Felipe Nasr’s quest for the 2011 British Formula 3 Championship received yet another boost at the Nurburgring yesterday.
The Brazilian inherited the lead from teammate Kevin Magnussen with three laps remaining, thanks to the Dane suffering an engine misfire.
It had been a dream race until that point for Magnussen, as he steered himself towards what should have been his fourth victory of the season. The stalking Nasr needed no further invitation and he swept passed the ailing Magnussen on lap 18.
Deprived of momentum, Magnussen could not even stay in the top four. As he lost five-six seconds per lap in the final few tours, Carlos Huertas (Carlin), Antonio Felix da Costa (Hitech) and Lucas Foresti (Fortec) all gained spots.
There was further fortune for da Costa. Having been given a three-place grid drop for a Race 2 infraction, the Brazilian made a good start from 8th to take 6th on the opening lap.
More passes on Rupert Svendsen-Cook (Carlin, lap 2), Foresti (lap 16) brought the GP3 regular to Huertas. Sensing a gap, da Costa made a last lap lunge to steal the runner-up spot.
Huertas did not hide his disappointment. The Colombian had also been handed a three-place penalty thanks to Race 2 foul. Jumping from 5th to 3rd, the Carlin man stayed there for much of the race; although a brief gain thanks to the struggling Magnussen was quickly lost to da Costa’s aggression.
Foresti passed Magnussen on the final lap to ensure a solid points finish, but solid points are what the Brazilian needs if he is to take the challenge to Nasr.
Svendsen-Cook came to within a second of demoting Magnussen further, but had to settle for 6th, just 1.1 seconds ahead of William Buller (7th, Fortec) and two seconds clear of Pietro Fantin (8th, Hitech).
Fortec Motorsport’s Harry Tincknell made it twelve consecutive points finishes; coming home 9th just 0.4 of-a-second in front of the attacking Pedro Nunes (Hitech).
It had been a good run by Nunes. Having started 13th, the GP3 regular suffered a poor start, but moves on Pipo Derani (lap 2), Fahmi Ilyas (lap 4) and Scott Pye (lap 6) brought Nunes back into the points paying positions.
Jazeman Jaafar’s run of good results ended with a point-less finish, although the Malaysian still carved out a fabulous race. A stall on the formation lap saw Jaafar start from the pitlane, but the Carlin pilot sliced through the field to assume 11th spot at the flag.
Pye (Double R) took 12th place at the flag, nearly two-seconds shy of Jaafar.
As the race aged, neither Double R’s Derani nor morning race winner Jack Harvey (Carlin) progressed through the field. Beyond a brief tussle for position, static races would see the pair finish 13th and 14th respectively, with Sino Vision’s Adderly Fong (15th) and Yann Cunha (16th, T-Sport) several seconds in arrears.
Bart Hylkema beat Kotaro Sakurai to the Rookie Class win, making it a clean sweep for the Dutch pilot this weekend. Hylkema led the battle for the duration, but his victory was rubber stamped thanks to a late drive through penalty for his Japanese opponent. Hywel Lloyd (Sino Vision) was the final classified driver in 19th and lap down having had an early off.
Meanwhile, neither Ilyas (Fortec) nor Menasheh Idafar made it to the end, with Ilyas disappearing four laps from the end.
Idafar’s nightmare weekend continued – a pitstop at the end of the second lap dropped the Bahraini national to the rear of the pack. That was compounded with a spin two laps later, bringing out a brief safety car while his stricken Dallara was gathered by the marshals.
With the series moving to the sixth round in France in less than two weeks, Foresti has certainly given himself a mountain to climb. The Brazilian is now 75 points adrift of title leader Nasr
This leaves the Fortec pilot needing a string of startling results to reel Nasr in and considering Nasr’s current form, that isn’t likely to happen.
British Formula 3 Round of the Nurburgring (Rd 5, Race 3) Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Felipe Nasr Carlin Dallara-VW 40m45.907s 2. Antonio Felix da Costa Hitech Dallara-VW + 6.964s 3. Carlos Huertas Carlin Dallara-VW + 7.576s 4. Lucas Foresti Fortec Dallara-Merc + 9.974s 5. Kevin Magnussen Carlin Dallara-VW + 16.152s 6. Rupert Svendsen-Cook Carlin Dallara-VW + 16.779s 7. Will Buller Fortec Dallara-Merc + 17.867s 8. Pietro Fantin Hitech Dallara-VW + 18.772s 9. Harry Tincknell Fortec Dallara-Merc + 20.939s 10. Pedro Nunes Hitech Dallara-VW + 21.387s 11. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Dallara-VW + 22.075s 12. Scott Pye Double R Dallara-Merc + 22.854s 13. Pipo Derani Double R Dallara-Merc + 28.403s 14. Jack Harvey Carlin Dallara-VW + 28.684s 15. Adderly Fong Sino Vision Dallara-Merc + 30.346s 16. Yann Cunha T-Sport Dallara-VW + 32.043s 17. Bart Hylkema T-Sport Dallara-Mugen + 37.684s 18. Kotaro Sakurai Hitech Dallara-Mugen + 1m09.544s 19. Hywel Lloyd Sino Vision Dallara-Merc + 1 lap Retirements: Fahmi Ilyas Fortec Dallara-Merc 16 laps Menasheh Idafar T-Sport Dallara-VW 5 laps 2011 British Formula 3 Championship Standings(Rd 5, Race 3) Pos Driver Team Points Championship Class 1. Felipe Nasr Carlin 196 2. Lucas Foresti Fortec 121 3. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin 110 4. Carlos Huertas Carlin 107 5. Kevin Magnussen Carlin 96 6. Rupert Svendsen-Cook Carlin 79 7. William Buller Fortec 75 8. Harry Tincknell Fortec 63 9. Pietro Fantin Hitech 58 10. Riki Christodoulou Hitech 61 11. Menasheh Idafar T-Sport 27 12. Scott Pye Double R 26 Rookie Class 1. Bart Hylkema T-Sport 214 2. Kotaro Sakurai Hitech 159