Carlin’s Rupert Svendsen-Cook claimed his second British Formula 3 victory of the season at Donington Park circuit today.
The Ipswich man launched into the lead following a perfect start from pole, while fellow front-row man Jack Harvey fell behind Carlos Huertas on the approach to the Redgate.
As they came to collect the chequered flag twenty-nine minutes later, Svendsen-Cook proudly led home an all-Carlin podium.
Svendsen-Cook dominated the twenty-one-lap race from then on and never looked like losing the lead at any stage; however rather than embellish his lead, the 21-year-old treated his lead softly, extending it to 3.19 seconds come the chequered flag.
“I have been having good starts all year and you really need to maximise your time on pole. Every lap, I was still improving the lap time – we had the pace from the start to finish and it never went away and had a feeling that if I wanted to push a little harder, there was pace in the car to do so.”
Huertas, on the other hand, was kept somewhat busy for the duration. For much of the event, the Colombian held the eager Harvey at bay, yet despite the rookie Harvey was unable to force his way by Huertas – a common issue at the Leicestershire circuit.
It was an important result for Huertas – with both Kevin Magnussen and William Buller having disappointing races, the podium brought Huertas back up to 2nd in the Championship.
“It was a great start, but I have to keep improving for tomorrow. The first and second sectors were quite good, compared to [Harvey], but I struggled with understeer in the chicane, so I had to watch my mirrors – apart from that it was good.”
Harvey, too, was watching his mirrors, although initially from Magnussen, until a third lap clash with newly crowned champion Felipe Nasr took both out of contention. For the rookie Harvey, his race hung on a sluggish start – something he is looking to amend tomorrow.
“Our car is definitely a lot quicker than finishing 3rd. I made a little mistake at the start and nearly stalled – I got punished for that and could never recover that position.
I felt comfortable with Carlos [Huertas] in front of me and knew I could go quicker than that, but just couldn’t find a way passed. You get close enough, but lose downforce up the front.”
The pair touched as Nasr was drawing alongside at the Old Hairpin, leaving the pair with deflated Cooper Tyres. Nasr pitted at the end of lap three for a new set of tyres, with Magnussen stopping a lap later, although Nasr would soon retire from the event.
Magnussen continued on to set the fastest race lap, before he too discontinued his race at the end of the thirteenth lap.
Reigning Formula Ford champion Scott Pye (Double R) picked up the reigns in 4th place. The Australia drew to the rear of Harvey, but as with many others, found overtaking far too difficult on the fast, flowing track.
Pye chased Harvey to flag, with Jazeman Jaafar (5th, Carlin) and guest pilot Valtteri Bottas (6th, Double R) in close pursuit.
A stunning start from T-Sport’s Menasheh Idafar speared the Anglo-Bahraini from 16th on the grid to 11th by the end of the opening lap.
Idafar took advantage of the misfortune of others to climb to 8th by lap nine; however the T-Sport pilot clashed with Pipo Derani at Melbourne Hairpin with four laps remaining. With Derani sent into a half spin, Idafar claimed 7th place – a position he held to the flag, whereas Derani fell to 11th. The incident remains under investigation at the time of writing.
Harry Tincknell also quietly climbed the order. Having started 14th, the Fortec man was up to 10th by lap nine, until a slight off by teammate Will Buller gave Tincknell another spot.
The Idafar / Derani incident promoted Tincknell to 8th; he beat the recovering Buller to the finish line by a mere 0.616s. A disappointed Buller assumed 9th place, but remained thankful that he garnered some points at least to bring slightly closer to Magnussen.
Rounding out the top ten was a quiet Max Snegirev. The Russian guest-pilot avoided trouble to pick up several spots after dropping to 14th at the start, including a forceful pass on Hitech’s Pietro Fantin on the eighth lap.
There were several other incidents during the race, including offs from Lucas Foresti (lap 1) and Hywel Lloyd (lap 2). Fahmi Ilyas was slapped with a drive through penalty at the halfway point for exceeding the track limits.
Kotaro Sakurai took the Rookie Class win and the Rookie Championship, finishing 19th overall.
2011 British F3 Rnd of Donington (Rd 9, Race 1, Sept 24th) Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Rupert Svendsen-Cook Carlin Dallara-VW 29m29.797s 2. Carlos Huertas Carlin Dallara-VW + 3.196s 3. Jack Harvey Carlin Dallara-VW + 3.646s 4. Scott Pye Double R Dallara-Merc + 4.027s 5. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Dallara-VW + 4.717s 6. Valtteri Bottas Double R Dallara-Merc + 5.200s 7. Menasheh Idafar T-Sport Dallara-VW + 15.160s 8. Harry Tincknell Fortec Dallara-Merc + 16.220s 9. Will Buller Fortec Dallara-Merc + 16.836s 10. Maxim Snegirev Hitech Dallara-VW + 18.050s 11. Pipo Derani Double R Dallara-Merc + 18.614s 12. Pietro Fantin Hitech Dallara-VW + 19.224s 13. Yann Cunha T-Sport Dallara-VW + 23.309s 14. Bart Hylkema T-Sport Dallara-VW + 27.360s 15. Hywel Lloyd Sino Vision Dallara-Merc + 28.107s 16. Adderly Fong Sino Vision Dallara-Merc + 32.653s 17. Lucas Foresti Fortec Dallara-Merc + 33.854s 18. Fahmi Ilyas Fortec Dallara-Merc + 59.390s 19. Kotaro Sakurai Hitech Dallara-Mugen + 1m07.015s Retirements: Kevin Magnussen Carlin Dallara-VW 13 laps Felipe Nasr Carlin Dallara-VW 5 laps 2011 British F3 Championship Standings (Rd 9, Race 1) Pos Driver Points International Class 1. Felipe Nasr 297 2. Carlo Huertas 181 3. Kevin Magnussen 175 4. William Buller 173 5. Jazeman Jaafar 167 6. Rupert Svendsen-Cook 164 7. Lucas Foresti 140 8. Jack Harvey 104 9. Pietro Fantin 100 10. Harry Tincknell 71 11. Scott Pye 58 12. Riki Christodoulou 51 Rookie Class 1. Kotaro Sakurai 321 2. Bart Hylkema 214 3. Luca Orlandi 45