With only seven cars again t was not the most exciting of races, and the conditions really didn’t help.
At Silverstone this morning Carlin import Egor Orudzhev slithered to victory over series leader Martin Cao (Fortec Motorsport) and another newcomer to the series, Marvin Kirchhofer, also in a Fortec car.
With only seven cars again (Sam Macleod who would normally be in the Fortec car is off racing in the German F3 series this weekend, Alice Powell is also unavailable for Carlin) it was not the most exciting of races, and the conditions really didn’t help.
Prior to the race, the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo gentlemen had been sent out for what was supposedly a 40 minute practice session. The rain was so appallingly heavy that they only managed around 25% of that before the red flags were hauled out. They were never to resume, the circuit workers struggling to repair the resulting broken barriers.
It was thus a wise decision to start the F3 race behind the Safety Car, although the rain had finally abated. It was lying in all the hollows around the track though, and the field appeared as a solid wall of spray as they left the grid on their formation lap.
Three laps later the race finally got underway, the Safety Car pulling into the pits and leaving the racers to wade round as best they could. Cao had started from pole, and he controlled the start nicely, but Orudzhev was on the attack instantly, looking for a way past the Chinese driver. Cao, who missed free practice because he was busy sitting his university finals yesterday morning, almost t himself trying to resist the Russian teenager.
Into Becketts, Cao had a lurid moment, sliding very wide as the car aquaplaned wildly, but he managed to hang on. However, that was the opportunity Orudzhev had been waiting for and he charged through into the lead before the lap was over. Cao was sliding all over the place in his efforts to get back at the Fortec driver, but he just didn’t have the answer and a spin at Luffield put an end to his hopes for victory. He was lucky not to lose 2nd as well.
Behind the lead pair Kirchhofer was holding off Andy Chang (Double R Racing) and Matt Rao (Fortec Motorsport) for 3rd, Rao having relieved Li Zhi Cong (Carlin) of 5th on the first racing lap. That left Camren Kaminsky (Fortec Motorsport) back in 7th but he soon found a way past Cong too.
Now it was a question of staying focussed and not falling off in the treacherous conditions. Orudzhev, despite this being his F3 debut, was apparently completely in control of the race, which was more than could be said for some of the others. Mind you, even the sure-footed Orudzhev had the odd moment of extreme wobbliness! It didn’t stop him extending his lead over Cao, especially when Cao aquaplaned at the end of the Hangar Straight.
Apart from that it was sadly about as exciting as watching paint dry. The conditions began to improve as the race wore on but the track never really dried out and although Cao was able to claw back at least some of Orudzhev’s lead by the flag. However, despite setting the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate lap, it wasn’t enough to get Cao back on terms. Whatever he tried, the Russian had the answer and he responded by setting an even faster lap on his way to the flag.
Orudzhev came home nearly 9 seconds clear of Cao, with Kirchhofer 3rd, from Chang, Rao, Kaminsky and Cong. The fastest lap was set by Orudzhev.
When the draw was made for Race 2, 5 was the number drawn, which means that 5th place finisher Rao starts from pole for the second F3 race of the day, late this afternoon.