BOYS FROM BRAZIL DOMINATE AT SNETTERTON The boys from Brazil, Gabriel Dias and Adriano Buzaid, showed their European rivals the way to win Cooper Tires British F3 races today (Monday) at Snetterton, Dias securing victory for Hitech in ...
BOYS FROM BRAZIL DOMINATE AT SNETTERTON
The boys from Brazil, Gabriel Dias and Adriano Buzaid, showed their European rivals the way to win Cooper Tires British F3 races today (Monday) at Snetterton, Dias securing victory for Hitech in the 20-minute sprint race and his countryman Buzaid winning the double-length feature race for Carlin, ahead of his team-mate and the newly crowned champion, Jean-Eric Vergne.
Dias led the sprint race from pole position to chequered flag, the Hitech racer beating Buzaid to the line by four-tenths to end the Carlin team's 10-race winning streak. Will Buller opted to start the race on slick dry-weather tyres and was rewarded with third place.
Most of the field, including four of the top five on the grid - Dias, Raikkonen Robertson men Daisuke Nakajima and Felipe Nasr, and Buzaid - opted for grooved wet weather Cooper tyres with which to tackle the tricky conditions of a wet but drying track.
It proved the wise choice for the early laps, as proved by Dias, Nakajima and Buzaid, the latter passing Nasr on the opening lap to move up to third. Buller, new champion Jean-Eric Vergne and Oli Webb, all of whom opted for slicks, meanwhile struggled for grip.
It wasn't until the middle of the race that the track dried sufficiently to allow the dry tyres to come into their own, and Buller made best use of his set, the Hitech man battling through from eighth to fifth by the eight lap and then making up three further places right at the end of the race.
Will's final move of the race came on the final lap, when he snatched the final podium slot from Nakajima's grasp. Daisuke had lost second to Buzaid at Coram on lap nine.
But Buller couldn't catch Dias, nor Buzaid in time, and Adriano for his part could do little about displacing Gabriel from top spot. "The tyres were a gamble for me," said Buzaid, "but it was for everyone. We went for used wet tyres, and we had a good pace. Well done to Dias, he drove very well and was difficult to pass."
Said Gabriel: "It was a very hard race because I had to push very hard all the time and the conditions were very difficult, but in the end it worked out great for us and it was a very good job by the team."
Nakajima placed fourth, well ahead of his team-mate Nasr, with Dan McKenzie Fortec's top finisher in sixth. James Calado's slick tyres helped him to make up ground towards the end, and to steal the fastest lap and the two points which went with it. New champion Jean-Eric Vergne struggled on slicks to eighth. Jazeman Jaafar collected ninth and Russian racer Max Snegirev 10th for Fortec to claim his first point of the season.
In the National class, Menasheh Idafar led from start to finish to record his second class win of the weekend for the T-Sport team, ahead of James Cole and Motul West-Tec man Juan Carlos Sistos.
In the feature race, Buzaid put in an inch-perfect performance to add a win to the two second-place finishes he scored earlier in the weekend. His Carlin car led from start to finish, pursued to the chequered flag by Vergne and their Carlin team-mate James Calado.
With opportunities to overtake evaporating along with the moisture which made the earlier Snetterton races so exciting, a good start and a decisive opening lap was vital. Pole man Buzaid made no mistakes and accelerated into an early lead ahead of Vergne and Calado, with Daisuke Nakajima making an excellent getaway to slot ahead of Felipe Nasr for fourth.
Fortec's Oli Webb held sixth but it all went wrong for the Mancunian at Riches at the start of the fourth lap, where he ploughed off the track and hit the tyre wall, ending his race and severely denting his hopes of wresting the championship runner-up spot from Calado's clutches.
Webb's demise boosted his pursuers, led by Jazeman Jaafar, by a place each, but that was the last movement in the top 10 in what was a fast and exciting but undramatic race. Buzaid crossed the line 7.5s ahead of Vergne for his second win of the season; the Brazilian was delighted. "Everything has been going really well since Silverstone. I'd just like to thank the team; my engineer and the boys. They have done a fantastic job for me and the car was really sweet through the whole race. I really enjoyed it, had a lot of fun and the 40 minutes went quickly."
"I had a good start," said Vergne, "but not good enough to pass Adriano. He drove a fantastic race."
Calado's third place gives him a 28-point advantage over Webb for second in the championship, with three races remaining. Oli is meanwhile being caught at a rate of knots by Buzaid, who is now just eight points adrift of the British driver.
Fourth place today went to Raikkonen Robertson's Nakajima, who finished just ahead of his team-mate Nasr. Jaafar placed sixth ahead of Carlos Huertas, Gabriel Dias, Will Buller, and Rupert Svendsen-Cook. Buller's hat-trick of strong finishes earned him the Sunoco Driver of the Weekend accolade.
A flying opening first lap from Menasheh Idafar, who started his T-Sport car from dead last on the grid, rocketed him past his National class rivals James Cole and Juan Carlos Sistos and on to his third class victory of the weekend. Idafar now leads Cole in the points standings by four.