BUZAID IS WINNER NUMBER EIGHT IN BRITISH F3 Brazilian Adriano Buzaid this afternoon (Sat) became the eighth different race winner of the 2009 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series, the Brazilian 21-year-old sweeping to his...
BUZAID IS WINNER NUMBER EIGHT IN BRITISH F3
Brazilian Adriano Buzaid this afternoon (Sat) became the eighth different race winner of the 2009 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series, the Brazilian 21-year-old sweeping to his maiden F3 win at a rain-soaked Spa in round 14 of the championship. It was the second win in a week for the Volkswagen-powered T-Sport team, whose Wayne Boyd was a winner at Donington.
The biggest winner of the weekend however was Red Bull racer Daniel Ricciardo, who today added a second-place finish to his Spa race victory of yesterday to extend his championship lead to 37 points - the largest advantage that the Australian has enjoyed all season.
Buzaid's win was a real battle against the elements. Rain started to fall on the warm-up lap and pole-sitter Adriano and his rivals had to make a difficult pre-start tyre choice. All but Invitation Class runner Jake Rosenzweig opted to start on slicks, and some rued their decision when the heavens opened again on lap five.
Buzaid and Ricciardo tip-toed their way around the opening laps, Adriano swiftly repulsing an early attack from the Australian and building a one-second advantage within a couple of laps. Buzaid pulled even further ahead as the rain fell and the track became even more treacherous, Ricciardo mindful of his championship lead. "I had a sniff of victory today," said Carlin driver Ricciardo. "I took the lead for a while but Adriano outbraked me, which was a good move. Then the rain came and I had a few moments and I thought that if I can end the race second then that's good result for the championship."
Buzaid crossed the line 5.9s ahead and was predictably overjoyed: "This win is very special for me, amazing. To take my first F3 win at such a nice track as Spa, and in such conditions, is very special. I would like to dedicate this win in memory of Henry Surtees, who was a very good friend of mine." Adriano additionally collected the Sunoco Driver of the Weekend award.
Renger van der Zande and Riki Christodoulou diced for third for much of the race, so closely in fact that both slithered off the track at the Bus Stop chicane on lap seven and then clashed again at the next corner, La Source, Christodoulou's car suffering enough damage to end its race. That left van der Zande sitting pretty for third - until the penultimate lap, that is, when he lost time and was passed for the final podium slot by his Hitech team-mate and championship title aspirant Walter Grubmuller.
Van der Zande scrabbled around the final corner fourth, just ahead of Carlin boys Henry Arundel and Max Chilton, with Carlos Huertas seventh, some way ahead of Daisuke Nakajima and Hywel Lloyd. The only Invitation Class car, the ART Grand Prix machine of Mexico's Esteban Gutierrez, completed the top 10.
Daniel Mckenzie and Gabriel Dias enjoyed another close battle for National Class honours, the British Fortec driver leading his Brazilian counterpart from T-Sport until opting on lap seven to pit for wet tyres, not realising the race had only a further four laps to run and that making up the time lost would be an impossibility.
"There were no mechanical problems today," said Dias, who cruised home to a 27-second class victory. "It's really good to win like that in such difficult conditions, and at a track where I had a bad accident last year, it's very special for me. I was side by side with Daniel until he decided to go to the pits for wets, and then he couldn't recover the time he lost." Despite his setback, McKenzie's National Class lead is now 65 points with six races remaining.