British Formula 3 Championship. Rounds 13 & 14, Castle Combe. 23 June 2002 Stunning win ror Alan Van Der Merwe. Alan van der Merwe took a stunning maiden British Formula 3 Championship race win at Castle Combe on Sunday after a brilliant drive...
British Formula 3 Championship. Rounds 13 & 14, Castle Combe. 23 June 2002
Stunning win ror Alan Van Der Merwe.
Alan van der Merwe took a stunning maiden British Formula 3 Championship race win at Castle Combe on Sunday after a brilliant drive at the Wiltshire circuit. The South African, in his rookie F3 season set the record straight in his Carlin Motorsport Dallara-Mugen Honda greeting the chequered flag in P1.
Alan had qualified fourth for the race, once settling in to a rhythm on the fast yet bumpy Castle Combe circuit. "The car felt good and I felt comfortable," he said. "Now I know I'm getting to where I need to be."
In front of a crowd of more than 20,000, the biggest of the F3 season so far, van der Merwe made a great move on Heikki Kovalainen to take third into the first turn. "I boxed him in behind another car and I went around the outside."
At the beginning of the third lap, Alan then pulled off an audacious move to take second from Bruce Jouanny into Quarry, the first bend. "I got a run on Jouanny out of the previous corner. I didn't want to go to his inside, so I waited for him to cover that line and then went to the outside. He's always clean and races fairly, and I was able to get him on the outside."
Van der Merwe was now the effective leader, as first-placed James Courtney had been notified that he must serve a stop-go penalty for a false start. When the Australian stopped Alan moved in front for 20 laps ahead of Carlin team-mate Michael Keohane who was not posing any great threats to the South African driver.
"I leveled out at a comfortable pace and Michael was a bit quicker, but all I had to do was give a tenth of a second away each lap and keep it tidy. I knew that was better than pushing hard and possibly making a mistake.
"After James got his penalty I knew I was quick enough to keep the lead. I'm just so chuffed and I can't believe it's happened - at last!"
In the first race, van der Merwe posted another strong performance to take seventh place from 10th on the grid.