Brands Hatch: Series preview

BRITISH F3 COMEBACK FOR ROBBIE KERR Robbie Kerr is to return to the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series next weekend (25/26 Sep). The 2002 British F3 Champion will race the Litespeed F3 team's Dallara at the season finale at ...


Robbie Kerr is to return to the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series next weekend (25/26 Sep). The 2002 British F3 Champion will race the Litespeed F3 team's Dallara at the season finale at Brands Hatch, a circuit at which Kerr is a past master.

"The team has asked me to come and help them out," said 30-year-old Robbie, "and I'm pleased to be able to do so. We are going to do a little testing and see if I can help them make some improvements."

Kerr has fond memories of Brands Hatch: he scored a win and a second place there for Team Great Britain in A1GP in 2008. Since then Robbie, who won nine races in '02 on his way to the British F3 title, has gone on to success in sports car and prototype racing.

"We've had a long-term relationship with Robbie, and as part of that ongoing relationship we've elected to put him in the car for Brands Hatch," said Litespeed team manager Steve Kenchington. "I have every confidence that he'll do a good job for himself, and of course for us."

Kerr's first outing in the Mercedes-powered car will come during next week's Rockingham F3 test sessions.


With a three-way duel in prospect for championship second and third, plus a mighty battle for the outcome of the National class title, next weekend's concluding rounds of the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit promise a fitting finale to a superbly exciting season.

The International championship crown was won last month by Jean-Eric Vergne, whose clinching of the title at Silverstone made him the first French champion of British F3. But the Red Bull Junior Team driver is still a man with a mission: he's already won 12 times and hopes to match, or even break, the record for the most victories in a single season, which stands at 14 to Jan Magnussen, the 1994 champion.

Vergne's other target is to retake the lead of the Sunoco Daytona Challenge, lost last weekend to Radical racer Ross Kaiser. A win and a second place at Brands Hatch, as well as a couple of poles and fastest laps, will net Jean-Eric the top prize: a drive in January's Daytona 24 Hours.

Three drivers have the chance to finish as championship runner-up: Jean-Eric's Carlin team-mate James Calado, Fortec driver Oli Webb, and young Brazilian Adriano Buzaid. There's a total of 54 points up for grabs at Brands Hatch, and Calado's lead over Webb stands at 28, with Buzaid a further eight points adrift.

Calado, 21 and from Worcestershire, has enjoyed an impressive maiden British F3 season in the Racing Steps Foundation-funded Dallara-Volkswagen; he has won three of this year's six Silverstone races and also triumphed at Thruxton.

"My main objective is to go for wins at Brands Hatch," says James "I think that's the best way to try to maximise points for second in the championship. Obviously it's very important I finish, even if it is behind Oli, as the gap between me and him is reasonable. I will go into the race the same as usual; the test was promising and I'm under no more pressure than normal."

Calado and Webb are also head-to-head in the Challenge Cup, the trophy for British drivers; James is currently 22 points in front.

Mercedes-powered Mancunian Webb can claim the satisfaction of having been the only driver this year other than Vergne to lead the championship. Oli's moment in the sun endured for the week after the Magny-Cours races, of which he won two for Fortec. Alas podium visits have been thinly spread in the meetings since, and hanging on to championship third will be Webb's chief goal. Which may prove tricky, given Buzaid's recent pace, which has brought him three seconds and a win from the last four races.

Says Webb: "I can't wait to get to Brands, the Grand Prix circuit is a great one and Fortec have been strong in the past there. I want some more wins before the season ends, and if that comes with second in the championship, then that's a great bonus."

Buzaid has a warning for the others: "I have nothing to lose going to Brands as I can't be beaten for fourth in the championship. I will be pushing hard for third. If a miracle happens I could still finish second. I'm confident we will have a good car there, and I will be giving it my all."

The other matter to be settled next weekend is the National class, and it's a straight fight between two men - both of them driving for the T-Sport team - in the shape of James Cole and Menasheh Idafar. Cole, the reigning Formula Ford title holder, has won the class 11 times and London-born Bahraini Idafar on 15 occasions, but the latter leads the championship by only four points because Cole has been the more consistent finisher.

Their fight has been so close all season that it is not beyond the realms of possibility they could end up tied on points, in which case the crown would go Idafar's way by dint of his superior win rate.

The season's other race winners, any of whom could repeat the feat at Brands Hatch, include first-season talent Rupert Svendsen-Cook, Hitech's Gabriel Dias, Fortec man Daniel McKenzie and Raikkonen Robertson racer Felipe Nasr.

This being the final race weekend of the season there are a number of drivers who will be wanting to end on a high note, none more so possibly than second-year F3 veterans Daisuke Nakajima and Carlos Huertas, neither of whom has won yet for the Raikkonen Robertson team, although both have knocked on victory's door.

Like the Japanese and Colombian, young Ulsterman Will Buller has been a regular podium finisher this year but he has yet to secure a win in his Hitech-prepared machine.

The other single-car teams looking to bring their seasons to a successful conclusion are the CF Racing with Manor squad, whose Hywel Lloyd has been edging closer to the front all year, and Sino Vision Racing and their combatant, Adderly Fong.

-source: bf3

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Series BF3
Drivers Jan Magnussen , Robbie Kerr , Daniel McKenzie , Carlos Huertas , Rupert Svendsen-Cook , William Buller , Gabriel Dias , Adderly Fong , Adriano Buzaid , Daisuke Nakajima , Steve Kenchington , Felipe Nasr , James Cole , James Calado , Menasheh Idafar , Ross Kaiser
Teams Carlin