Jazeman Jaafar claimed a stellar British F3 victory at Rockingham this afternoon, despite the best intentions of Alex Lynn and Felix Serralles.
The Carlin racer jumped into the lead from 3rd when front row pairing Jack Harvey and Lynn bogged down on the line.
Lynn recovered from his poor start – helped somewhat by Harvey blocking an emerging pack – to find himself back in 2nd and fighting off Fortec teammates Serralles and Hannes van Asseldonk.
The front three pulled away from van Asseldonk; however they would rarely be covered by more than three seconds.
Each lap around, Jaafar, Lynn and Serralles measured the gap to each other – occasionally pulling slightly away or being drawn in, yet with every tour the chances of a move up the order became less and less likely.
Ever calm, Jaafar held the gap out front, eventually winning by 2.1 seconds – adding to recent successes at Pau and Brands Hatch. The Malaysian had every right to be pleased with his performance:
“It feels amazing. To get where we are today, we kept it consistent and kept it cool. [At the start] I found my clutch ready to go and when [the lights] switched off, I went for it without looking left or right and then Jack had a poor start; I went inside straight away and just pulled the gap from there. In the beginning [I was worried about Lynn], but after the rhythm got started, my laptimes started improving, I didn’t worry after that.”
Unable to force the issue, Lynn brought his Mercedes-powered Fortec home in the runner-up spot, albeit with a gap of only six-tenths over Serralles. For Lynn, there was some relief:
“It was a bad start and then in the first corner, I made up for it and tried to put my car in the best place possible. The pace was too similar. I could catch and push Jazeman a little bit, but he would pull out again.”
Serralles, too, was happy with the outcome:
“I think I had the pace to challenge for 2nd place, but not sure about Jazeman. I’m just really happy I ended up on the podium – I didn’t qualify very well and it’s not my favourite track I’m just happy to have the points.
I hard a really good start off the dirty side [of the track], but there was a big shuffle and Harvey and Alex didn’t have great starts and we just battled it out into the first corner and I was fortunate to come out in 3rd place.”
Van Asseldonk assumed 4th, although the Dutch pilot came close to losing the place to Harvey at the line. Carlin racer Pietro Fantin enjoyed a rather uneventful drive to 6th – the Brazilian was neither close to Harvey, nor too threatened from behind.
A stunning start by Harry Tincknell saw him climb from the final row to 8th place by turn one. That became 7th on lap two with a move on Fahmi Ilyas; however the Essex racer was unable to progress further.
Ilyas’ race would go from bad to worse. Demoted by Tincknell, the Malaysian lost his front wing the next time by, dropping him a lap behind the field.
It wasn’t the end of the action for Ilyas – the Double R driver hit the rear of T-Sport’s Nick McBride while trying to unlap himself, resulting in retirement for Ilyas.
Carlos Sainz Jr finished 8th on the road; however the Spaniard picked up a post-race penalty for exceeding the track limits at turn seven, demoting him to 9th. It brought Pipo Derani above Sainz Jr, gifting the Fortec racer with pole position for race two in the process.
Like Sainz Jr, McBride crossed the line in 10th, only to be dropped to 12th when received a penalty for the same infraction.
As a result, Spike Goddard rounded out the top ten – securing the National Class win as well – but only just, as the T-Sport man edged rival Duvashen Padayachee over the line by six-tenths.
Geoff Uhrhane’s race ended after four laps when an inattentive Pipo Derani callously unted the Double R man off the road at Chapman’s.
It is a result that give Jaafar a 15-point lead over Sainz Jr in the point standings, with Harvey 30 points back in 3rd spot.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Dallara-VW 29m18.055s 2. Alex Lynn Fortec Dallara-Merc + 2.173s 3. Felix Serrallés Fortec Dallara-Merc + 2.855s 4. Hannes van Asseldonk Fortec Dallara-Merc + 6.718s 5. Jack Harvey Carlin Dallara-VW + 6.853s 6. Pietro Fantin Carlin Dallara-VW + 12.835s 7. Harry Tincknell Carlin Dallara-VW + 16.006s 8. Pipo Derani Fortec Dallara-Merc + 53.243s 9. Carlos Sainz Jr Carlin Dallara-VW + 1m03.563s 10. Spike Goddard T-Sport Dallara-Mugen + 1m07.987s 11. Duvashen Padayachee Double R Dallara-Mugen + 1m08.672s 12. Nick McBride T-Sport Dallara-Nissan + 1m15.935s Retirements: Fahmi Ilyas Double R Dallara-Merc 14 laps Geoff Uhrhane Double R Dallara-Merc 3 laps
2012 British F3 Series points standings (Rd 4, Race 1) International Class Pos Driver Points 1. Jazeman Jaafar 121 2. Carlos Sainz Jr 106 3. Jack Harvey 91 4. Felix Serralles 85 5. Alex Lynn 79 6. Pipo Derani 64 7. Pietro Fantin 54 8. Harry Tincknell 52 9. Hannes van Asseldonk 36 10. Nick McBride 25 National Class Pos Driver Points 1. Richard 'Spike' Goddard 161 2. Duvashen Padayachee 118