Kevin Magnussen, son of 1994 Champion Jan, claimed a brilliant maiden victory in the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series this afternoon (Saturday) at Snetterton, christening the new circuit in the best possible style.
The Danish Carlin driver recovered from an average start which saw him drop to third place behind Riki Christodoulou in the opening laps to pass not only Christo but also early leader Felipe Nasr – both around the outside into turn one, Riches – to steal the win.
Both manoeuvres were as brave as they were exciting to watch. The first came at the start of the lap three as Magnussen fought to overcome his tardy grid getaway; he lined up Christodoulou’s Hitech Racing car perfectly and, much to the Midlander’s surprise, drove all the way around him, the long way.
By this stage championship leader and pole position man Nasr was nearly two seconds up the road, and there he might well have stayed but for a safety car interval on lap nine, caused by an accident involving Fahmi Ilyas, which saw Felipe’s advantage wiped at a stroke.
The restart came three laps later and, though Nasr did not put a wheel wrong, Magnussen was able to take advantage down the Senna straight, pop out of the slipstream, and once again drive around the outside into Riches to claim the lead.
“Before the safety car everything was under control for me,” said a philosophical Nasr. “But once the safety car pulled in the wind on the main straight was massive. Kevin did not have this wind in front of him so he got a big tow past me. There was nothing I could do then. Second is still a very good result for the championship.”
Nasr’s other consolation was a new outright lap record for the Snetterton 300 circuit of 1m 40.103s, plus the additional championship point which accompanied it.
Magnussen was delighted by his first British Formula 3 win: “It was a brilliant race for me. I didn’t get the best start but I recovered well. I was lucky with the safety car and that was my chance to do Nasr as well. I am really relieved to finally get my first podium and my first win. To pass into the first corner was the only real opportunity, so I just had to go for it.” Magnussen’s winning advantage over Nasr was six-tenths.
Carlos Huertas started fourth and took over third when Christodoulou ran wide out of Oggies on the fifth lap. Ipswich driver Rupert Svendsen-Cook was next up to make it a Carlin 1-2-3-4, with Christo recovering to salvage fifth ahead of his Hitech team-mate Pietro Fantin.
Hywel Lloyd equalled his best result of the season for Sino Vision Racing with seventh, ahead of Fortec men Harry Tincknell, Will Buller and Lucas Foresti, who completed the top 10. Pipo Derani held fifth in the early laps for Double R but was penalised with a drive-through pit visit for an out-of-position start; the Brazilian came home 13th.
Bart Hylkema led the Rookie class throughout to record his sixth consecutive category win in a row for the T-Sport team, finishing six seconds clear of Kotaro Sakurai.
Tomorrow morning’s 20-minute Round 8 will see Lucas Foresti starting from pole position thanks to the reverse-grid draw; today’s victor Magnussen will start from P10. Nasr will be back on the pole for Sunday afternoon’s 40-minute feature race thanks to his stunning qualifying time of 1m 39.147s, which was more than a third of a second quicker than his closest rival, Magnussen, achieved. British Formula 3 enjoys the headlining support of Cooper Tires and is additionally backed by Sunoco Racing Fuels, Anglo American Oil Company and OAMPS.
Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series
Round 7, Snetterton 14/5/2011
17 laps / 50.47 miles
Provisional results Championship class
1 Kevin MAGNUSSEN / DEN, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen 30m 54.041s / 98.00mph
2 Felipe NASR / BRA, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +0.616s
3 Carlos HUERTAS / COL, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +3.373s
4 Rupert SVENDSEN-COOK / GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +5.255s
5 Riki CHRISTODOULOU / GBR, Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +8.051s
6 Pietro FANTIN / BRA, Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +8.542s
7 Hywel LLOYD / GBR, Sino Vision Dallara-Mercedes +11.238s
8 Harry TINCKNELL / GBR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +11.906s
9 William BULLER /GBR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +12.016s
10 Lucas FORESTI / BRA, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +13.427s etc
1 Bart HYLKEMA / NED, T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda +28.744s
2 Kotaro SAKURAI / JPN, Hitech Dallara-Mugen Honda +34.746s
Fastest lap Nasr 1m 40.103s / 106.77mph Est Rec
Full TSL timesheets http://bit.ly/jA2bym
Provisional championship standings
1 Nasr 108 points; 2 Foresti 59; 3 Jazeman Jaafar 58; 4 Huertas 55; 5 Svendsen-Cook 45; 6 Fantin 37; 8 Buller 34; 9 Magnussen 32; 10 Tincknell 21 etc
Rookie class: 1 Hylkema 109; 2 Sakurai 45.
TV schedule Channel 4: 0700 21 May; Motors TV UK 1311 21 May + repeats
Next rounds Snetterton 15/5/2011