<pre> 2001 Green Flag British Formula Three Championship Rounds 1 and 2 - Silverstone, March 31st/April 1st </pre> by Stella-Maria Thomas and Lynne Waite - Motorsport.com Round 1: Weather: Cloudy, dry With the weather cool but...
<pre> 2001 Green Flag British Formula Three Championship Rounds 1 and 2 - Silverstone, March 31st/April 1st
</pre> by Stella-Maria Thomas and Lynne Waite - Motorsport.com
Weather: Cloudy, dry
With the weather cool but settled, the huge field lined up to take the start. Unfortunately, pole sitter Jamie Spence (Duma Racing) took it a little too soon and then braked hard after what would most likely have been enough of a jump start to get him a 10 second penalty had he only survived long enough. Really he would have been better advised to just keep going and try and get far enough ahead to offset a penalty. Anyway, it was all pretty much academic as it turned out. The field got away cleanly in the main, including Kiesa who stalled and was somewhat tardy joining the fray. Considering the number of rookies on the grid, this was only just short of miraculous really. Spence then messed up at Copse, causing James Courtney (Jaguar Racing F3) to have to lift and allowing Paul Edwards (Alan Docking Racing) to get past the Aussie and alongside Spence. In a remarkably cool move he pulled ahead by driving round the outside of Spence. Spence defended hard but by Becketts the American had got the better of him. Spence's day just got worse as he then became embroiled in a scrap with Takuma Sato (Carlin Motorsport). The Japanese had taken advantage of Courtney's avoidance of Spence and could now see the front of the field. He wanted to be there. Spence didn't want to let him be. Three laps into the race, Spence was off and Sato was dropping back down the field, letting Courtney through to second. As far as victory was concerned, it wasn't long before it was all over for Edwards. The Jaguar driver was closing rapidly on him and it could only be a matter of time before he got through. After a somewhat Formula Ford style manoeuvre on the start/finish straight, where Courtney gave the ADR car a clearly audible smack in the gearbox, he pressured the American into a mistake on lap 7 and was through and away to his first F3 win. Presumably the team would forgive him for the fact that he spent part of the pit-lane walkabout/autograph session defacing his own publicity photos... Edwards, who seems to be refreshingly honest for a racing driver, didn't even bother to mention the incident to the team, and merely regretted that he had been unable to hold onto his lead.
The man causing the most trouble appeared to be Takuma Sato, who was trying to recover from his earlier assault on Spence. He had been hit by Jeffrey Jones (Manor Motorsport) early on (which dropped the American down the order and also his team-mate Mark Taylor, who picked up some of the resulting debris - Jones' wing in fact - and ended up in 30th place) and now he wanted to play with Gianmaria Bruni (Fortec Motorsport). Now Gimmi isn't one to just let a fellow driver by and the result was a collision and a further loss of places for Sato. After that he had a minor tussle with Nick Kiesa (Prost Junior Team) before he seemed rather to run out of steam, to everyone's relief.
Edwards was still losing ground, the car just not handling as he wanted. He had no choice but to let his teammate Andy Priaulx through, and lost a further place to Derek Hayes (Manor Motorsport). Hayes was delighted to make it to the podium, and Edwards remained philosophical throughout but could count himself lucky that the race ended when it did, as Bruni was closing in on him fast for 5th place. In 6th after a terrific run through the field that had mostly gone unnoticed was Matt Davies (Avanti), who had started 13th but would start the next race from pole position. Anthony Davidson (Carlin Motorsport) would finish 7th, ahead of Kiesa. The Dane, having survived Sato's attack, put in a drive to match Davies when he had to come back from 17th at the end of lap 1. Martin O'Connell (Avanti), was 9th while Atsushi Katsumata (Promatecme) inherited 10th place and the final point after the unfortunate Andre Lotterer's engine blew halfway through the race. German drivers have tended to have as bad a time at Stewart or whatever it's now being called as the Scots - just ask Otto Rensing - although for Andre's sake it is to be hoped his season gets better soon.
Jeffrey Jones, despite being minus his Dallara's front wing for most of the race, was just outside the points, while Sato, after an eventful morning, was 12th. Rob Austin missed most of the action to come home 13th, while Taylor had made up 15 places in as many laps to end the race on 14th. It was a pity no one really noticed what he was up to.
In the Scholarship Class Matthew Gilmore (Performance Racing) was the eventual winner, after the early leader Adam Blair got a bit crossed up and ended up on the grass and out of the points. Taking advantage of his teammate's misfortune, Matt was through and would never be challenged again, setting the fastest lap as well for the extra point. Alex Gurney followed him home and that left Michael Keohane (Team Meritus) and Mark Mayall (Diamond Racing) to fight it out for second in class, Keohane finally gained the advantage, having hacked his way up the order from 8th on the grid. 4th in class was Ernani Judice (Parker F3), who was followed by Tim Spouge (Menu Motorsport), another somewhat troubled Class A runner. Robert Doornbos (Fred Goddard Racing) was 5th ahead of Kazuki Hoshino (Carlin Motorsport), Stuart King (Shift), and Craig Murray (Aztec International), despite driving a car that sounded truly appalling. Justin Sherwood (Performance Racing) was 9th and the last point went to Aaron Scott (Rowan Racing), who was 26th overall. The unfortunate Blair missed out completely although he was ahead of Parthiva Sureshwaren (ME Motorsport), Peter Nilsson (Team Meritus), and Shinsuke Yamazaki (Diamond Racing). Outside the top 30 were Rowland Kinch (Team PARK), Robbie Kerr (Fred Goddard Racing) and Harold Primat (Diamond Racing), the latter having had a couple of off course moments that left his Dallara with its rear wing at a strangely jaunty angle.
The retirements were few, which was surprising, with the Championship Class accounting for most of them. In addition to Lotterer and Spence, the non-survivors were Ryan Dalziel (Prost Junior Team) and Bruce Jouanny (Promatecme). Of the Scholarship Class runners, only Stuart Turvey (Gatelie International) failed to make it home.