At Silverstone this morning Felix Serralles (Fortec Motorsport) took victory in the sprint race despite only starting 3rd while chaos reigned throughout. In the end the Puerto Rican survived a penultimate lap scare to regain the championship lead with four races still to go. 2nd on the road was Jack Harvey (Carlin), who had been leading before the race started. He would later be awarded a 30 second penalty which passed 2nd to Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin), the only other man who could still take the 2012 title. 3rd was Pietro Fantin (Carlin). The National Class victory went to Duvashen Padayachee (Double R Racing).
At the start Pipo Derani (Fortec Motorsport) took the lead from pole, while Harvey, Serralles and Alex Lynn (Fortec Motorsport) all went with him. Further back Pedro Pablo Calbimonte (T-Sport) appeared to jump the start before hesitating while in the mid-pack Harry Tincknell (Carlin) started out of position, something that was flagged up almost immediately.
A lap later and Harvey saw an opportunity to seize the lead from Derani at Brooklands, getting ahead of the Brazilian only to be hit amidships by Derani. Harvey went straight on and ended up in 3rd by the time he’d got it pointing the right way, while Derani limped away in 4th, handing the lead to Serralles who seized it with both hands. Afterwards the stewards would judge that Harvey was at fault though he was adamant that Derani had been to blame.
With front suspension damage Derani could do nothing to hold off either Jaafar or Fantin, and was soon passed by everyone. In the National Class Padayachee was leading but had Calbimonte all over him, The Bolivian eventually finding a way past to claim the class lead. He wouldn’t keep it long though.
At the front Lynn was setting about Serralles while holding off Harvey, and Jaafar was gaining on the three of them hand over fist. This was getting very tense with all to play for in the championship fight. As the race developed though, the next change came when Calbimonte went off at Becketts, causing yellow flags and handing the National Class lead to Padayachee.
At about the same time Tincknell was awarded the expected drive through penalty and Derani limped into the pits and into retirement. Lynn was back on the attack for the lead, sizing up Serralles at about the same time that Harvey decided to try and wrest 2nd from the Englishman. It didn’t quite work and Harvey had to settle back into 3rd again and return to keeping an eye on Jaafar. A lap later and Lynn was again attacking Serralles and again failing to get through, while behind the squabbling leaders Fantin was recovering with the fastest lap of the race, but then he wasn’t being held up.
A lap later and Lynn was again on the offensive, having a good look to see if he couldn’t find some sort of chink in the Puerto Rican driver’s armour that would enable Lynn to finally win a race this season. While they were doing that, Tincknell came in to serve his drive through penalty, rejoining back in 13th overall, and it was starting to look as if he might not be the only one, with Jaafar and van Asseldonk both getting warnings about the track limits. Ironically, Tincknell also got a warning straight after rejoining the race, and then Carlos Sainz Jr (Carlin) was also the recipient of a warning. This was starting to feel a bit silly actually…
Jaafar seemed to take the warning to heart and dropped back a little, but then had to contend with Fantin and Rupert Svendsen-Cook (Double R Racing) who both started to harass the young Malaysian. And just behind them Hannes van Asseldonk (Fortec Motorsport) had been joined by Geoff Uhrhane (Double R Racing) and Nick McBride (ThreeBond with T-Sport) in a three way scrap for 8th place. Certainly in the closing stages of the race Jaafar was coming under immense pressure, as was van Asseldonk.
With the flag in sight, and less than two laps left to run, it all went a bit pear-shaped at the front when Serralles ran a bit wide and dropped two wheels in the dirt as he and Lynn came out of Aintree. Lynn spun in avoidance and handed 2nd to Harvey. Lynn was 6th when he finally managed to get moving again but that was his challenge over with no time left to recover.
And so – despite not being very happy with the car – Serralles won to move back ahead in the championship battle. 2nd was Jaafar, from Fantin, Svendsen-Cook, Lynn, Sainz Jr., van Asseldonk, Uhrhane, McBride and National Class winner Padayachee. 11th was Richard “Spike” Goddard (T-Sport), from Harvey and Tincknell.
The fastest laps of the race were set by Fantin and Padayachee.
Weather: Hot, sunny, dry.
Byline: Lynne Waite and Stella-Maria Thomas