Seb Wins! Hohenthal Takes First British F3 Win Sebastian Hohenthal ( ...
Seb Wins! Hohenthal Takes First British F3 Win
Sebastian Hohenthal (#5 Fortec Motorsport) took the chequered flag for the first time in British F3 and the UK Formula Renault Champion couldn't hide his delight. Atte Mustonen (#26 Raikkonen Robertson Racing) took his maiden podium finish, with Marko Asmer finishing 3rd to extend his championship lead to 78 points over Maro Engel.
'Frankie' Cheng finished off a perfect weekend with another win and fastest lap from pole position in the National Class. With Sergio Perez finishing 2nd, the pair are level on points at the top of the table after 12 races.
Pole position holder Marko Asmer and Sebastian Hohenthal got a good start but not as good as third placed Sam Bird who shot between the lead pair before they had got off the line. Bird was off down Paddock Hill as Hohenthal dived to the inside of Asmer and pulled off a great overtaking maneuver at the first corner, with Atte Mustonen slotting in behind Asmer.
At the end of the opening lap Bird was already 2.4 seconds ahead of Hohenthal but then all became clear as the Carlin driver was judged to have jumped the start and would have to serve an drive through penalty, as would T Sport's Rodolfo Gonzalez for the same offence.
Gonzalez and Bird pitted on lap 4 and 5 respectively and this released Hohenthal, Asmer and Mustonen, the top three soon pulling away from 4th placed Niall Breen who had fellow Irishman Michael Devaney not far behind in the Ultimate Motorsport Mygale.
Further back Greg Mansell had a moment at Hawthorn's, hitting some gravel that had been thrown on the track by another car and spinning off. He rejoined but the car was too badly damaged and he retired.
In the National Class Alex Waters and Mike Meadows were also judged to have jumped the start and they came in to serve their drive through penalties at this point.
At the front Hohenthal was unable to break away from Asmer, the Estonian able to maintain a half second gap to his rival but unable to force the Swede into an error that would allow him to overtake. Mustonen was tracking the leading pair, maintaining a 1 to 2 second gap to the battling duo.
Meanwhile Devaney was on the back of Breen but in turn had Stephen Jelley pressurising him. This battle for 4th place raged for lap after lap until lap 18 when Breen made a mistake which allowed the Mygale to move ahead of the Carlin Dallara.
At the race drew to a close Asmer started to put further pressure on the leader, crossing the line on lap 19 just 0.4 seconds behind. However Asmer got too close at Sheene and slid wide onto the grass in the dirty air and Mustonen pounced to move in second place.
Hohenthal started the last lap with Mustonen now on his rear wing. The Finn tried to dive down the inside at Druids, and the two cars, briefly touched but Hohenthal was not wasn't going to be denied his first win. He held his nerve and crossed the line with his arm raised to his mechanics on the pitwall. Asmer recovered to finish 0.5 seconds behind Mustonen and a full second behind Hohenthal, the closest finish to a British F3 race since Thruxton last season.
In the National Class 'Frankie' Cheng made it a clean sweep of pole positions, fastest laps and race wins, with Sergio Perez unable to get on terms with his rival as he had Ricardo Teixeira's championship class car between him and Cheng for the majority of the race. Hamad Al Fardan made it a good day for Performance Racing with his 5th podium of the season.
Marko Asmer now holds a commanding 78 point lead over Maro Engel who could only manage a disappointing 7th place. Sam Bird picked up a point for the fastest lap despite finishing just outside the points in 11th place and is now 5 points behind Engel in 3rd place.
The next races are on the Grand Prix circuit at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on 27/28 July.