Double R Racing’s Duvashen Padayachee rounded off his maiden season of Formula 3 action with a final round National Class podium at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, 30th September, to bring the curtain down on a successful first year in the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series.
Ending the season second in the National Class driver standings, the Australian wasn’t able to add to his tally of six victories but third place in round 29 of the campaign delivered a positive conclusion to the 2012 championship for Woking-based Double R.
In all three encounters the Dallara-Mercedes drivers sandwiched rival Nick McBride’s car and the trio couldn’t be separated across the 62 laps of action over the weekend – absolutely nothing between them in terms of performance.
“It’s not been the weekend we’d hoped for with Rupert and Geoff, although we did improve our pace throughout”, added Hieatt, “Qualifying was key, as it has been all year, and that’s where we needed to make most improvement. Donington is such a difficult track to overtake on in an F3 car, where each driver started is pretty much where they finished in most cases.”
Round 27 on Saturday afternoon was very uneventful for the Double R trio with Svendsen-Cook finishing in ninth place, Uhrhane just missing out on the points in 11th and Padayachee taking fourth in the National Class.
Svendsen-Cook, lining-up 10th on the grid, made an excellent getaway from the line to surge past McBride for ninth place on the run to Redgate but Uhrhane couldn’t quite follow suit and had to tuck in behind his compatriot through the first corner.
Initially pressuring Harry Tincknell for eighth early on, as the race wore on Svendsen-Cook had to settle for ninth as McBride and Uhrhane began to close in and apply pressure. In the end, Uhrhane was just 0.4 seconds shy of the top 10.
Padayachee, meanwhile, moved up into third in class on the opening lap following a spin by title rival Spike Goddard and held the place until lap nine when his fellow Australian was able to move ahead once more and, in doing so, make certain of the National Class crown.
For Sunday morning’s first encounter, round 28, Svendsen-Cook started ninth with Uhrhane 11th and the latter made a good start to move alongside McBride into the first corner but couldn’t quite make 10th place his on the exit.
At the Old Hairpin though, a tangle between Alex Lynn and Jazeman Jaafar promoted Double R’s International Class duo into seventh and ninth respectively where they remained to the flag in a near carbon-copy of the previous day’s race. National Class runner Padayachee was again fourth in class from lights to flag in a very quiet outing for the 22-year-old.
Round 29, which was contested under darkening skies late on Sunday afternoon, due to earlier timetable delays, delivered the best performance of the weekend from Padayachee and after taking third in class on the opening lap he fought hard to fend off Pedro Pablo Calbimonte. On lap seven, a moment for Goddard dropped him back to fourth so Padayachee briefly moved into second.
The next time around, though, he fell victim to an attack from Calbimonte so slipped to third once more. Goddard elbowed the Double R man back to fourth again on lap 22 but the former dropped down the order two laps later, enabling Padayachee to claim the last spot on the podium.
As in the first race of the weekend, Svendsen-Cook ran in his starting position of ninth for the full duration of the 28-lapper but Uhrhane had to work his way back into 11th after falling behind National Class returnee Hywel Lloyd at the start. The Australian gained the place back on lap two and despite pressuring McBride heavily he just missed out on the points-paying top 10 by 0.4 seconds.
“We’ve really enjoyed working with Geoff and Duvashen over the course of the season, it’s always hard for rookie drivers in their first year but they’ve both shown a lot of promise”, commented team boss Hieatt, “Rupert’s been a pleasure to have driving with us for the last couple of events too, he’s come back into the series after a year away and performed well which was everything we could ask.”
With the British F3 season now concluded, Double R’s attention turns to the greatest Formula 3 race of them all, the standalone Macau F3 Grand Prix, which will take place seven weeks from now on Sunday, 18th November, in the former Portuguese enclave. The team’s driver line-up for Macau will be announced in due course.
Final 2012 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series Driver Standings:
11th Fahmi Ilyas, 48pts; 12th Geoff Uhrhane, 35pts; 13th Rupert Svendsen-Cook, 24pts
Final 2012 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series ‘National Class’ Standings:
2nd Duvashen Padayachee, 377pts
Source: Double R Racing