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2010 British Formula 3 Race of Oulton Park (Round 1)

April 5, 2010

Oulton Park layout.

New Rules for 2010 Onwards
This year sees the début of a partially rearranged British Formula 3 Championship.

The series, sponsored by Copper Tyres, will be running three races instead of two – something that will give drivers more seat time during competition.
The second race will start with a partially reversed grid (the winner of race 1 picks a number out of a hat and that is his starting position, with those behind him swapping their spots as well).
There has also been a drive to increase the numbers of competitors in the series, with the number for 2010 rising slightly from the 2009 close.

Race 1
Jean-Eric Vergne started his 2010 British Formula 3 campaign in style with a lights to flag victory at Oulton Park in agreeable weather conditions. The Frenchman took the chequered flag untroubled ahead of Oliver Webb.
Adriano Buzaid started 5th on the grid, but jumped up to 3rd by the exit of the first turn, while Carlos Huertas took an uneventful 4th. The opening salvo bore rather less desirable fruit for Rupert Svendsen-Cook – having qualified in 3rd, he swapped places with Buzaid and ran home in 5th place. Daisuke Nakajima brought his Dallara home 6th.

Once the opening few corners had been survived, there was little action in the top-6, as the front group completed the 19 lap distance without changing position.
Behind the leaders, it was more of the same. In a mostly static pack, the retirements of James Calado (lap 4) and Jay Bridger (lap 17) were the only two incidents that shook the order. This misfortune for Calado and Bridger would eventually promote Gabriel Dias, Jazeman Jaafar and Daniel McKenzie to 7th, 8th and 9th respectively. Mover of the day went to William Buller – the Hitech Racing driver started a disappointing 16th, yet he managed to slice through the field to come home 10th and claim the final point.
Menasheh Idafar took the first National Class victory of the year, several seconds ahead of his sole competitor, James Cole.

Pos. Driver Team Time
1. Jean-Eric Vergne Carlin Motorsport 30:21.288
2. Oliver Webb Fortec Motorsport +3.491
3. Adriano Buzaid Carlin Motorsport +5.797
4. Carlos Huertas Raikkonen Robertson Racing +9.698
5. Rupert Svendsen-Cook Carlin Motorsport +11.164
6. Daisuke Nakajima Raikkonen Robertson Racing +12.572
7. Gabriel Dias Hitech Racing +15.741
8. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Motorsport +16.942
9. Daniel McKenzie Fortec Motorsport +17.771
10. William Buller Hitech Racing +20.105
11. Menasheh Idafar T-Sport +26.259
12. James Cole T-Sport +33.714
13. Max Snegirev Fortec Motorsport +34.159
14. Hywel Lloyd C F Racing +34.800
15. Alex Brundle T-Sport +35.428
16. Adderly Fong Sino Vision Racing +42.381
17. Lucas Foresti Carlin Motorsport +1 Lap
18. Jay Bridger Litespeed F3 +2 Laps
Did not finish
19. Felipe Nasr Raikkonen Robertson Racing +12 Laps
20. James Calado Carlin Motorsport +16 Laps

Race 2
The track was partially damp as the red lights counted down for race 2.  Gabriel Dias started on pole on the partially reversed grid, but was jumped by Daisuke Nakajima off the line.  Behind them Rupert Svendsen-Cook settled into 3rd spot as the leading trio ran from the following pack, led by Carlos Huertas.  Adriano Buzaid got off the line well, but a momentary slip onto the grass dropped him behind race 1 victor, Jean-Eric Vergne in 6th.

Dias also found himself sliding on the grass a lap later following an unsuccessful move on Nakajima.  An attempt around the outside of the Japanese driver at Old Hall Corner, saw the Brazilian hit a damp patch and slide off.  Idling around at the rear, Dias would call it a day several laps later in order to preserve his car for race 3.
It would not be the last off-track excursion – Sino Vision’s Adderly Fong also took to the grass while allowing the leaders to lap him on the 4th tour.  The Hong Kong native stalled on the grid, leaving him a long way behind the pack when he finally got going.

Rupert Svendsen-Cook held out to win race 2. © http://www.fota.co.uk

As Fong struggled, so did Nakajima out front.  Unable to get fully comfortable, the Raikkonen-Robertson driver continued to hold off Svendsen-Cook for the lead, but it was not enough to keep the Suffolk driver at bay.  Despite Nakajima weaving four times across the narrow track, Svendsen-Cook had enough momentum to zip by the inside on the approach to Cascades.  Nakajima would have no answer.

With the leading two safely out front, Huertas continued to fend off the chasing pack for 3rd place for the duration.  With Buzaid, Vergne, Jazeman Jaafar and Daniel McKenzie constantly pressing the Colombian, Huertas refused to give way, despite a poorly handling car.  Regardless of the pressure Huertas held on to his podium spot, with no one in the pack able to make a move on anyone else.

