Carlin’s Felipe Nasr took a well fought victory in the opening race of the 2011 British Formula 3 season at Monza.
The Brazilian crossed the line with a three second advantage over Jazeman Jaafar in what was crash infested affair that saw three safety car period in the thirty minute sprint.
Nasr ran in 6th for much of the race, before moves on teammate’s Carlos Huertas and Rupert Svendsen-Cook brought him into the top four. Nasr swept by Jaafar on the 9th tour.
A clash between then leaders Kevin Magnussen (Carlin) and Lucas Foresti (Fortec) handed Nasr the race.
“It was a great race, but I was a bit concerned from the start. …at the chicane I was on the outside which wasn’t the best place to be and I dropped to sixth. After the first safety car I climbed to fifth and then after the second safety car I climbed another two places. When I caught up with Kevin and Lucas I knew something was going to happen as they were pretty close. After they touched I had the opportunity to be in front and I just did the best I could to break the tow from the cars behind.”
Jaafar did lead the race temporarily. A stellar start elevated the Malaysian to the front of the pack, only to lose the advantage to Magnussen and Foresti upon the first restart. The Carlin runner stayed in the running for the rest of the event.
Huertas made it a Carlin 1-2-3, while polesitter Will Buller claimed 4th. Buller had something of a dreadful opening, as he and several others – inexplicably – did not make it to the grid on time, relegating them to a pit lane start.
Rupert Svendsen-Cook (Carlin) took 5th ahead of Riki Christodoulou (6th, Hitech). Hywel Lloyd (Sino Vision), Menasheh Idafar (T-Sport), the recovering Foresti and Bruno Mendez (Hitech) rounded out the top-ten.
Harry Tincknell brought his Volkswagen-powered Fortec home 11th, with British F3 débutante Fahmi Ilyas safety behind in 12th. Adderly Fong and Yann Cunha trailed home in 13th and 14th respectively, while the wounded Kevin Magnussen crossed the line 15th and last.
The season started with a smash for Pipo Derani. The Brazilian collided first with Jack Harvey and then the barrier off the start line, bringing out the first safety car; however that mishap could not compare to accident that claimed the Rookie Class drivers, Bart Hylkema (T-Sport) and Kotaru Sakurai (Hitech).
Approaching the Variante della Roggia, Sakurai slammed into the rear of Hylkema, leaving Sakurai sliding down the escape road on his roll hoop bar. Hylkema returned to the pits with a sliced rear tyre and damaged rear wing, but rejoined with half the race run.
The final safety car period was instigated by Pietro Fantin (Hitech) and Scott Pye (Double R). The duo removed eachother approaching the Variante del Rettifilo on the 9th tour, ensuring the race was neutralised once more.
Race Rating: 4 out of 5
Results - 14 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Felipe Nasr Carlin Dallara-VW 30m56.691s 2. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Dallara-VW + 3.116s 3. Carlos Huertas Carlin Dallara-VW + 3.166s 4. William Buller Fortec Dallara-Merc + 4.103s 5. Rupert Svendsen-Cook Carlin Dallara-VW + 5.140s 6. Riki Christodoulou Hitech Dallara-VW + 6.674s 7. Hywel Lloyd Sino Vision Dallara-Merc + 9.995s 8. Menasheh Idafar T-Sport Dallara-VW + 10.018s 9. Lucas Foresti Fortec Dallara-Merc + 10.137s 10. Bruno Mendez Hitech Dallara-VW + 11.324s 11. Harry Tincknell Fortec Dallara-Merc + 11.447s 12. Fahmi Ilyas Fortec Dallara-Merc + 13.553s 13. Adderly Fong Sino Vision Dallara-Merc + 13.857s 14. Yann Cunha T-Sport Dallara-VW + 14.121s 15. Kevin Magnussen Carlin Dallara-VW + 1m21.068s Retirements/Not classified: Bart Hylkema T-Sport Dallara-Mugen 10 laps Pietro Fantin Hitech Dallara-VW 9 laps Scott Pye Double R Dallara-Merc 9 laps Kotaro Sakurai Hitech Dallara-Mugen 2 laps Jack Harvey Carlin Dallara-VW 1 lap Pipo Derani Double R Dallara-Merc 1 lap Provisional championship standings 1 Nasr 21 points 2 Jaafar 15 3 Huertas 12 4 Buller 10 5 Svendsen-Cook 8 6 Christodoulou 6 Rookie class: 1 Hylkema 21