Alan van der Merwe dominated the Formula Three meeting at Snetterton on the Easter weekend. The South African driver started from pole position for both races, won both races and led every single lap. Only Richard Antinucci setting the fastest lap...
Alan van der Merwe dominated the Formula Three meeting at Snetterton on the Easter weekend. The South African driver started from pole position for both races, won both races and led every single lap. Only Richard Antinucci setting the fastest lap in both races (van der Merwe was less than 0.1 seconds behind both times) prevented total domination of the weekend.
Van der Merwe made a great start to keep the lead but Nelson Piquet Jr in second place faltered off the line and was quickly passed by Jamie Green. There was carnage behind them though as two separate accidents eliminated five drivers and brought out the Safety Car. Will Davison, Scott Speed and Robert Dahlgren all collided at the first corner and were forced to retire. Ronnie Bremer and Adam Carroll then collided at the second corner and neither was able to continue.
After five laps touring at low speed the race resumed on lap seven. Van der Merwe made a blistering start and pulled out one second on his first lap and then pulled out a further half a second to a second on each of the next seven laps. Piquet meanwhile made another bad start and was passed by Rob Austin just after they crossed the line. Van der Merwe was still leading with Green second, Austin now third, Piquet fourth and Ernani Judice in fifth place. As the leader pulled off into the distance the three drivers behind him were closely following each other, usually within one second, but no one was able to pass.
On lap 13 Malaysian driver Fauzy Fairuz ran wide at Corum Curve. He struck a retired car and was sent flying into the air and into a roll. He was able to walk away uninjured, although he was rather shaken and taken away in an ambulance for precautionary checks. The Safety Car appeared for four laps to allow marshals to clear the damaged cars and repair the tyre barrier.
At the restart - the sixth time over the weekend that van der Merwe has had to defend his lead at a start or restart - the South African driver pulled out a 1.2 second gap that he held to the chequered flag. Behind him, meanwhile, Piquet went for an optimistic and ultimately unsuccessful passing attempt on Austin. This allowed past Richard Antinucci into fourth place and dropped Piquet to fifth.
A delighted van der Merwe eventually crossed the line 2.5 seconds ahead to take his third win in the championship. Green was second with Austin third, Antinucci fourth and Piquet fifth. Van der Merwe leads the championship with 76 points, ahead of Jamie Green second with 44 points and Nelson Piquet Jr with 35 points in third place.
The next rounds of the championship will take place at Croft circuit on 3rd and 4th May.