GRUBMULLER AND BOYD CLAIM THE HONOURS AT DONINGTON With race wins for Walter Grubmuller and Wayne Boyd at Donington Park today, and scant rewards forthcoming for Cooper Tires British F3 points leader Daniel Ricciardo, the championship has come...
GRUBMULLER AND BOYD CLAIM THE HONOURS AT DONINGTON
With race wins for Walter Grubmuller and Wayne Boyd at Donington Park today, and scant rewards forthcoming for Cooper Tires British F3 points leader Daniel Ricciardo, the championship has come alive as it enters its second half, with only 13 points now separating the top two...
Austrian ace Walter Grubmuller did a great job of closing the gap between himself and Cooper Tires British F3 points leader Daniel Ricciardo in race one, claiming a dominant victory in the 11th round of the championship ahead of his Hitech Racing team-mate Renger van der Zande. Ricciardo recovered from early-race dramas to take third place at the chequered flag.
Grubmuller's Mercedes-powered Dallara made the decisive move of the race away from the startline, Walter making a better getaway than van der Zande to slot ahead of his team-mate into the first right-hander, Redgate Corner.
The only real threat to Grubmuller's second victory of the season came on the 10th lap, when the Safety Car was called into play while the stricken car of National Class runner Gabriel Dias was retrieved from a dangerous position. But Grubmuller and van der Zande handled the restart perfectly and kept well clear of their closest pursuer, Colombian Carlos Huertas who, after claiming his best grid slot, was enjoying a convincing run in the Raikkonen Robertson Dallara.
Ricciardo was meanwhile enduring a nightmare, slipping from third on the grid to seventh by the third lap. The fight back to third was impressive, Daniel's Carlin Motorsport car dispatching Riki Christodoulou through the Craner Curves on lap seven, Max Chilton six laps later, then Adriano Buzaid within a further two laps and, finally, Huertas for third on the inside at McLeans nine laps from the end. That was to be as far as Daniel would get, however.
Said Ricciardo: "My start wasn't perfect, too much wheelspin, and I fell back a couple of positions. Then I tried to make them up a bit too quickly and that ended up costing me a couple more positions. The safety car helped a bit, and the car was really good and I managed to get back to third. I had the pace of the Hitech cars but Renger was doing a good job holding me off. Third was all I could do in the end."
Grubmuller crossed the line six-tenths clear of van der Zande, and said: "After the start it was a pretty uneventful race for me, but still difficult because it was extremely slippery. I was struggling with that a bit but managed to get it home safe. I am still in contention for the championship; we're only half way through the season and anything can happen. We are still in the fight."
Huertas held on for fourth, equalling his best result, ahead of Buzaid, Chilton, Christodoulou and Daisuke Nakajima, with Jay Bridger and Wayne Boyd completing the top 10.
In the National Class Dias threw away a massive grid advantage on the opening lap, Fortec's Daniel McKenzie gratefully accepting the class lead. With Dias later hobbled by mechanical problems, McKenzie enjoyed a relatively easy run to his seventh class win of the season.
Ulsterman Wayne Boyd claimed his maiden Cooper Tires British F3 race win at a rain-hit Donington, the 18-year-old staging a magnificent drive in treacherous conditions to lead home his T-Sport team-mate Adriano Buzaid.
Boyd's drive was all the more remarkable in that he started from 10th on the grid, and fell as low as 12th in the early stages before scything his way through to a popular victory at the wheel of his Volkswagen-powered Dallara.
Championship leader Daniel Ricciardo led the way from the pole in the early, dry laps, pursued by Buzaid and the Hitech cars of Renger van der Zande and Walter Grubmuller. But at the completion of a two-lap safety car period, caused by the need to rescue a stranded car from the track, Ricciardo was hijacked by van der Zande and Buzaid through McLeans corner, and the Australian spun back to seventh, just ahead of Boyd, who had recovered well from a grassy moment on the opening lap and who was revelling in the increasingly damp conditions.
Boyd made short work of Ricciardo and within a further two laps had dispensed with the cars of Carlos Huertas and Max Chilton to move into fourth. Both Grubmuller and Buzaid fell victim to the charging Ulsterman on the 15th lap, the former at Redgate and the latter at Coppice, and then, after five laps shadowing van der Zande, Wayne put in the overtaking move of the season at Redgate, around the outside of the Dutch driver, to claim the lead.
With van der Zande fading towards the end (and later slapped with a 25-secnd penalty for his incident with Ricciardo), Buzaid moved into second for a T-Sport 1-2.
"It's absolutely amazing," said Wayne of his victory. "After being so dominant in Formula Ford last year, jumping up to F3 was a big step. People doubted I could do it. But now to get my first win in the hardest conditions we've seen all year... it's absolutely brilliant. I got pushed on to the grass at the start, and that fired me up a bit. Big thanks to T-Sport, the car was absolutely brilliant."
Grubmuller claimed third, ahead of Huertas and Ricciardo, to narrow Daniel's championship lead further still. The top 10 was completed by Henry Arundel, Chilton, Jay Bridger, Daisuke Nakajima and Ricki Christodoulou, with Daniel McKenzie emerging on top in a topsy-turvy National Class battle.