Jack Harvey is the 2012 Champion of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series - the first British victor for six years. The Lincolnshire 19-year-old clinched the crown this evening at Donington Park with a near-faultless win in the final round having led all the way from pole position.
Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver Harvey is the Carlin team’s fifth successive champion and also ended his season with the most race victories of all: seven.
“Carlin have been incredible. Everybody just presumes that we have good drivers but it’s the team that’s the best - they have the best people at this level and the next few above. The team worked so hard for me and this is for them.” Team boss Trevor Carlin paid fulsome tribute to his charge: “Jack did a great job - everything he had to do. There was a lot of pressure on him and I’m very proud of him.”
Harvey took command of the race at the outset and, despite intense pressure throughout from Fortec driver Alex Lynn, held on to win by 0.682s.
His only scare came on lap 11 when he erred slightly at the chicane and Lynn seized a chance to outbrake the leader into the Melbourne hairpin. However the attempt, wreathed in tyre smoke, ended in failure.
“I was quite a bit quicker than Jack the whole race,” said Alex. “He made a mistake at the chicane so I tried to capitalise on it. It didn’t really work out. I think that was Jack’s only mistake and he thoroughly deserved to win.”
Another title contender, Carlin’s Jazeman Jaafar, shadowed Harvey and Lynn to the end but could not match their pace. The Malaysian, who finishes championship runner-up, praised Harvey for his victory: “I’m not really disappointed; Jack was that little bit quicker than me all weekend - he did a sterling job.”
The other title hopeful, Fortec’s Felix Serralles, placed eighth after a disappointing race. The Puerto Rican held fifth for much of the race but faded in the closing eight laps. He takes third in the championship - an impressive feat for a rookie.
Harry Tincknell claimed fourth - and fifth in the championship to boot - after nipping past his team-mate Pietro Fantin at the Old Hairpin three laps from the end.
Hywel Lloyd claimed National class victory for CF Racing to complete a hat-trick of Donington class wins.
Earlier in the day, the championship’s penultimate round brought victory for Harry Tincknell, and disaster for Jaafar and Lynn, who clashed at the Old Hairpin on the opening lap.
The race belonged to Tincknell from the outset, the Devon driver romping from pole position to chequered flag to win by 1.7s and record his fourth such victory of the year.
The Carlin man made a perfect start and was unfazed by a three-lap safety car period which ensued from the Jaafar/Lynn accident.
It was a great bounce-back for Harry from feeling under the weather for several days. “I haven’t been feeling 100 per cent this last week and we had a tough time in testing but I’ve been steadily working as hard as I can to get on the pace,” he said.
“I made a really good start, which has been a strong point for me this year, and after that it was all totally straightforward. It’s great to get another win.”
Harry additionally collected the coveted Raymond Mays Trophy, awarded by the Donington Park Racing Association Club, for his efforts.
Fortec’s Pipo Derani, who started second on the grid, shadowed Tincknell throughout and was pleased with his fifth podium of the year: “This is good for me. I’ve had a lot of races this year which I could have finished well but didn’t, and it’s been disappointing.
Apart from that it has been a good year - lots of learning and some good results as well. Now it’s all about preparation to see if I can get back next year and try to do better.”
Third place went the way of Brazil’s Pietro Fantin, who snatched it away from Serralles on lap eight at Coppice. “He made a mistake, had oversteer,” said Carlin man Fantin.
“I almost didn’t make it - I had two wheels on the grass there on the inside - but I knew that Felix was fighting for the championship so I didn’t think that he would come back at me.”
Serralles did not fight back: he had a job on his hands preserving fourth place from the attentions of his Fortec team-mate Hannes van Asseldonk. The Puerto Rican kept him at bay for the duration.
The first-lap clash between Jaafar and Lynn started with a brave move from Jaafar through the Craner Curves, Jazeman pulling alongside Alex to run side-by-side with the Fortec man as they approached the Old Hairpin. Lynn then locked up and slithered wide and into Jaafar; a deflating rear tyre on Lynn’s car was blamed for the incident.
Source: Cooper Tires