Unlike Saturday afternoon's race, the WSR race on Sunday was run over 35 minutes and included a compulsory pit stop to change the front tyres. The window for doing this is considerable, and as a result all sorts of tactics come into play, with...
Unlike Saturday afternoon's race, the WSR race on Sunday was run over 35 minutes and included a compulsory pit stop to change the front tyres. The window for doing this is considerable, and as a result all sorts of tactics come into play, with some drivers pitting incredibly early to try and extract themselves from traffic, and others attempting to build up as big a cushion as possible before coming in. With the morning practice session delayed because of the fog that blanketed the circuit until some time around 10am, there was very little time between qualifying and the actual race. Perhaps this improved the behaviour of many of the drivers, since there is often a great deal of bumping and barging at the start of these races.
Whatever the reason, the start was relatively cleanly managed, with Alx Danielsson (Comtec) getting the drop on Adrian Zaugg (Carlin Motorsport) just as he did on Saturday, and taking Pastor Maldonado (Draco Multiracing USA) with him, the Venezuelan keen to keep his championship hopes alive in the face of Andy Soucek's (Interwetten.Com) apparently unstoppable rise. Danielsson's plan was clearly to stay out as long as possible, and to get as far ahead as he could. Also on a charge of his own was Alvaro Parente (Victory Engineering), the Portuguese having qualified unusually badly. He was after resurrecting his mid-season form, and judging by the amount of ground he made up at the start, was looking good for a strong result. Someone not doing at all well yet again was James Rossiter (Pons Racing). After a dreadful race on Saturday, he was again starting from a long, long way back, and once again announced his intention of staying out of trouble as much as possible. Once again he failed to do so, stopping for a new nose before the race was a lap old. He could possibly have tried to stay out until the pit stop window, but the lack of a front wing was proving a bit of a problem for the Englishman.
As the race settled down a little, Maldonado began trying to pressurise Danielsson, but in return found himself under pressure from Zaugg, the South African performing brilliantly again in only his second event in the category. However, the pit stops were still to come, and they have a habit of rendering early race form completely irrelevant. Maldonado made an early dive for it, but was hampered when the team couldn't shift the left front wheel nuts without a struggle. He emerged rather further back than he might have hoped, and could only hope that other people would be equally unlucky. Parente came in a couple of laps later, and was able to get out ahead of the Venezuelan, though by the narrowest of margins. The shape of the race was now starting to become clear, after Milos Pavlovic, Maldonado's team mate, made his pit stop. The Draco boys did a lot better by the Yugoslav, getting him back on the track just ahead of Parente, and there ensued a battle that could only end in tears as last year's British F3 Champion, Parente, took a determined line in his attempts to get in front. Pavlovic has waited a long time to get into a front-running car, and he was equally determined that he wouldn't surrender his place to Parente.
Meanwhile, Danielsson finally pitted, leaving it late as he attempted to build up enough of a cushion to hang onto his lead. The Comtec team, new to the formula this season, did a superb job of the change, and the Swede emerged a long way ahead of Zaugg, and Borja Garcia (RC Motorsport), both of whom still needed to stop. It looked as if they might have set a new record for WSR pit stops in the process, and if they hadn't, they'd got very close to one.
Zaugg's stop, when it finally came, was also a good one, although he couldn't catch the leader. He did, however, have some clear air around him as Garcia waited almost till the last minute to make his stop. He too emerged in the same position as he'd held before he went in, and the two of them would run smoothly to the finish. Life was nowhere near as smooth for Parente and Pavlovic. On lap 17 the inevitable happened. Having run a number of laps apparently glued together, Parente thought he saw his chance as the pair completed the run down to Redgate. He tried to squeeze through on the inside, Pavlovic resisted and slammed the door, and the pair of them were pitched into a spin. Pavlovic (the immovable object) was able to scramble back out of the gravel, while Parente (the irresistible force) was left stranded. Furious, he clambered out and scrambled over the barriers, head bowed like a man who really believed he'd just destroyed his own championship chances.
While Parente was out of commission, and Maldonado was having trouble holding off Ben Hanley (Cram Competition), Soucek was locked into a scuffle with Ryo Fukuda (Tech 1 Racing), the experienced Japanese giving the Spaniard a very hard time indeed as they slugged it out for 4th place. While Greg Franchi (Prema Powerteam) had a grassy moment round the back, Danielsson continued on his way untroubled by whatever was going on further back. It was just as well, perhaps, because Maldonado handed Soucek a gift (and may have saved Parente from slipping down the championship table quite as badly as he expected) when he managed to fall off while trying to resist Hanley. With three laps to go, Maldonado must have been kicking himself quite as hard as Parente had 10 laps earlier.
And so Danielsson came home to a well-deserved 2nd win of the weekend, ahead of Zaugg and Garcia. Fukuda held off Soucek for 4th, although Soucek extended his championship lead after his rivals self-destructed, while Hanley was 6th, ahead of Davide Valsecchi (Epsilon Euskadi), Pavlovic, Michael Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport) and Robbie Kerr (KTR).