Jack Harvey opened the British Formula 3 season by winning in style at a damp Oulton Park, well ahead of teammates Jazeman Jaafar and Carlos Sainz Jr.
The 18-year-old enjoyed a stellar getaway from the line to open a 2.7 second lead by the end of the first tour of the circuit.
Alone out front, Harvey continued to extend his lead and indeed set fastest lap after fastest lap, eventually building a gap of 9.5 seconds after a dozen laps.
From there, the Englishman eased his pace, although the drying conditions allowed the laptimes to shrink with every circulation.
“In the race I pushed when I needed to and in the last few laps I radioed the team and asked ‘how big is the gap?’ and they said it was about ‘nine seconds’ at the time. So I reined it in to get the win.
“The car was really good and allowed me to get a gap and then at the end I just drove to make sure I got home. The tyres were really good. I set my fastest lap on my last, not because I was pushing harder, but simply because the track was getting drier.”
Jaafar held 2nd for the duration, following a storming start. From 3rd, the Malaysian shot through a gap, taking fellow Carlin runner Harry Tincknell off the start as they entered the sweeping Old Hall corner.
Tincknell pressed Jaafar for several laps, before he too began to feel the pressure from Sainz Jr, allowing Jaafar to escape.
Sainz Jr finally swept by Tincknell over the line at the halfway point, giving the Spaniard an extra impetus to race for 2nd; however Jaafar had just enough to stay ahead of the Red Bull junior driver.
On the podium, Jaafar was rightly pleased with his performance:
“My eyes were on the lights, but my ears were on the revs, so I was just focussing on having a good start and a good finish. The car felt really good and we were focussing on finishing and 2nd is a good start to the year.
“It was tricky, but you can see some dry marks on the track and overheat the tyres sometimes, so you have to find the right balance. I knew there were guys that were quicker than me behind, but the gap was good enough.
“Holding Harry wasn’t easy in the beginning, because we finding the grip. Carlos was catching up quite a lot, but he has van Asseldonk, so there were different kinds of pressures behind.”
Sainz Jr fell behind Jaafar as the race drew to a close, allowing Fortec’s Hannes van Asseldonk to close in the final tours.
Van Asseldonk continued to press Sainz Jr hard, only for the Dutch pilot to fall off at the chicane on the last lap, gifting the Carlin rookie a free run to the flag. Understandably, Sainz Jr happy with the finish.
“We had a positive day. At the start of the championship, it’s never easy to start at Oulton Park – it is a difficult track in the rain, so I have to be happy, but we were really fast in the wet conditions, but not so fast at the end.
I was trying to catch [Tincknell] and was tight behind him, but he was just a bit faster than me in the last sector and I was faster into the first and second, which made it difficult to overtake. Finally he made a small mistake and I managed to pass him.”
Van Asseldonk’s off gave 4th to Tincknell. The Englishman had been passed by van Asseldonk eleven laps in, falling toward the next Fortec of Alex Lynn in the late laps. Lynn pressed Tincknell several times, repeatedly attempting to take the Carlin racer around the outside of Old Hall.
On the run to the finish line, Lynn enjoyed a good run from the final corner; however not enough to overtake Tincknell before the flag.
Fahmi Ilyas took a credible 6th ahead of Felix Serralles (Fortec, 7th) and Pietro Fantin (Carlin, 8th), while Pipo Derani (Fortec) rumbled home 9th some ten seconds later. Both Serralles and Derani spun entering the last corner on the final lap, after putting a wheel on the still damp grass.
T-Sport’s Nick McBride rounded out the top ten, after losing two spots in another off on the last lap.
Ricard ‘Spike’ Goddard won the Rookie Class, nearly one lap ahead of his sole class competitor Duvashen Padayachee.
Geoff Uhrhane went off at Druids corner, ending his race prematurely.
Following the podium draw for the second race, Harvey will be starting a distant 12th – a difficult prospect at most circuits, but moreso at Oulton. On the flipside Padayachee has claimed pole position for race two, with Goddard along side.
2012 British F3 Round of Oulton Park (Rd 1, Race 1, 19 laps) Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Jack Harvey Carlin-Volkswagen 31m35.051s 2. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin-Volkswagen + 7.736s 3. Carlos Sainz Jr Carlin-Volkswagen + 11.165s 4. Harry Tincknell Carlin-Volkswagen + 23.070s 5. Alex Lynn Fortec-Mercedes + 23.119s 6. Fahmi Ilyas Double R-Mercedes + 37.052s 7. Felix Serralles Fortec-Mercedes + 39.354s 8. Pietro Fantin Carlin-Volkswagen + 42.102s 9. Pipo Derani Fortec-Mercedes + 53.068s 10. Nick McBride T-Sport-Nissan + 54.727s 11. Spike Goddard T-Sport-Mugen + 1m05.418s 12. Duvashen Padayachee Double R-Mugen + 1 lap Retirements: Hannes van Asseldonk Fortec-Mercedes 18 laps Geoff Uhrhane Double R-Mugen 4 laps
2012 British Formula 3 Series (Rd 1, Race 1) Pos Driver Points International Class 1. Jack Harvey 20 2. Jazeman Jaafar 15 3. Carlos Sainz Jr 12 4. Harry Tincknell 10 5. Alex Lynn 8 6. Fahmi Ilyas 6 7. Felix Serralles 4 8. Pietro Fantin 3 9. Pipo Derani 2 10. Nick McBride 1 Rookie Class 1. Spike Goddard 21 2. Duvashen Padayachee 15