Alguersuari Gives Himself a Great 18th Birthday Present After the disappointment of missing out on a podium in round 1, Jaime Alguersuari converted his second pole position of the weekend into a race win, finishing ahead of Swedish duo Marcus ...
Alguersuari Gives Himself a Great 18th Birthday Present
After the disappointment of missing out on a podium in round 1, Jaime Alguersuari converted his second pole position of the weekend into a race win, finishing ahead of Swedish duo Marcus Ericsson and Sebastian Hohenthal. Brendon Hartley was the first driver past the chequered flag but was demoted to 4th after it was judged he overtook during a safety car period. Andy Meyrick made it two out two in the National Class, finishing ahead of Salman Al Khalifa and Niall Quinn.
Alguersuari made a good start to lead the 27 car grid away for the second race of the weekend. Behind the Spaniard Esteban Guerrieri in the Ultimate Motorsport Mygale got a great getaway to move up into 2nd after the first corner from 5th on the grid ahead of Ericsson and Hartley. 6th placed Max Chilton had a poor start and ended up losing seven places on the opening lap.
At the front Alguersuari started to open up a gap to 2nd placed Guerrieri as the Argentine had to defend his position from a very determined Marcus Ericsson in the Fortec Dallara, this battle allowing the leader to move further ahead of the field. At the end of lap 2 4th placed Brendon Hartley came under pressure from Ericsson's teammate Sebastian Hohethal and in a demon move at Old Hall the Swede moved up into 4th place at the expense of the New Zealander.
For the next six laps the 2nd, 3rd and 4th placed cars circulated the Oulton Park circuit separated by less than a second, with Guerrieri using his vast racing know how to keep the Fortec duo at bay. However a mistake on lap 10 drop the Argentine down to 6th place behind Walter Grubmuller.
Jaime Alguersuari continued to improve and set fastest lap times on the 5th, 6th and 7th laps and then on lap 10 went even faster, setting a new British F3 lap record by 0.116 seconds.
Further back down the field John Martin (#24 Double R) and Nick Tandy (#28 JTR) tangled at Hislops, pushing some of the tyres onto the racing line at the chicane and forcing the deployment of the safety car, reducing Alguersuari's lead from 9.1 seconds to zero. However confusion reigned as some of the drivers thought that the safety car had been withdrawn and Brendon Hartley and Esteban Guerrieri moved into 1st and 3rd respectively. The Argentine realised his mistake and moved back to 6th place but Hartley stayed out in front of the pack as the safety car circulated.
As the safety car was withdrawn at the end of lap 14 Hartley continued to lead from Alguersuari, Ericsson, Hohethal and Grubmuller, with everyone expecting the New Zealander to move over and allow the others past. How Hartley doggedly maintained his lead on the road and with 19 laps completed the chequered flag came out, which he duly took ahead of Alguersuari.
However a swift decision by the stewards put Hartley back to 4th place and the win went to Hartley's Red Bull teammate Jaime Alguersuari, his first in British F3 and his first on a British circuit.
In the National Class Andy Meyrick made it look so simple, taking another decisive win ahead of Salman Al Khalifa, the Bahraini driver happy to get his season underway after problems in race 1 denied him of any points. Irish driver Niall Quinn was the third podium finisher and as a late entry to the championship he was happy to gather as many championship points as possible.
The next two races take place at Croft, North Yorkshire on Sunday 27 April. Motors TV and Channel 4 are showing highlights of the two races.