look as if there might be an outbreak of tension as things bottled up behind Jaafar, but it wasn’t long before both Buller and da Costa dropped away, too engrossed with their own private battle to be able to stay in touch with the Malaysian. Meanwhile, Cunha and Lloyd had both dropped right back again, and would have to overtake the Rookie Class once more. They may well have had a slight coming together, and if they did the beneficiary was Scott Pye (Double R Racing) who had been between them and now found himself promoted to 14th! The top 10 were now pretty settled, with Magnussen still leading comfortable despite Nasr looming in his mirrors, Tincknell running just ahead of Jaafar, Buller with da Costa still breathing down his neck, and Harvey holding off Svendsen-Cook, Idafar and Foresti. The way they were pairing up, it was as if they had chosen their partners and were just waiting for the music to strike up.
A lap later and Derani had passed Fong for 15th, the Brazilian seeming to be more than a little frustrated at having all this work to do. However, he shouldn’t have been back there really, so he only had himself to blame. At the front Nasr closed the gap to Magnussen again but still couldn‘t quite get close enough, while Jaafar tried the same with Tincknell.
With four laps to go Pye finally found a way past Fahmi Ilyas (Fortec Motorsport) for 13th while Lloyd passed Sakurai for the second time in this race, this time managing to make it stick. He further improved a lap later when he was able to overtake Cunha, but that still only moved him to 18th, which wasn’t too impressive considering he’d been up quite a lot higher than that when it all fell apart. As desperation set in in some quarters, there was a welter of warnings issued on the subject of respecting the track limits, with Idafar and Fantin getting the first ones, following by da Costa, Cunha and Fong the next time they all came round. It’s odd how they can be warned that they will be penalised, but it often doesn’t sink in until it really happens, and then almost immediately afterwards, rather in the nature of goldfish, the seem to forget before the cash has left their wallets to pay the fines,
Magnussen coasted home to a fine win, holding off Nasr all the way to the flag, while Tincknell was a delighted 3rd ahead of Jaafar, Buller, da Costa, Harvey, Svendsen-Cook, Idafar and Foresti. 11th was Nunes, from Fantin, Pye, Ilyas, Derani, Fong, Lloyd, Hylkema, Cunha and Sakurai.
The fastest laps were set by Magnussen and Hylkema.
Weather: Changeable as only the Eifel can be.