At Brands Hatch this afternoon, Max Chilton (Carlin Motorsport) finally strung it all together and streaked to victory after Daniel Ricciardo (Carlin Motorsport) made a poor start and ended up 4th overall. Riki Christodoulou (Fortec Motorsport)...
At Brands Hatch this afternoon, Max Chilton (Carlin Motorsport) finally strung it all together and streaked to victory after Daniel Ricciardo (Carlin Motorsport) made a poor start and ended up 4th overall. Riki Christodoulou (Fortec Motorsport) was 2nd overall after race long pressure from Invitation Class runner Marcus Ericsson (R?ikk?nen Robertson Racing) and Ricciardo. The National Class winner this time was Gabriel Dias (T-Sport) who headed home Daniel McKenzie (Fortec Motorsport) and Joe Ghanem (Carlin Motorsport).
At the start all eyes were on Ricciardo which meant you could have missed Chilton who, after a season of poor starts, finally got it spot on and streaked away into the lead. Behind him Ricciardo struggled to get the power down and was swamped by Christodoulou and Ericsson, while Henry Arundel (Carlin Motorsport) got he drop on Walter Grubm?ller (Hitech Racing) for 5th. Meanwhile Dias had hung onto the National Class lead and was looking reasonably comfortable. As it turned out, however, Chilton was unable to open much of a gap as a variety of incidents broke out that required yellow flags at various corners. It started with Ma Qing Hua (Team West-Tec) who never left the grid instead sitting there with what looked like a bent rear wing (though the team would later claim it was actually just an aerodynamic effect). As the marshals scrambled to remove the stricken Chinese driver, Hywel Lloyd (C F Racing) and Philip Major (Carlin Motorsport) clashed at Druids, Lloyd ending up in the gravel.
While Chilton tried to get away, Ricciardo pushed hard to try and recover some lost ground, with a fastest middle sector. He wasn't as quick as Chilton, mind, the leader setting a fastest lap as he enjoyed leading a race overall for the first time. Meanwhile Ericsson and Ricciardo were on Christodoulou's tail as they tore into Druids. Ricciardo took a good look, but couldn't quite make it and then things went badly wrong further back, when Max Snegirev (Team West-Tec) tried to hold off McKenzie and ended up crashing heavily at Westfield. The Safety Car had to be deployed and was soon out on track waiting for the leaders.
The order as they settled in was Chilton, from Christodoulou, Ericsson, Ricciardo, Arundel, Grubm?ller, Nakajima, Wayne Boyd (T-Sport), Adriano Buzaid (T-Sport) and Carlos Huertas (R?ikk?nen Robertson Racing). 11th was Victor Garcia (Fortec Motorsport), from Dias, Jay Bridger (Litespeed F3), Ghanem, McKenzie, Major and Victor Correa (Litespeed F3).
The restart was a long time coming, as Ma had to be towed away, and the wreck of Snegirev's car took a long time to shift. The driver himself was ambulanced away and the car looked fit only for the skip. It was an ignominious end to a less than glorious season for the Russian. Just for good measure Lloyd was rescued from Druids and on Lap 9 - after 6 laps behind the Safety Car - the race finally restarted with around 10 minutes left to run.
At the restart, Chilton did everything he needed, and was able to pull away while Ricciardo got on the tail of Ericsson and had another go at getting past the Swede. Dias, meanwhile, held his lead from Ghanem and McKenzie. After surviving the initial attack from Ricciardo, Ericsson broke away again and set about Christodoulou, desperately looking for a way round and failing to find it. Meanwhile Nakajima and Boyd were battling for 7th, with Boyd looking keen to get through is he could. At the front, Chilton continued serenely on his way, to claim Carlin Motorsport's 100th win in British F3, but other were somewhat less serene. Arundel had a queue of F3 cars behind him, with Grubm?ller, Nakajima and Boyd all running in close formation and all hoping for a mistake from Arundel. He kept his cool and held them all back, but in the end it didn't help him. He was awarded a 20 second penalty for starting out of position which dropped him out of the points and cost him two championship positions.
Meanwhile Ghanem got a track limits warning, and promptly started to behave properly again, and Buzaid was the next man to get a warning. Lessons had been learned since the morning race though and he too stopped what he was doing to avoid a penalty. And really, apart from that, there was little of interest in the final stages of the race. The top four remained very close, but there was always the dirty air issue that makes overtaking so difficult in F3, and so the order remained as it was, even though Christodoulou was having to concentrate very hard with Ericsson and Ricciardo still right on his tail. He wasn't helped by the fact that they all ended up doing one more lap than they might have wanted when the leader crossed the finish line with 2 seconds still on the clock, meaning the race would go to 21 laps in the allotted 30 minutes. It still didn't make any difference, and Chilton came home a delighted winner, while Ricciardo smoked his tyres out on the back straight and did celebratory doughnuts.
The order, then, in this final race was Chilton, from Christodoulou, Ericsson, Ricciardo, Grubm?ller, Nakajima, Boyd, Buzaid, Huertas and Garcia. 11th was National Class winner Dias, from Major, Arundel, McKenzie, Ghanem and Correa.
Fastest laps of the race went to Chilton, Ericsson and Dias.
Weather: Cool, cloudy.
Next Rounds: 2010.