Championship leader Felipe Nasr claimed Cooper Tires British Formula 3 race victory number six at Paul Ricard this afternoon, the Brazilian profiting from a poor start by his pole-sitting team-mate Kevin Magnussen but then being made to work hard all the way to the chequered flag by his pursuer-in-chief, Hitech’s Antonio Felix da Costa.
Carlin driver Nasr made an impeccable getaway from P2 on the grid as Magnussen’s machine bogged down and the Dane slipped to seventh. Da Costa, a podium finisher at the Nürburgring a fortnight ago on his debut with Hitech, was away cleanly also, from third on the grid, and latched on to Nasr’s tail.
Da Costa nosed alongside Nasr at Beausset on the second lap but was repulsed, and thereafter Nasr worked hard to put some daylight between their cars. “I saw that Kevin got a bad start,” said Nasr, “and I got a very good one; no-one was near me into the first corner. But I got a lot of pressure from Antonio. He tried once, in Turn 11, to put his nose in but I got away from that, and after that I was just trying to pull a gap. It was a hard win; he was in my mirrors the whole race.”
“I wanted to win that,” said da Costa, “but we were both very similar on pace. I should have done it in the first two or three laps. I had the chance, but it was very close. We were both a bit aggressive and he took the advantage.”
Carlos Huertas slotted into third at the start and held the final podium position to the end for Carlin, with Lucas Foresti making a phenomenal start from 10th on the grid to slot in behind Huertas on the opening lap. Unfortunately for Fortec man Lucas, his car was in contact with that of Magnussen as the recovering Dane relieved him of fourth on lap five. Foresti spun back to seventh and went on to claim ninth at the line.
Magnussen placed fourth, close to the tail of Huertas, with their Carlin running mates Jack Harvey and Rupert Svendsen-Cook in line astern to complete the top six. Will Buller’s Fortec-Mercedes was the first non-Volkswagen car home, seventh, after the Ulsterman passed Foresti mid-race. Buller will start tomorrow’s second Ricard race from the pole after his finishing number was pulled on the podium.
Jazeman Jaafar battled with Menasheh Idafar for several laps, a duel which ended when the Bahraini T-Sport driver suffered a broken exhaust and retired. Jaafar claimed eighth, ahead of Foresti and Fortec men Harry Tincknell and Fahmi Ilyas, with Hywel Lloyd putting in a solid run to 12th for SVR.
Bart Hylkema’s maiden International class appearance came to an end after just three laps; the Dutch T-Sport man was hit from the rear on the opening lap and his wing parted company with the chassis.
The solitary Rookie class runner, Kotaro Sakurai, duly took the class victory for the Hitech team but the Japanese driver’s race was far from straightforward: some cockpit ballast came loose and wedged itself under his brake pedal, and he was forced to the pits mid-race for attention to the problem. He finished 18th and last overall, a lap down.
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 16, Paul Ricard FRA 16/7/2011
14 laps / 50.82 miles
Provisional results Championship class
1 Felipe NASR / BRA, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen 28m 50.120s / 105.76mph
2 Antonio Felix da COSTA / POR, Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +1.295s
3 Carlos HUERTAS / COL, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +8.602s
4 Kevin MAGNUSSEN / DEN, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +8.994s
5 Jack HARVEY / GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +12.811s
6 Rupert SVENDSEN-COOK / GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +19.612s
7 William BULLER /GBR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +20.232s
8 Jazeman JAAFAR / MAS, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +33.329s
9 Lucas FORESTI / BRA, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +35.888s
10 Harry TINCKNELL / GBR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +36.059s etc
1 Kotaro SAKURAI / JPN, Hitech Dallara-Mugen Honda 13 laps
Fastest lap Nasr 2m 02.857s / 106.38mph Est Rec
Full timesheets http://bit.ly/oJQaiF
Provisional championship standings
1 Nasr 217 points; 2 Foresti 123; 3 Huertas 119; 4 Jaafar 113; 5 Magnussen 106; 6 Svendsen-Cook 85 etc
1 Bart Hylkema / NED 182; 2 Sakurai 180.
TV schedule Motors TV UK 2122 23 July + repeats; Channel 4: 0700 30 July
Next rounds Paul Ricard 17/7/2011