Smith & Davies victorious at Silverstone
In front of a record crowd of 24,500, British drivers Guy Smith and Jamie Davies scored a win apiece in the opening two rounds of the British Formula 3 Championship at Silverstone's new International circuit on March 31. For Smith, it was a dream start to his F3 career - he began each race from pole position, a remarkable feat for a man completely new to the formula.
Race 1 was halted on the startline, a collision littering the track with debris. At the restart, Smith made a perfect getaway to pull out a comfortable lead in the early stages. He was never threatened by his second-placed team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya (Columbia), who drove well on his championship debut to pass and then hold off the attentions of Davies. Smith stretched his legs and scored an emphatic 1.45s victory. It was a remarkable performance by Smith's team, Fortec Motorsport, and marked the first time that the Mitsubishi engine had scored a 1-2 result.
Race 2 was another thrilling affair, with last year's championship runner-up, Ralph Firman, getting away from second on the grid to lead the race. A hard challenge by Smith on the opening lap saw him momentarily take the lead, but Firman used all of his F3 experience to get back in front as Smith slithered wide and back into fourth place. James Matthews made a great start in his Renault-powered car to hold an early second, but Davies was too strong for him and squeezed up into second on lap two.
With Firman never more than 1.2s ahead, Davies had him in his sights. By lap 11 of 15, he had caught and passed him and went on to record his first F3 victory. Firman was a disappointed second, with Smith recovering strongly to take third.
After two rounds of the championship's 16, Davies leads the series with 33 points, ahead of Smith (32), Firman (26), Kurt Mollekans (16), Matthews (16) and Montoya (15).
Next round: Thruxton, April 14.
-- Best in British Motor Sport http://www.demon.co.uk/racing