With the championship decided in both the Championship and National Classes, the pressure was off to a certain extent, although the runner-up slot is still being hotly contested, in particular between Bruno Senna (Raikkonen Robertson...
With the championship decided in both the Championship and National Classes, the pressure was off to a certain extent, although the runner-up slot is still being hotly contested, in particular between Bruno Senna (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) and Oliver Jarvis (Carlin Motorsport). Senna was starting the race from the front row, alongside his team-mate Mike Conway, who'd claimed pole. However, Jarvis was back in 5th, his fastest lap having been disallowed after he was found guilty of speeding in the pit lane during qualifying. That didn't matter. Jarvis was not about to let the Brazilian get the better of him. It was bad enough that Carlin had lost out to Double R in the overall title fight. They weren't having second as well if Ollie had anything to do with it.
He proved his serious intent at the start of the race. While Conway made a reasonable start, Jarvis got away as if he was jet-propelled, following Senna into Copse as Conway motored off into the distance. Both Yelmer Buurman (Fortec Motorsport) and Stephen Jelley (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) were caught on the hop by Jarvis's lightning fast start, and could only slot in behind the rookie. Meanwhile, newly crowned National Class champion Rodolfo Gonzalez (T-Sport) was having an awful time and was last again for some reason! He wasn't the only one to make a poor start, Maro Engel (Carlin Motorsport) was also struggling much as he had in the morning race, not helped by team-mate Christian Bakkerud making another blindingly fast start, though not quite as impressive as the one he'd made in the earlier race.
In the National Class, Cristiano Morgado (Fluid Motorsport) was again streaking away into the lead, ahead of Juho Annala (Performance Racing) and Alex Waters (Promatecme F3), the latter presumably now with re-attached mirrors so he couldn't be taken by surprise this time round.
At the front, Conway had a decent enough lead, though he wasn't exactly extending the gap between himself and Senna by any enormous amount. He looked set for a Sunday afternoon cruise to the flag, while further back there'd been something of a reshuffle. Jelley had gone missing, presumably after some sort of fracas with Buurman, while Alberto Valerio (Cesario F3) also plummeted down the order after having to take to the grass to avoid hitting Jonathan Kennard (Alan Docking Racing). That meant that Buurman now had the Hitech Racing duo of James Jakes and James Walker trying to catch him, though Walker had his hands full trying to hold off Bakkerud. Meanwhile, the recovering Jelley was trapped behind Morgado, while Valerio was even further back.
The Carlin boys, apart from Jarvis, who soon found himself running all alone in 3rd, were having an interesting race, with Bakkerud getting ever closer to Walker, while Engel was back in 9th and had Salvador Duran (Hitech Racing) all over him, while Jarvis was getting a bird's eye if distant view of Senna catching Conway. It wasn't by enough, but at least someone was trying to change the status quo; of course Conway really didn't need to do much, and every time Senna started to get close, he'd simply pull the gap back out again, setting the fastest lap of the race as he did so.
Back in the National Class, the new champion was continuing to have a bad time, his car now seemingly steaming or blowing out smoke. Whatever it was, it didn't bode well for the Venezuelan, and a lap later, the car having stopped smoking (presumably it had spat out all its oil after he ran over a kerb and damaged the gearbox), he was in the pits and out of the race. It didn't make a lot of difference, a Morgado was still comfortably ahead, while an annoyed but resigned Annala was bottled up behind his favourite person, Keiko Ihara (Carlin Motorsport). In the end he figured there wasn't a lot of point in trying to force his way past her and risk her pushing him off, as Morgado was so far ahead as to be uncatchable.
Shortly after Gonzalez's unhappy exit from the race, the National Class was reduced even further by the demise of Alex Water's pretty blue car. A clutch failure took him out of 3rd place, and frustrated him deeply, because he was certain he could have caught Annala for 2nd before the race ended. As things transpired, that would have been very significant for the youngster. Of course, Annala reckoned it would not have made any difference, because he was playing it safe behind Ihara.
Meanwhile, about the only activity was occurring around Valerio, who had now fought his way out of the National Class cluster (and past Alan Docking Racing's Karl Reindler) and was busy setting about Jelley. The latter was having a seriously unhappy afternoon, stuck back in 12th and not making up any more ground now. In fact he then managed to spin at Beckett's allowing Valerio through and onto the tail of Kennard. Reindler came into the pits sounding rough and retired after a less than stellar performance. The officials were busy at the same time being less than impressed by Jelley's performance, showing him the driving standards flag after he spun repeatedly in his attempts to make his car cooperate with him. Of all the people you could imagine being shown that flag, Stephen is the least likely candidate for what used to be known as the "ungentlemanly conduct" flag. It shows just how frustrated he has become in what should have been a far more successful season. Whether it was just to calm down, but he came into the pits and then rejoined almost immediately. He wasn't about to score any points, so he didn't lose anything by pitting, but it really wasn't an afternoon he'll want to remember.
That left Valerio free to have a go at Kennard, who promptly pushed the Brazilian off, leaving him wondering why he'd bothered taking evasive action earlier so as not to knock Kennard off. He was furious afterwards, though again as it was only 11th place in dispute it wouldn't have made much difference.
The field ran round in pretty much the same order all the way to the flag, except that with a lap and a half to go Morgado came lurching round seemingly trying to get some fuel between the tank and the engine. It didn't work and the car coasted to a halt on its way to Copse corner. He was out of the race and out of the lead of the National Class, handing victory to a rather surprised (as well as slightly amused) Annala. And that was it.
Conway won again, having netted the championship through sheer consistency as well as speed, and focus on his part. It's worth remembering that he has not retired form a race this season, which is remarkable reliability. Senna came home 2nd, ahead of Jarvis, Buurman, Jakes, Walker, Bakkerud, Stuart Hall (T-Sport), Engel and Duran. 11th was Kennard, from Valerio, Ihara, National Class winner Annala, Avila (the only other surviving National Class runner) and Jelley.
The extra points for the fastest laps went to Conway and Morgado, so at least the South African got something out of the afternoon.
Next Race Meeting: Thruxton, Hampshire, September 30th/October 1st.