It’s been a red letter day for Brazil’s Pietro Fantin – after claiming his maiden pole positions in the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series, the Hitech Racing driver went on to take his first race victory in the category at Rockingham this afternoon.
Fantin assumed control of Round 22 of the championship on the 15th lap when Felipe Nasr, who had led from the start, was penalised by race officials for not observing the track limits. Championship leader Nasr was summoned to the pits for a drive-through penalty, dropping him well down the order.
“It feels amazing, I didn’t expect to win,” said Fantin. “I’m pleased to get the win and right now we have a quick car so starting from eighth in the next race I hope to make a good start and hope that we are able to challenge at the front again. I’m really, really happy to win, it still hasn’t quite sunk in yet.”
Fantin had made a good start from the pole but Nasr’s was better, the Brazilian rocketing from second on the grid to pass Fantin for the lead through turn one. By the Deene hairpin, Nasr had top spot well secured. He survived an early-race safety car period, nailed the restart and went on to build a three-second lead over Fantin before his transgression and subsequent penalty. The pit visit cost Felipe seven places; he fought back to sixth by the end, enough to keep alive his hopes of sealing championship victory tomorrow.
Rupert Svendsen-Cook was another fast-starter, the Carlin man slotting into third ahead of his team-mate Kevin Magnussen on the opening lap; third became second when Nasr was penalised.
Magnussen’s hopes of a podium finish came to an end with a spin on the third lap, promoting Jack Harvey to fourth, which became third by the end and another podium finish for the young Racing Steps Foundation driver.
Jazeman Jaafar placed fourth for Carlin, ahead of Carlos Huertas and Nasr. Local man Will Buller would have been seventh but for a penalty similar to Nasr’s – Will failed to take the drive-through and instead received a time penalty, dropping him out of the top 10. Magnussen recovered to seventh ahead of Double R’s Scott Pye, T-Sport man Menasheh Idafar and Sino Vision Racing driver Hywel Lloyd.
Luca Orlandi was the sole Rookie class finisher, the Italian West-Tec pilot inheriting class victory after Kotaro Sakurai joined Yann Cunha and Fahmi Ilyas in retirement after a lap-one clash, the incident which prompted the safety car.
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 22, Rockingham 3/9/2011
23 laps / 44.62 miles
Provisional results Championship class
1 Pietro FANTIN / BRA, Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen 30m 37.904s / 87.39mph
2 Rupert SVENDSEN-COOK / GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +1.219s
3 Jack HARVEY / GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +2.412s
4 Jazeman JAAFAR / MAS, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +3.240s
5 Carlos HUERTAS / COL, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +13.216s
6 Felipe NASR / BRA, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +15.995s
7 Kevin MAGNUSSEN / DEN, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +22.660s
8 Scott PYE / AUS, Double R Dallara-Mercedes +23.390s
9 Menasheh IDAFAR / GBR, T-Sport Dallara-Volkswagen +25.025s
10 Hywel LLOYD / GBR, Sino Vision Dallara-Mercedes +25.938s etc
1 Luca ORLANDI / ITA, Team West-Tec Dallara-Mugen Honda 22 laps
Fastest lap Nasr 1m 13.322s / 95.25mph
Full timesheets http://bit.ly/q3seNy
Provisional championship standings
1 Nasr 274 points; 2 Huertas 161; 3 Buller 153; 4 Magnussen 148; 5 Jaafar 144; 6 Svendsen-Cook 143 etc.
1 Sakurai 267; 2 Bart Hylkema / NED 214.
Next rounds Rockingham, 4 September