By: Lynne Waite and Stella-Maria Thomas, BF3 Correspondents
- Magnussen robbed of victory by engine misfire
- Nasr inherits a lucky win
- Da Costa snatches 2nd from Huertas on the final lap
In Germany this afternoon Felipe Nasr (Carlin) was a slightly surprised winner of the F3 feature race at the Nürburgring, after race long leader Kevin Magnussen (Carlin) fell victim to a misfire with two laps to go, the Dane ending up cruelly robbed of even a podium as the Volkswagen engine let him down big time. It was a race of contrasts, the first half proving rather dull, while the second sprung more surprises than the average Christmas morning.
No one could have predicted that Antonio Felix da Costa (Hitech Racing) would end up second on his first weekend in British F3, while Carlos Huertas (Carlin) was third and probably should have been far higher up the order if he and da Costa had not both been made to drop 3 grid places before the start for causing accidents in the first race. In the National Class Bart Hylkema (T-Sport) had a quiet afternoon to win the Rookie Class in a drive mercifully free of surprise attacks from Kotaro Sakurai (Hitech Racing).
At the start there was a certain degree of chaos from which Magnussen emerged in the lead, with Nasr right on his tail. Meanwhile, Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin) was dead last, the Malaysian forced to start from the pitlane after a fuel line came loose before the start. In the pack it was all a bit fraught too, with Pietro Fantin (Hitech Racing) almost tripping over Hylkema, as Adderly Fong (Sino Vision Racing) got involved too. While Magnussen and Nasr pulled away from Huertas, who was now 3rd just ahead of Lucas Foresti (Fortec Motorsport) and newcomer da Costa, the latter already pulling away from Rupert Svendsen-Cook (Carlin) who was backing up a half dozen or so of the others in a high speed train, elsewhere Hywel Lloyd (Sino Vision Racing) was in trouble, running very wide at the first corner, and struggling back on once everyone else had gone. The car sounded incredibly rough and he limped around as the pack vanished into the distance. Menasheh Idafar (T-Sport) was another in difficulties, reappearing from the pitlane into the fray just ahead of the leaders, something that was likely to make life interesting all around.
It wasn’t long before the leaders had to pass Lloyd, and just as the first few had gone past, the dreaded Safety Car boards appeared. Idafar had gone off terminally somewhere out in the countryside beyond the Arena. No one else was missing, so presumably he was in a precarious position. Just prior to that Scott Pye (Double R Racing) and Pedro Nunes (Hitech Racing) were having a bit of a tussle over territory, as were Jaafar and Jack Harvey (Carlin), the latter holding off his team mate until a move of his own on Pipo Derani (Double R Racing) let the Malaysian through and into 13th place.
As the pack slowed down behind the Safety Car it became clear there had been a bit of a sort out during the intervening lap, though Magnussen was still ahead of Nasr, Huertas, Foresti and da Costa. In 6th was Svendsen-Cook, from William Buller (Fortec Motorsport), Harry Tincknell (Hitech Racing), Fantin and Nunes, who had muscled his way past Pye, demoting the Australian to 11th. In 12th was Fahmi Ilyas (Fortec Motorsport), who would be Jaafar’s next target as soon as they were able to go racing again, from Derani, Harvey, Fong, Hylkema, Sakurai, Yann Cunha (T-Sport) who may have had something to do with Idafar’s departure, but may not have done, and Lloyd who was in the middle of the pack but a lap down.
When the Safety Car finally pulled in, leaving the remaining 20 runners to go racing again, Magnussen controlled it nicely, holding his lead despite Nasr’s proximity, while in the pack Jaafar gained another place by slipping past Ilyas while just ahead of them Buller ran wide in a wild move. Jaafar’s next victim was Pye, and it didn’t take him long to manage that, which made you wonder what might have been if he’d only started a little further forward as he should have done. Closer to the front da Costa was on the move too, diving through on Foresti at the first corner for 4th, and closing ominously on Huertas, earlier penalty or no earlier penalty.
As the race began to wind down to its conclusion and a second Magnussen victory looked to be on the cards, the field became increasingly strung out, with the exception of the top two, Nasr waiting and watching for his chance should it come. Which made Sakurai’s odd lap about 4 from home rather difficult to explain, the Japanese slowing right down for no apparent reason, only to have to serve a drive through penalty for not respecting the track limits. He was so far back that it didn’t make much difference to the overall pattern. As the Japanese came in and went back out, in the pack Ilyas suddenly went missing from behind Fong, which may have explained the bout of fisticuffs in parc ferme later too. Certainly Fong seemed aggrieved about something.
He wasn’t the only aggrieved individual in the collecting area at the end of the race. With two laps to go there was consternation in the Carlin camp. Nasr came round in the lead and Magnussen was nowhere near him. In fact he was just about to lose 2nd and then 3rd places to Huertas and da Costa, as the engine started to cough ominously. It seemed particularly harsh after so long at the head of the field for things to fall apart within sight of the flag. Nasr was surprised to suddenly find himself leading the race with less than 4 minutes to go, but he’s not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. A long way behind him, it was all still to play for for 2nd, and da Costa made a dive at Huertas on the final lap, to the Colombian’s evident displeasure afterwards. In fact the mood in the paddock was nowhere as sunny as the weather, with only Nasr in apparently cheerful mood as they finished work for the day. So Nasr increases his point lead to 76 over Foresti, who finished 4th today behind da Costa and Huertas. Behind him, Magnussen hung on for 5th but was utterly furious afterwards, quite rightly feeling he’d been robbed. Svendsen-Cook came home a steady 6th, from Buller, Fantin, Tincknell and Nunes. Jaafar just missed out on the points in 11th place, leading home Pye, Derani, Harvey, Fong, Cunha, Rookie Class winner Hylkema, Sakurai, Lloyd (who remained a lap down) and Ilyas who was classified 20th though not running at the finish.
Fastest race laps went to Magnussen and Hylkema.
Weather: Sunny, breezy.
Next Rounds: Rounds 16-18, July 15th/17th, Paul Ricard, France