Carlin championship contender Jack Harvey cruised to his fourth British Formula 3 win of the season at a sunny – if cool afternoon – Brands Hatch.
The 19-year-old led from lights-to-flag, while teammates Jazeman Jaafar and Harry Tincknell chased in the distance.
Fortec’s Alex Lynn broke the Carlin party as he shadowed Tincknell for the duration.
It was an impressive start for Harvey; especially considering the difficulties he has had getting off the line this season.
On this occasion, the Englishman pulled away gloriously, ensuring Jaafar fell away in his mirrors.
Jaafar held close to Harvey for the opening dozen laps, as the leader pulled out two-tenths at a time. From there, however, Harvey opened out and drew into the distance, eventually winning by a comfortable 9.5 seconds.
“There was a lot going on. I saved some tyres for this race – we worked on some bits and managed to pull a gap to Jazeman. Yesterday we struggled to do that and the race was probably a little bit easier than yesterday and I didn’t have this white-and-green machine in my mirrors the whole time. We made a few changes and managed to do a good job of it.”
With another relatively large gap to Tincknell, Jaafar settled for 2nd spot, solidifying his lead in the championship at the halfway point of the season.
“To be honest, the only opportunity I had was near the start of the safety car. I had a really good start, but [Harvey] was so much quicker in race pace and wasn’t making mistakes.”
Tincknell enjoyed a slightly busier race, although the Essex man seemed confident of his pace ahead of Lynn, who struggled to break his Carlin rival.
From there on, the race was somewhat static with Carlin’s Pietro Fantin nabbing 5th ahead of the squabbling Nick McBride (T-Sport) and Hannes van Asseldonk (Fortec), while Geoff Uhrhane assumed a solid 8th for Double R.
Felix Serralles forced 9th from Fahmi Ilyas just before the finish line – despite some rather “rough” defensive tactics from the Malaysian.
It was something of an unfortunate race for Serralles – the Puerto Rican lined up 6th on the grid, only to be caught out when Carlos Sainz Jr (Carlin) and Pipo Derani (Fortec) clattered eachother in Paddock Hill Bend on the opening lap.
The incident brought out a brief safety car, helping Serralles a degree while he pitted for a new right rear tyre. Meanwhile Sainz Jr and Derani were out of the spot.
Serralles can be pleased with the pace shown – the driver rejoined the race in 12th and some 20 seconds behind National Class runner Duvashen Padayachee.
It would be some ten laps before the Fortec man could catch the rear of the field, but when he did, he made short work of it.
Moves on Padayachee (lap 13), Spike Goddard (lap 19) and Adderly Fong (lap 20) gave Serralles free air and an opportunity to run on Ilyas – something the Puerto Rican national would take advantage of as they crossed the line.
Fong ran home to an unchallenged 11th, taking his third National Class victory of the weekend. The Canadian-Chinese driver led Goddard for much of the running, only for the latter to throw his T-Sport machine off after 22 laps, gifting Padayachee 12th spot.
“The car is very different with the Honda engine – there’s a bit less power, so the whole balance is different , but fundamentally it’s the same thing to drive. It’s nice to be back and to do well.”
With the sixth round coming in a week’s time, Jaafar still holds the lead of the series, but the gap has shrunk significantly, with the Malaysian now leading the resurgent Harvey by only seven points. Roll on Norisring.
2012 British F3 Round of Brands Hatch (Rd 5, Race 3, 30 laps) Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Jack Harvey Carlin Dallara-VW 40m32.384s 2. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Dallara-VW + 9.574s 3. Harry Tincknell Carlin Dallara-VW + 19.246s 4. Alex Lynn Fortec Dallara-Merc + 19.806s 5. Pietro Fantin Carlin Dallara-VW + 30.700s 6. Nick McBride T-Sport Dallara-Nissan + 40.541s 7. Hannes van Asseldonk Fortec Dallara-Merc + 41.400s 8. Geoff Uhrhane Double R Dallara-Mugen + 51.096s 9. Felix Serralles Fortec Dallara-Merc + 1m02.228s 10. Fahmi Ilyas Double R Dallara-Merc + 1m02.261s 11. Adderly Fong CF Dallara-Mugen + 1m15.091s 12. Duvashen Padayachee Double R Dallara-Mugen + 1 lap Retirements: Spike Goddard T-Sport Dallara-Mugen 22 laps Pipo Derani Fortec Dallara-Merc 0 laps Carlos Sainz Jr Carlin Dallara-VW 0 laps
2012 British F3 points standings (Rd 5) International Class Pos Driver Points 1. Jazeman Jaafar 174 2. Jack Harvey 167 3. Carlos Sainz Jr 137 4. Felix Serralles 124 5. Alex Lynn 123 6. Pietro Fantin 95 7. Harry Tincknell 93 8. Pipo Derani 92 9. Hannes van Asseldonk 57 10. Nick McBride 44 National Class Pos Driver Points 1. Spike Goddard 207 2. Duvashen Padayachee 187 3. Adderly Fong 62