Oulton Park today suggests that RedBull and Carlin Motorsport may well have a potential champion on their hands in the shape of Daniel Ricciardo, the Australian winning both the opening races of the season on his F3 debut. This time he headed home...
Oulton Park today suggests that RedBull and Carlin Motorsport may well have a potential champion on their hands in the shape of Daniel Ricciardo, the Australian winning both the opening races of the season on his F3 debut. This time he headed home polesitter Walter Grubm?ller (Hitech Racing) after the Austrian lost out at the start and ended up having to fend off Nick Tandy (JTR) for most of the race distance. The National Class again went to Daniel MKcKenzie (Fortec Motorsport), who this time came home ahead of Max Snegirev (West-Tec) and Victor Correa (Litespeed F3).
After a trouble free first race, things didn't go so smoothly in the second. At the start of the formation lap, Stephane Richelmi (Epsilon Barazi) seemed reluctant to set off. Perhaps he knew something the rest of them didn't. At the actual start, Ricciardo floored it as they left the grid, leaving Grubm?ller in the dirt, and this despite the Australian literally setting his brakes on fire as he applied the revs before the lights went out. However, the start was purely academic because coming into Old Hall for the first time, Wayne Boyd (T-Sport) and Gabriel Dias (T- Sport) crashed trying to avoid Hywel Lloyd (C F Racing), and ended up tangled in the middle of the track, bringing the race to an abrupt halt with a red flag.
The remaining 17 cars reformed on the grid and after a quick inspection of Ricciardo's left front wheel, and a very impressive cleanup operation by the marshals, we were racing again. This time Grubm?ller lost out again after he got way too much wheelspin at the start. Ricciardo didn't hesitate and simply drove past the Austrian in the run down to Old Hall, getting ahead and leaving Grubm?ller to deal with Tandy who was snapping at his rear wing. Behind them Max Chilton (Carlin Motorsport) was holding off Daisuke Nakajima (Raikkonen Robertson Racing), while the Japanese was being worried by Riki Christodoulou (Fortec Motorsport). To prove that you needed to be called Daniel to win this weekend, McKenzie was already comfortably in the lead of the National Class though he would probably have preferred to have someone to play with. As it was Snegirev was a long way back and Correa was even further off.
At the front, Ricciardo was streaking away, opening up a gap, while Tandy closed on Grubm?ller hand over fist, and Christodoulou was all over Nakajima trying to find a way round. Meanwhile a little further back Oliver Oakes (Carlin Motorsport) was setting about Adriano Buzaid (T-Sport) but he went wide as a result and fell back, while even further back Lloyd had plummeted right down the order and was now trying to make up for lost time.
It wasn't long before Grubm?ller responded to the threat of Tandy and set a new fastest race lap, but his chances of catching Ricciardo seemed slim, especially as the Austrian had a wobbly moment and promptly fell back into the clutches of Tandy, who was now really pushing hard. Also in the top ten squabbling mass, Carlos Huertas (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) also went wide with results that wouldn't please him much, slipping back behind Buzaid on lap 4. That left him vulnerable to Oakes and Henry Arundel (Carlin Motorsport) who were running in close formation.
Someone in real trouble was Jay Bridger (West-Tec), the man in the other Mygale - Tandy also has a Mygale instead of the almost standard Dallara - had pulled off onto the grass prior to limping into the pits and out of the race. No such problems were plaguing Ricciardo as he kept his head down and set a steady pace, doing enough to keep comfortably ahead of Grubm?ller, as evidenced when he set a new fastest lap, just before Grubm?ller went even faster on the same lap. The second placed man was now starting to break away from Tandy again, to Tandy's obvious frustration. However, none of this altered that fact that the Carlin car in the lead was not showing any weaknesses. Walter looked as if he was going to have to settle for second.
Meanwhile, Huertas was coming under massive pressure from Oakes, and Correa was catching Snegirev, though not at a great enough rate to take 2nd in class of him given the race was now shorter by two laps. Behind them, Lloyd had hauled himself up to 12th and was now catching Victor Garcia (Fortec Motorsport) at a terrific rate, taking a second a lap out of the Spaniard. It made you wonder what he could have done if he'd made a decent start.
At the front the leader was looking very comfortable, which was more than could be said for Nakajima and Christodoulou, who were slowing each other down so badly that Buzaid was catching them easily. Huertas promptly lost lots of ground and ended up out of the points after something of a moment dropped him down to 14th, while Christodoulou made a massive mess of Hislops as he tried to pass Nakajima and dropped right back into Buzaid's reach. Buzaid was so surprised he lost ground and that let Christodoulou come back at Nakajima again. It was all getting rather silly but it was fun to watch and it would stay that way to the flag.
And so Ricciardo came home for his second win of the weekend, ahead of Grubm?ller, Tandy, Chilton, Nakajima, Christodoulou, Buzaid, Oakes, Arundel and Garcia, who very nearly lost 10th to Lloyd as they came over the line. McKenzie was 12th overall and won the National Class by a large margin, while Richelmi, Huertas, Snegirev and Correa filled the last few places.
Fastest laps went to Grubm?ller and McKenzie.
Weather: Fine, sunny.
Temperatures: Track 17 C; Air 15 C.
Next race: TBD. Donington Park, which should be next, is being inspected by the FIA tomorrow and the meeting is likely to be postponed until later in the season.
Please see race 1 report: Ricciardo wins his debut race at Oulton