British F3’s weekend in Germany came to a damp end this morning, with the third race of the weekend brought to a halt by heavy rain after just 21 laps, only eight of which were under racing conditions.
Felix Serralles was the leading British F3 finisher in the combined Euro/UK championship event, Fortec Motorsport’s Puerto Rican racer placing third overall behind the Euro cars of Raffaele Marciello and Daniel Juncadella. In the National class, T-Sport’s Spike Goddard completed a hat-trick of class victories.
A thunderstorm 50 minutes before the scheduled off called the race into question; the decision was taken to start it under the safety car, which circulated for seven laps before peeling into the pits to allow racing to start. There was predictable chaos at the first hairpin, pole man Pascal Wehrlein spinning and setting an example others were quick to follow.
British championship leader Jack Harvey was a casualty of the hairpin also. “The conditions were really difficult,” said the Racing Steps Foundation driver. “If you are on P1, then great, but any further back than P3, it’s hard. Spray was the problem; I went into turn one, not even on the power but just coasting, and by the time I saw the car in front I was on top of it. I didn’t have time to move out of the way, hit the car and hit the wall.”
Harvey’s closest title challenger, Jazeman Jaafar, was out also within a couple of laps. “I’ve no idea really what happened,” said Jazeman. “I couldn’t see anything much. There was a crash ahead of me and a front wing was left in the middle of the track; I hit it and my suspension collapsed.” For both Harvey and Jaafar, it was their first no-score of the season.
With Wehrlein off the scene, Marciello led the way from Juncadella, with Serralles slotting into third from his start slot of seventh and Saturday winner Pietro Fantin sixth overall, ahead of Pipo Derani and Hannes van Asseldonk. Derani fell from the fray after a tangle with Fantin on lap nine, the Fortec man pitting for a new nosecone and returning only to become involved in a clash with Carlos Sainz, running seventh.
“I could not seen anything either,” said Carlos. “Derani was going slower and slower, nearly stopped in the middle of the corner, and under braking I just turned into him.” Sainz was delayed by the incident but was able to get going again.
The safety car returned to the track on lap 16 and led the field in a procession for five laps before the red flags flew. The race had been scheduled to run to 48 laps or 40 minutes, and was canned after 21 laps and 26 minutes.
Serralles, who has shone all weekend for Fortec, was delighted by his British series-leading result: “It was a very difficult race, a crazy race. There was a lot of standing water around the track, quite dangerous. I think it was the correct decision to end the race when they did. I was catching Daniel towards the end but I needed the points for my championship, and that is what I concentrated on, that and not making any stupid mistakes.”
Serralles finished 2.6s ahead of his closest British series rival, his team-mate Hannes van Asseldonk. The Dutchman posted fastest lap of the race on his way to fifth overall, and his efforts in the treacherous conditions, and over the weekend as a whole, earned him the Mobil Service Centre Master of the Weekend award.
Fantin placed third among the UK runners, ahead of Fortec’s Alex Lynn and Carlin’s reverse-grid race winner Harry Tincknell. Fahmi Ilyas drove well to bring his Double R machine home sixth ahead of T-Sport’s Nick McBride, Sainz and Derani.
Spike Goddard’s National class victory over Double R’s Duvashen Padayachee was not only his third of the Norisring weekend but also his 10th of the season so far.
British Formula 3 International Series
Round 17, Norisring (GER) 01/07/2012
21 laps / 30.01 miles
Provisional results British International & *Euro classes
1 *Raffaele MARCIELLO / ITA, Prema Dallara-Mercedes 26m 22.376s / 68.23mph
2 *Daniel JUNCADELLA / ESP, Prema Dallara-Mercedes +0.731s
3 (1) Felix SERRALLES / PUR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +1.194s
4 *Emil BERNSTORFF / GBR, ma-con Dallara-Volkswagen +2.783s
5 (2) Hannes VAN ASSELDONK / NED, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +3.715s
6 (3) Pietro FANTIN / BRA, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +5.632s
7 *Tom BLOMQVIST / GBR, ma-con Dallara-Volkswagen +9.081s
8 *Michael LEWIS / USA, Prema Dallara-Mercedes +9.409s
9 (4) Alex LYNN / GBR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +9.780s
10 (5) Harry TINCKNELL / GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +11.027s
12 (6) Fahmi ILYAS / MAS, Double R Dallara-Mercedes +11.708s
15 (7) Nick McBRIDE / AUS, T-Sport Dallara-Nissan +19.313s
19 (8) Carlos SAINZ / ESP, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen 20 laps
21 (9) Pipo DERANI / BRA, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes 19 laps
17 (1) Spike GODDARD / AUS, T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda +25.529s
20 (2) Duvashen PADAYACHEE / AUS, Double R Dallara-Mugen Honda 20 laps
Did not finish
Geoff UHRHANE / AUS, Double R Dallara-Mercedes 13 laps
Jazeman JAAFAR / MAS, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen 9 laps
Jack HARVEY / GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen 7 laps
Fastest lap van Asseldonk 59.955s / 85.81mph
Provisional championship standings
1 Harvey 186 points; 2 Jaafar 182; 3 Serralles 176; 4 Lynn 144; 5 Sainz 140; 6 Fantin 137;
7 Tincknell 133; 8 Derani 96; 9 van Asseldonk 81; 10 McBride 57 etc
National class: 1 Goddard 270; 2 Padayachee 232; 3 Adderly Fong 62.
Next rounds 26-28 July Spa-Francorchamps (BEL)