Marshall takes first F3 win after slicks gamble
Australian Marcus Marshall was the surprise winner of the second Avon Tyres British Formula Three race on Silverstone's Grand Prix circuit, as all but two drivers started on wet tyres on a track that was to dry out as the race went on. Frenchman Vasilije Calasan, finished ninth overall and took Scholarship Class victory for a second time.
Portugal's Alvaro Parente and Brazilian Danilo Dirani pitted at the end of the warm-up laps before fighting through the field to finish second and third respectively. Brazil's Nelson Piquet Junior was the highest finisher on wet tyres, in fourth.
As the field lined up on the grid, a shower caught most teams out, but the rain had only drenched the North side of the 3.2-mile circuit -- the other side was virtually dry. "It wasn't raining down there [at the South end]," said Marshall, who started 14th. "I just thought 'it's a patch here, it hasn't really rained much today, let's go for it!' I had to take a risk, didn't I?"
The field had two warm-up laps to assess the conditions and Carlin team-mates Parente and Dirani went into the pit lane to change to slicks as the rest of the field headed for the grid.
Piquet converted pole position into the lead, with Rob Austin getting alongside Adam Carroll in an attempt to get second. By the end of the Hangar Straight though, Austin would lead from Piquet, with Carroll third.
Piquet was to get the lead back on lap four with an impressive move around the outside of Stowe corner, but Austin did not give in, attacking at the complex. The Menu F3 driver only succeeded in letting Will Power up into second, however. Carroll was falling down the order at this point and, after dropping out of the top ten, would only score a point thanks to a change to slicks enabling him to set the fastest lap.
As the track dried out, it became clear that slick tyres were much faster and Marshall began to carve through the field, as the Carlin duo began to catch and work their way through the field from the back. It took the Australian until lap nine to get to the front, with Parente getting second on the same lap, Dirani was third two laps later. The trio then pulled away from Piquet, who finished over 47 seconds behind Marshall, who was less than a second ahead of Parente at the end.
"I was taking it fairly easy and then I had to start pushing because I'd actually forgotten about those two pitting," said Marshall. "I was concentrating on everyone else, I thought I was the only one on slicks so I was in my own world, singing while I was driving around!"
In the Scholarship Class Ryan Lewis and Stephen Jelley came together at Luffield, giving Lewis a puncture and damaging Jelley's suspension. Lewis would manage another lap before going off with the flat tyre, while Jelley would be passed by Calasan before spinning back and finishing fourth. The result means that Lewis needs to score just 14 points at the next meeting, at Thruxton on Bank Holiday weekend, to wrap up the Scholarship title.