As the chequered flag dropped, Svendsen-Cook celebrated; however Nakajima ran him close – the Carlin driver eventually took the victory by only 0.6 of-a-second.
Menasheh Idafar took his second National Class victory  of the meeting following a spin and retirement by the only other runner, James Cole.

Pos. Driver Team Time
1. Rupert Svendsen-Cook Carlin Motorsport 20:08.175
2. Daisuke Nakajima Raikkonen Robertson Racing +0.658
3. Carlos Huertas Raikkonen Robertson Racing +3.168
4. Adriano Buzaid Carlin Motorsport +3.618
5. Jean-Eric Vergne Carlin Motorsport +4.500
6. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Motorsport +7.417
7. Daniel McKenzie Fortec Motorsport +7.916
8. Oliver Webb Fortec Motorsport +8.240
9. William Buller Hitech Racing +9.378
10. Alex Brundle T-Sport +10.860
11. James Calado Carlin Motorsport +11.006
12. Jay Bridger Litespeed F3 +12.355
13. Menasheh Idafar T-Sport +20.228
14. Felipe Nasr Raikkonen Robertson Racing +23.420
15. Lucas Foresti Carlin Motorsport +23.975
16. Max Snegirev Fortec Motorsport +27.317
17. Adderly Fong Sino Vision Racing +1 Lap
18. Hywel Lloyd C F Racing +3 Laps
Did not finish
19. Gabriel Dias Hitech Racing +7 Laps
20. Jay Bridger Litespeed F3 +9 Laps

Race 3
If Vergne found himself somewhat in the pack in race 2, it certainly was not the case in the weekend’s feature event. Starting on pole, the young Frenchman sailed off into an unassailable lead ahead of Oliver Webb – the pair picking up the second respective 1-2 finishes of the weekend.

Sadly for fellow front-row man Carlos Huertas, it all turned a bit sour – the Colombian stalled his Mercedes-powered Dallara on the grid, relegating himself to the rear of the field. Rupert Svendsen-Cook started on the outside of row two and slotted simply into 3rd position by the static Huertas and that is where he stayed for the distance, despite constant pressing from behind.
Both Jay Bridger and Jazeman Jaafar had awful opening laps – Bridger was slow away and fell down the order with speed, while Jaafar spun his Dallara in the opening corners, collecting Nation Class driver Menasheh Idafar in his travels. Idafar also clipped the only other National Class runner James Cole.  After a check up in the pits, Cole continued onward to take the National Class win.

Vergne commanded the lead in races 1 & 3. © fota.co.uk

Alex Brundle started the race down in 10th spot, but a wonderful start propelled him into 7th position; however passes by James Calado and Bridger (both lap 2) would quickly drop him back to 9th, where he would finish just ahead of Daniel McKenzie.
Calado himself was 9th on the grid; however moves on Bridger and Daisuke Nakajima (as well as Brundle) were enough to take the Worcestershire driver up to 6th, where he finished.
It could have been 5th place for Calado, but for Adriano Buzaid holding him off lap after lap, despite some heavy pressure. Buzaid also found himself pressing 4th place runner Gabriel Dias without success.

In the end, Vergne made it look easy. The relatively small margin of victory (1.3 seconds) disguising the fact that Webb never looked like making a move for the win. It gives Vergne a clear title lead going into the second race weekend at Silverstone – a lead he will be looking to build on as the year progresses.

Pos. Driver Team Time
1. Jean-Eric Vergne Carlin Motorsport 39:00.158
2. Oliver Webb Fortec Motorsport +1.377
3. Rupert Svendsen-Cook Carlin Motorsport +25.912
4. Gabriel Dias Hitech Racing +26.893
5. Adriano Buzaid Carlin Motorsport +27.544
6. James Calado Carlin Motorsport +28.131
7. Daisuke Nakajima Raikkonen Robertson Racing +31.976
8. Jay Bridger Litespeed F3 +30.341
9. Alex Brundle T-Sport +40.341
10. Daniel McKenzie Fortec Motorsport +42.837
11. William Buller Hitech Racing +43.024
12. Carlos Huertas Raikkonen Robertson Racing +46.428
13. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Motorsport +48.547
14. Max Snegirev Fortec Motorsport +1:04.443
15. Lucas Foresti Carlin Motorsport +1:16.562
16. James Cole T-Sport +1 Lap
Did not finish
17. Felipe Nasr Raikkonen Robertson Racing +11 Laps
18. Menasheh Idafar T-Sport +26 Laps

Race Rating: 2 out of 5
——–

2010 British F3 Championship (Round 1)
Pos Driver Points
1 Jean-Eric Vergne 50
2 Oliver Webb 33
3 Rupert Svendsen-Cook 30
4 Adriano Buzaid 27
5 Daisuke Nakajima 19
6 Carlos Huertas 18
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