As the 2011 British Formula 3 Series turns to its second half, Carlin’s Felipe Nasr notched up his sixth victory of the season, earning a ninety-six point lead.
While not cruising to the flag, the Brazilian kept his nose clear of runner-up pilot Antonio Felix da Costa (Hitech Racing) for the duration, although the Portuguese runner tried his luck early on.
Nasr registered the win by only 1.2 seconds, yet appeared to have plenty in hand – an element demonstrated by claiming a late fastest lap.
There was another close fight for the final spot on the podium with Carlos Huertas (Carlin) holding off his Danish teammate, Kevin Magnussen. For the most part, it had been a quiet race for the Colombian, disturbed only by the charging Magnussen in the final few tours.
Magnussen, on the other hand, had a very different race. Having started on pole, the Dane bogged down badly, dropping him to 7th by the first turn. Swift moves passed Jack Harvey and Rupert Svendsen-Cook saw Magnussen climb back to 5th, followed by a multi-lap battle with championship challenger Lucas Foresti.
Sadly, the Fortec pilot was the loser in fight – as they fought, the pair collided at Beausset corner sending Foresti into a quick spin and demoting the Brazilian to 7th.
Breaking from the chasing pack, Magnussen chased Huertas down, but ran out of laps, leaving the Dane to settle for 4th. In the ensuing melee, Harvey swept passed Svendsen-Cook, soon pulling clear of his Carlin teammate.
As Harvey picked up another top-five, Svendsen-Cook was under pressure from Fortec’s William Buller. The Northern Ireland man grabbed 7th from a struggling Foresti, pushing Svendsen-Cook to the line – indeed, only six-tenths separated the pair as the crossed the finish line.
If anything, the fight for the final points places was just as ferocious. Suffering from battle scars, Foresti fell toward Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin), Harry Tincknell (Fortec), Menasheh Idafar (T-Sport) and Pietro Fantin (Hitech).
The quintet fought eachother hard – probably a little too hard – but it was Idafar and Fantin that would lose out. In fact, their races ended some laps prior to the flag, with Idafar retiring at two-thirds distance with a broken exhaust and Fantin suffering from an out of breath engine.
Jaafar headed the remaining trio, while a damaged Foresti claimed 9th, only two-tenths ahead of Tincknell.
Sadly, both Jaafar and Idafar garnered race 2 grid penalties for their battle tactics – Idafar took his T-Sport machine well outside the track limits to overtake early on, while Jaafar’s driving was considered far too aggressive in his fight for position.
Idafar wasn’t alone on the retirement list. The Bahraini national joined Bart Hylkema, who pulled in on lap three with a damaged suspension and rear wing.
Kotaro Sakurai won the Rookie Class – an anonymous feat as he is now the class’ only competitor. It didn’t stop him having a tough race – in the early laps, cockpit ballast came loose in his Hitech machine, lodging itself under the brakes, necessitating a pitstop. Sakurai finished 18th and one lap down.
2011 British Formula 3 Rd of Paul Ricard (Rd 6, Race 1) Pos Driver Team Time / Gap 1 Felipe Nasr Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen 28m 50.120s (14 laps) 2 Antonio Felix da Costa Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +1.295s 3 Carlos Huertas Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +8.602s 4 Kevin Magnussen Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +8.994s 5 Jack Harvey Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +12.811s 6 Rupert Svendsen-Cook Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +19.612s 7 William Buller Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +20.232s 8 Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +33.329s 9 Lucas Foresti Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +35.888s 10 Harry Tincknell Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +36.059s Other finishers: 11) Fahmi Ilyas (Fortec); 12) Hywel Lloyd (Sino Vision); 13) Pipo Derani (Double R); 14) Scott Pye (Double R); 15) Pietro Fantin (Hitech); 16) Yann Cunha (T-Sport); 17) Adderly Fong (Sino Vision); 18) Kotaro Sakurai (Hitech, Rookie Class); Retired: Bart Hylkema (T-Sport, 3 laps); Menasheh Idafar (T-Sport, 10 laps) 2011 British Formula 3 Championship Standings (Rd 6, Race 1) Pos Driver Points Championship Class 1 Nasr 217 points 2 Foresti 123 3 Huertas 119 4 Jaafar 113 5 Magnussen 106 6 Svendsen-Cook 85 Rookie class 1 Hylkema 214 2 Sakurai 180