At Silverstone this morning, Gabriel Dias (Hitech Racing) scored his first International Class series victory of the season, though he had to settle for second on the road after an impressive drive from Alexander Sims (ART Grand Prix) in the ...
At Silverstone this morning, Gabriel Dias (Hitech Racing) scored his first International Class series victory of the season, though he had to settle for second on the road after an impressive drive from Alexander Sims (ART Grand Prix) in the Invitation Class saw the Englishman start 11th but win after a fierce battle for places that Dias opted not to join.
Behind the Brazilian, Daisuke Nakajima (Raikkonen Robertson Racing) finished 2nd, holding off another of the Incitation Class runners, Esteban Gutierrez (ART Grand Prix) for the greater part of the race. 3rd in class was Jean-Eric Vergne (Carlin). The National Class was won by Menasheh Idafar (T-Sport), making amends for having trashed the car before yesterday's race, leading home James Cole (T-Sport) and Luiz Razia (Team West Tec). Jim Pla (ART Grand Prix) took the remaining Invitation Class podium slot, a distant 12th overall.
The race got off to a good start for some, including Dias, while Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin) was slow off the mark. However, Kevin Chen (Sino Vision Racing) didn't start at all, and his team-mate Adderly Fong pulled into the pits and took no further part in events. Just for good measure, Rupert Svendsen-Cook (Carlin) spun out before the race was a lap old, and Max Snegirev (Fortec Motorsport) didn't last much longer either.
With Dias firmly in the lead Nakajima was already challenging Gutierrez having made a very good start for the second time this weekend. The Japanese sized up the situation and eventually charged round the outside of the Mexican to grab 2nd. Vergne on the other hand was losing ground and was less than happy with his own performance, especially when he lost out to Sims, who was already up to 4th from a very long way back at the start. It didn't take him long to come barging past both Nakajima and Gutierrez to go 2nd, at pretty much the same time as Gutierrez lost out to both Nakajima and then Jaafar.
While they ran three abreast through the new section, Sims had caught Dias and was all over him. Meanwhile, Calado fought his way past Vergne, after Vergne's attempt to overtake Jaafar didn't quite come off as he'd intended. The Frenchman went through, but he lost a place to Calado at the same time and thus ended up staying put in the order. It was poor reward for such a smart overtaking move, as he'd feinted one way, selling Jaafar a dummy, only to jink to the other side and power round the Malaysian.
At the front now, Dias was coming under increasing pressure from Sims, and had already decided he wasn't risking maximum points fighting a battle that he didn't need to get involved in. When Sims tried going round the outside at Copse, Dias let him. Frustratingly, Sims then made a mistake that let the Brazilian back through and he had to then wait for Sims to come back at him so he could let the Englishman clear off and leave him alone.
Behind them, Adriano Buzaid (Carlin) was now on the move, and was looking for a way past Jaafar. Both he and Calado were proving to be remarkably fast, but in Calado's case it was to be his undoing. Pushing too hard into Beckets having just set the fastest lap of the race, the back end broke away in the slippery conditions and he skittered off. He was able to collect it all together quite quickly but Vergne was back through and long gone by then. Once he got sorted out, Calado was 11th.
With Gutierrez now pressuring Nakajima intensely, the new fastest man on the track was Buzaid, who was catching Vergne hand over fist as the race drew to its close. He wasn't quite as fast as Sims, but then Sims had clear air ahead of him and wasn't having to contend with the spray. Vergne could not relax for a moment and was busy concentrating on trying to extract maximum points for minimum risk from his current situation. Buzaid had no such hesitation, but then he didn't miss out on a championship by 2 points last year and thus may no have such a keen appreciation of the importance of consistency.
Calado was now pushing hard again but was caught up in a train behind Alex Brundle (T-Sport), with his sparring partner from yesterday Oli Webb (Fortec Motorsport) just ahead, and Daniel McKenzie (Fortec Motorsport), Felipe Nasr (Raikkonen Robertson Racing), Pla and William Buller (Hitech Racing). A lap later Calado set about Webb, only to find he now had Nasr right on his tail as McKenzie dropped to the back of the group. Calado finally wrestled his way past Brundle, and Nasr went with him, after Web spun off on the last lap, managing to run through an incredibly deep and horribly muddy puddle (more of a lake really) that made you hope he had some dry overalls to change into for this afternoon's race.
As the race drew to a close, Nakajima kept right on with his now traditional roadblock impressions, meaning no matter what Gutierrez tried he wasn't coming through. Just behind the two of them, Vergne managed to fend off a last lap lunge by Buzaid for 5th on the road, the Brazilian almost making it stick as they crossed the finish line. Sims thus won the race, from Dias (International Class winner), Gutierrez, Vergne, Buzaid, Jaafar, Huertas (who had spent the last few laps looking for a way past Jaafar), Calado and Nasr. 11th was Brundle, from Pla, McKenzie, Lucas Foresti (Carlin), Jay Bridger (Litespeed F3), National Class winner Idafar, Cole, Razia, Rio Haryanto (C F Racing with Manor) and Hywel Lloyd, also in a C F Racing car.
21st was Buller who slid off on the last lap, with Webb classified 2nd 2and last.
Fastest laps went to Buzaid, Idafar and Sims.
Weather: Wet, cold.