Hartley Makes it 4 Different Winners in 4 Races Brendon Hartley took a lights to flag victory in Round 4 to score his first British F3 win and making it four different winners from four races. In the restarted race Sergio Perez finished 0.8 ...
Hartley Makes it 4 Different Winners in 4 Races
Brendon Hartley took a lights to flag victory in Round 4 to score his first British F3 win and making it four different winners from four races. In the restarted race Sergio Perez finished 0.8 seconds behind the Kiwi driver to put the Mexican at the top of the Championship table. Round 1 winner Oliver Turvey returned to the podium after overtaking Atte Mustonen four laps from home. Andy Meyrick notched up his 4th win in the National Class finishing well ahead of Salman Al Khalifa.
The cars lined up on the grid to start Round 4. Ricardo Teixeira would start the race in his Ultimate Mygale from the pitlane and as the lights went out Brendon Hartley got a good start to lead the 29 car field into the first corner at Clervaux with Marcus Ericsson and Sergio Perez battling for 2nd. Sam Abay also got a good start to move up a place at the expense of his Carlin teammate Oliver Turvey for 4th.
Perez and Ericsson were battling down the back straight with nothing separating the two cars as they exited Tower and charged towards Jim Clark Esses. Perez got his nose down the inside of Ericsson but both cars were offline and they touche, the Fortec Dallara spinning round across the track. Perez managed to avoid being collected by the spinning Swede but the cars following behind weren't so lucky and mayhem ensued. Abay went off in avoidance and was joined in the tyre wall by Henry Arundel, Esteban Guerrieri, Oliver Oakes and Niall Quinn, all cars going off at high speed and causing the race to be red flagged before the end of lap2. All the drivers were OK but one marshal was injured, being treated at the trackside for a broken leg before being moved to the medical centre.
The cars formed up on the grid to restart in the positions at the end of lap 1 to race over 18 laps, the times of which would be an aggregate of the two race starts.
Brendon Hartley got a good getaway on the restart, followed by second place Perez, with Atte Mustinen in 3rd. Oliver Turvey once again lost out at the first corner, losing 4th place to Jaime Alguersuari but he fought back and regained the place at Hawrhorns. Michael Devaney, who had moved up to 19th after starting at the back of the grid had blitzed through the field and was challenging Ali Jackson for 10th on the outside at Tower but overcooked it and went off. The Irish driver regained the track but only to retire the Mygale at the end of the lap, a sad end to an otherwise great weekend for the Ultimate team.
Hartley now had control of the race, putting in fastest laps on lap 3 and lap 4, breaking Takuma Sato's 8 year old F3 record, and more importantly opening up a slight gap to the second placed Mexican driver. Perez responded, closing the gap to the New Zealander but not getting close enough to challenge for the lead.
Meanwhile the two leading cars were pulling away from Mustonen, who was being tracked by Turvey, Alguersuari, Sebastian Hohenthal and Nick Tandy. Further back John Martin spun his Double R Racing Dallara at Sunny and regained the track a lap down.
In the National Class Andy Meyrick was mixing it with the International Class runners in 8th place, 3 places ahead of Salman Al Khalifa who had Stefan Wilson and Jay Bridger snapping at his heals. Philip Major, who was just ahead on the road of Wilson, collided with the Sheffield driver at the hairpin, the Canadian driver getting stuck on the grass at the exit while Wilson continued. This allowed Bridger to catch up with Al Khalifa but Hywell Lloyd, who was now fourth in class joined in with the podium battle.
Meanwhile nearer the front Nick Tandy was tracking the Fortec Dallara of Sebastian Hohenthal and tried to make a move on the Swede at Tower but had to back out as Hohenthal held onto the racing line. However Tandy tried again, braking late for the Hairpin and with a cloud of tyre smoke from his front left the Bedfordshire driver made the move stick on lap 15.
At the same time Atte Mustonen was having to defend against a concerted attack from Oliver Turvey, the Englishman coming onto the back straight right on the back of the Finns rear wing. Mustonen jinked left and Turvey went to the inside, leaving his braking very late into Tower to take the podium place. Mustonen fought back through the Jim Clark Esses but couldn't retake the place.
At the front Brendon Hartley took the chequered flag to the delight of the Carlin team who lined the pit wall just ahead of Sergio Perez and Oliver Turvey. Atte Mustonen took 4th ahead of Jaime Alguersuari who had to fend off a last gasp charge from Nick Tandy who scored the first points for himself and the JTR Marshall Westland team.
Andy Meyrick came home in 8th overall to take maximum points for the second race running. Salman Al Khalifa managed to hold on to take his second podium finish of the year ahead of Jay Bridger and Hywel Lloyd on the road. However the final podium position went to Lloyd because of the combined times from the first part of the race.
Sergio Perez (40 points) now holds a four point lead over Atte Mustonen (36), with Jaime Alguersuari and Oliver Turvey tied for third on 35 points.
Rounds 5 & 6 of the British F3 International Series will take place at the home of the Italian Grand Prix, Monza on 16/17/18 May.
Highlights from rounds 3 & 4 of the 2008 British F3 International Series will be shown on Channel 4 and Motors TV from Sunday 4 May.