Kerr second at Oulton. Alan Docking Racing star Robbie Kerr took a second and a seventh place from the latest round of the British Formula 3 Championship at Oulton Park. The Englishman lost his championship lead, but remains just two points ...
Kerr second at Oulton.
Alan Docking Racing star Robbie Kerr took a second and a seventh place from the latest round of the British Formula 3 Championship at Oulton Park. The Englishman lost his championship lead, but remains just two points behind season long rival James Courtney with three rounds to go in a thrilling battle which is sure to go down to the wire.
After setting a good time in testing, Kerr was disappointed to be 11th in qualifying for race one, but he improved that to sixth in the second session. Conditions changed from the Friday test to Saturday qualifying, and that appeared to upset the handling of Kerr's Dallara-Mugen Honda more than his rivals' cars.
"The car was a bit of a pig in the first session," said Kerr. "It's quite surprising because it hadn't happened before. But in the second session it was a hell of a lot better, although my team-mate Mark Mayall spun in front of me on my first flying lap on new tyres and I had to go off to avoid him. We didn't have time to remove the grass from my radiators and the engine did get a bit hot, so we could have improved more."
Robbie was the man on the move at the start of race one and flew up to seventh before the safety car was brought out to clear up some crashed cars. While the safety car was out it started to rain, and the track was wet when the race restarted. Kerr got up to sixth when Matt Gilmore pitted, but had to take to the escape road at the chicane to avoid running into Courtney and dropped right down to 12th. Within two laps he was back up to seventh as other cars spun off, but then Robbie went off himself at Cascades and brushed the tyre wall. Luckily, the race was halted on the next lap because a car had spun off and come to rest in a dangerous place. Kerr was therefore classified seventh on lap countback.
"I was a bit lucky," said a relieved Kerr. "I'd made a really good start and then came the rain. At the chicane everyone was locking up, and I had the choice of either going straight on or hitting them. I just got caught out at Cascades - every lap the track was different at each corner. It was just one of those things."
Robbie got a cracking start to race two to move into fourth, despite being edged onto the grass out of the first corner. Then he pulled off a masterful move on Heikki Kovalainen to take third at Lodge Corner. "Heikki made a mistake out of the corner before. He went to the inside for Lodge and I held him there. Then I released him and he ran wide for the exit, and I was able to get the power on and pass him on the inside."
Kerr then caught up Courtney and second-placed Robert Dahlgren, who runs in the Scholarship Class and is not eligible for overall points. Dahlgren's airbox then fell off, making the car illegal, but the stubborn Swede refused to give way to Kerr and that allowed Courtney some breathing space to the flag. Sure enough, Dahlgren was subsequently excluded.
"It's not bad considering where we were on the grid," said Robbie. "It's just a shame that Robert decided to hold me up. I could have had a go at James because he was struggling under braking and that's where I was strong. Still, considering how we started qualifying it was a good weekend and I've got to be pleased.
Mayall finished just outside the points in race one, but then had an incident in race two, for which he had qualified an encouraging 13th (and 10th in class) and dropped down the order. Tor Graves, in the other ADR Dallara, crashed out in the rain in race one, but had one of his best races of the season to 15th (12th in class) in the second race.
Race 1: 1st Heikki Kovalainen (Finland); 2nd Fabio Carbone (Brazil); 3rd Mark Taylor (Britain); 4th James Courtney (Australia); 5th Alan van der Merwe (South Africa); 6th Ronnie Bremer (Denmark); 7th Robbie Kerr (Britain); 8th *Clivio Piccione (Monaco); 9th *Billy Asaro (Canada); 10th Richard Antinucci (USA); 15th Mark Mayall (Britain); DNF Tor Graves (Britain). Race 2: 1st Courtney; 2nd Kerr; 3rd Kovalainen; 4th *Piccione; 5th Matt Gilmore (Northern Ireland); 6th Shinya Hosokawa (Japan); 7th Carbone; 8th van der Merwe; 9th Stefan de Groot (Netherlands); 10th Bruce Jouanny (France); 15th Graves; 21st Mayall.
* = Scholarship Class driver, ineligible for overall points. Points: 1st Courtney 221; 2nd Kerr 219; 3rd Jouanny 154; 4th Michael Keohane (Ireland); 142; 5th Kovalainen 138; 6th Taylor 118; 7th Carbone 93; 8th van der Merwe 92; 9th Rob Austin (Britain) 78; 10th Antinucci 58; 18th= Mayall 9.