Dutch team Provily Racing scored a home track 1-2-3 in the final race of the three Zandvoort Formula Ford EuroCup rounds, with Scott Malvern claiming a lucky fourth overall to score maximum points in the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain.
While local hero Joey van Splunteren scored a popular race victory in front of a massive Zandvoort crowd gathered for the Masters of Formula 3 event, Malvern was the most thankful man on the podium, for he feared he might not finish due to a mystery misfire which beset his Jamun Racing Mygale.
Though he led the opening laps from pole position, Malvern was in trouble from the outset and was powerless to prevent van Splunteren from seizing control of the race. His fourth-place finish - added to the twin wins he scored yesterday - was enough to earn Malvern the Formula Ford EuroCup champion's title for Zandvoort, to add to those already won by him at Brands Hatch, Spa-Francorchamps and Zolder.
"I didn't even expect to get off the line," said Scott. "We changed the ECU before the start in the hope that it would cure the problem, but it didn't. That also meant I had no dashboard display: no rev counter, nothing. I tried really hard in the first laps to get away but the misfire was a constant problem and I was trying so hard that I ruined my tyres.
"I was happy to let the Dutch guys go past for the podium places. Fourth was enough and I thought 'that will do'."
Malvern and the rest of the field started on wet tyres after overnight rain soaked the circuit, but the canny Dutch frontrunners selected older, used Dunlops in the hope that the track would dry. Their wishes were fulfilled towards mid-distance as the leader and Antti Buri, who had been pursuing Malvern for all he was worth, started to fade.
Van Splunteren swept by both on lap five to take the lead, and his example was followed by Michel Florie for second on the penultimate lap and by Bas Schouten on the 10th and final tour, for third. Malvern was able to keep Buri at bay for the British championship class win. "My tyres were overheating badly," said Antti, "and I think Scott had the same problem. I hoped he would make a mistake but he didn't; we were both sideways everywhere all the time." Malvern was half a second clear of his Finnish title rival at the line.
Nick McBride was a disappointed sixth overall - third in the British championship class: "It's been a fairly disappointing weekend for me after winning in the Dutch championship earlier in the year. I just put it down to inexperience of racing in the wet. Hopefully things will improve for me when we get to Brands Hatch next month."
Fluid Van Diemen driver Matt Parry survived a late-race clash with the JTR Mygale of Geoff Uhrhane to finish seventh overall; Uhrhane's miserable weekend ended in the pits with damage from the accident.
Of the other British championship runners, Jeroen Slaghekke and Jake Cook were next up for Jamun, ahead of JTR's Dan de Zille, Jamun man Spike Goddard and Enigma/RVR racer Philippe Layac. Neil Alberico's Cliff Dempsey Ray ended its race in the gravel at Tarzan after the American was squeezed into contact with a Dutch runner.
As the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain swings back to the UK for the closing nine races of the season, Malvern takes with him a useful 75-point series lead.
Provisional resultsDunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain Round 15 (of 24) & Formula Ford EuroCup Zandvoort 14/8/2011 10 laps / 26.76 miles1 Joey van Splunteren NED Provily Mygale 19m 21.369s / 83.02mph2 Michel Florie NED Provily Mygale +3.582s3 Bas Schouten NED Provily Mygale +5.871s4 Scott Malvern GBR / Ilford Jamun Mygale +7.052s5 Antti Buri FIN LMS Mygale +7.512s6 Nick McBride AUS Jamun Mygale +11.803s7 Matt Parry GBR / Cardiff Fluid Van Diemen +12.383s8 Jack Swinkels NED Geva Mygale +14.319s9 Jeroen Slaghekke NED Jamun Mygale +14.499s 10 Steijn Schothorst NED Geva Mygale +16.655s etc Fastest laps Florie 1m 53.169s / 85.05mph & Parry 1m 54.339s / 84.15mph
Provisional GB championship standings1 Malvern 399 points; 2 McBride 324; 3 Buri 305; 4 Slaghekke 294; 5 Geoff Uhrhane AUS 233; 6 Dan de Zille JEY 228 etc.
Next rounds 3/4 September Brands Hatch