British Formula 3 racer Jack Harvey took the lead in the point standing following a shortened opening race at Snetterton yesterday.
The 19-year-old led from start-to-finish in a race tinged with poor conditions, as Fortec duo Felix Serralles and Alex Lynn trailed in his mirrors.
It appeared as if the Lincolnshire native had bogged down ever so slightly, yet Harvey – in his Volkswagen-powered Carlin managed keep ahead of the pack as they fought amongst themselves.
With Serralles, Lynn and Jazeman Jaafar scrambling for position into Riches, Harvey began his escape, slowly at first, before extending the gap to nearly four seconds. A fourth lap error by Serralles eased the pressure somewhat; however his rivals were only part of the problem.
“That was really hard. The first two laps I took it east and assessed the situation; after that I decided to push it forward and get the fastest lap. Then the rain started to come down and when you are leading in that situation it’s mightily hard to decide when to push. The conditions were unbelievable at the end.”
With the track still damp from an earlier storm – and it was a storm – the field had little choice but to adopt the grooved Cooper wets tyres. For Harvey it was just another element to be mindful of.
“It’s really challenging when you’re the first one around and the conditions are changing so much, but I was in a good position to not do anything silly. I could see it was drizzling, and that was good to have to keep the tyres cool, but I think when the heavens opened, it was the total opposite.
“I was on the radio when it was raining a lot and on the final lap, I thought “this is ridiculous’. In situations like that, it doesn’t take much to lose a lot of time.”
And my word, the heavens did most certainly open. With only six minutes left on the clock, a sudden bout of torrential rain pummelled the circuit, leaving a few small areas of the circuit flooded. The red flag emerged, rendering the race done after eight laps.
For Serralles, ending the race was the right call, after coming close to losing it at the halfway – in the end; only two seconds were dropped to the leader. The Puerto Rican may have fallen behind Harvey in the standings, but he was not overly disappointed considering the conditions.
“It was wet – again. It was an OK race and definitely the right call to end it. I was catching Harvey toward the end, so obviously I would have liked to challenge him more after the mistake I made, so in the end I finished on the podium.”
Lynn spent much of the race in a state of limbo – too far behind Serralles to make a challenge, but too far ahead of teammate Hannes van Asseldonk to be worried.
“I got a good start and managed to hold my position on the first lap. Our pace was quite good and the front three were a bit quicker than the rest of the field, so from that point of view it was quite good. Other than that, it was a pretty lonely race.”
The Fortec runner was quite happy to miss the first lap bumping that took place, although van Asseldonk was rather closer to the action. The Dutch racer made a sold start from 9th, only to be surprised when Pedro Pablo Calbimonte launched himself into the pack at turn two from the rear of the field. Considering the incident and how close he was to a crash, van Asseldonk proved to be his usual pragmatic self.
“I started a bit further down the grid, had a really good stat and overtook two people before the first corner – some people went in way too fast and slid off. I got out because I was on the inside.”
Van Asseldonk escaped, but several others did not, with Carlos Sainz Jr and Pietro Fantin being squeezed clean off the circuit and into retirement. Sainz Jr – currently on the fringes of the championship – was not happy in the slightest.
“Calbimonte tried to overtake the whole grid under braking! Fantin and me were battling, braking and then suddenly […] he banged Pietro in the side, and he [Pietro] went over me – he overtook the whole grid. That’s racing – you’re fighting for the championship and this guy comes in at the [eighth] race and that’s it.”
Also caught out were Harry Tincknell and Pipo Derani, with the former picking up a slow puncture on the left front immediately following the collision, while the latter went off and rejoined.
Tincknell spent the duration mired in last spot; however Derani – just ahead in 11th – caught the National Class runners, passing Duvashen Padayachee and Spike Goddard, before having another off when the storm returned.
The frantic opening tour allowed for a couple of surprises in the top six as usual car magnet Fahmi Ilyas (Double R) assumed 5th and Nick McBride (T-Sport) took 6th place, although the latter worked for it.
Starting on the outside of the sixth row, McBride benefited somewhat from the first lap melee, before charging past Geoff Uhrhane and Adderly Fong before halfway.
Jazeman Jaafar was also having to do much overtaking after he went off exiting turn one on the opening tour. The Malaysian swept by Fong, Uhrhane and Padayachee as the race turned over, but could do nothing about McBride in the final stages – Jaafar needs a big result today to keep he championship hopes alive.
Fong settled for 8th and the National Class win, with Uhrhane a disappointing 9th, while Goddard took Padayachee on lap four, solidifying 10th for the Australian.
2012 British Formula 3 Round of Snetterton (Rd 8, Race 1, 8 laps) Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Jack Harvey Carlin-Volkswagen 15:43.816 2. Felix Serralles Fortec-Mercedes +4.672 3. Alex Lynn Fortec-Mercedes +5.999 4. Hannes van Asseldonk Fortec-Mercedes +9.857 5. Fahmi Ilyas Double R-Mercedes +23.788 6. Nick McBride T-Sport-Nissan +24.944 7. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin-Volkswagen +25.906 8. Adderly Fong CF Racing/FONG-Mugen-Honda +31.858 9. Geoff Uhrhane Double R-Mercedes +33.434 10. Richard “Spike” Goddard T-Sport-Mugen Honda +56.440 11. Duvashen Padayachee Double R-Mugen Honda +58.697 12. Harry Tincknell Carlin-Volkswagen +1:09.118 Not Classified Pietro Fantin Carlin-Volkswagen +5 laps Retirements Pipo Derani Fortec-Mercedes +1 lap Carlos Sainz Jr Carlin-Volkswagen +8 laps Pedro Pablo Calbimonte T-Sport-Mugen Honda +8 laps
2012 British Formula 3 points standings (Rd 8, Race 1) International Class Pos Driver Points 1. Jack Harvey 229 2. Felix Serralles 227 3. Jazeman Jaafar 208 4. Carlos Sainz Jr 176 5. Alex Lynn 168 6. Harry Tincknell 145 7. Pietro Fantin 140 8. Pipo Derani 110 9. Hannes van Asseldonk 93 10. Nick McBride 67 National Class Pos Driver Points 1. Richard ‘Spike’ Goddard 309 2. Duvashen Padayachee 275 3. Adderly Fong 119 4. Pedro Pablo Calbimonte 25