Rupert Svendsen-Cook claimed his second victory of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series season at Donington Park yester afternoon, keeping the British driver in the hunt for championship second.
The Suffolk-based Carlin man led round 25 of the championship from pole position to chequered flag after an immaculate start and strong first-lap run which saw him pull a second’s lead over his closest pursuer, his team-mate Carlos Huertas. By the end of the 21-lap race Rupert had eased away from the Colombian to the tune of 3.2s.
Said Rupert: “I got a fantastic start, the car had a really good feel throughout the race. I wasn’t so happy with the balance of the car in qualifying, but we made a few changes and the car was bang-on for the race. Everything was under control and I’m happy to get another victory to add to the one I scored at Monza at the start of the year.
“I definitely think that there is more to come from me this weekend. It’s going to be difficult starting race two from eighth, but I think that from third in race three we can get a podium.”
Huertas led home another Carlin man, Jack Harvey, to claim second; Carlos made the better getaway from the grid to slot in from of the Lincolnshire driver on the opening lap. Harvey chased him hard but had to settle for third place and his fourth podium of the year.
Though Carlin locked out the podium, only one of the team’s remaining drivers, Jazeman Jaafar, made the top 10. Newly crowned champion Felipe Nasr and Kevin Magnussen clashed at the hairpin on the second lap while disputing fourth place and both were forced to the pits with punctures. Magnussen salvaged a point for fastest lap before calling it a day.
Nasr finished the day with the consolation of having scooped the Sunoco Rolex 24 at Daytona Challenge prize - a drive in January’s Daytona 24 Hours - thanks to his stellar form in qualifying.
With Magnussen and Nasr out of the hunt, fourth place went to Double R’s Scott Pye, who led home Jaafar and Double R’s new recruit, GP3 Champion Valtteri Bottas. Pipo Derani was on course to make it three Double R cars in the top 10 until an 18th lap clash with Menasheh Idafar saw him lose four places; the incident is under review by stewards.
Idafar finished seventh on the road, from 16th on the grid, for T-Sport, ahead of Fortec’s Harry Tincknell and Will Buller, with Hitech’s Russian racer Max Snegirev collecting his first point of the year with 10th.
Sakurai clinches Rookie class title
Seventeen-year-old Kotaro Sakurai is the 2011 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 Rookie Class Champion, the Hitech Racing driver clinching the crown this afternoon at Donington Park with his 12th class win of the year.
The Tokyo-based racer has come on in leaps and bounds since his first tentative F3 racing laps at Monza in April. He beat his class rival, Bart Hylkema, for the first time at Snetterton in May, and has had the class to himself since July’s Paul Ricard rounds.
“I am very pleased to win the title this year,” said Kotaro. “I really want to thank Hitech Racing and all of my sponsors for supporting me this year. It’s a real pleasure to have won the Rookie title.
“This year has been brilliant training for me, we are making steps forward all the time and it is looking very positive. Looking to next year, I am feeling very motivated and would like to look at driving a championship class car in British Formula 3 next year.”
Sakurai is the first British F3 class champion from Japan since Takuma Sato won the overall crown in 2001.
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 SeriesRound 25, Donington Park GP 24/9/201121 laps / 52.23 miles
Provisional results Championship class1 Rupert SVENDSEN-COOK / GBR, Carlin Dallara-VW 29m 29.797s / 106.25mph2 Carlos HUERTAS / COL, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +3.196s3 Jack HARVEY / GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +3.646s4 Scott PYE / AUS, Double R Dallara-Mercedes +4.027s5 Jazeman JAAFAR / MAS, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +4.717s6 Valtteri BOTTAS / FIN, Double R Dallara-Mercedes +5.200s7 Menasheh IDAFAR / GBR, T-Sport Dallara-Volkswagen +15.160s8 Harry TINCKNELL / GBR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +16.220s9 William BULLER /GBR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +16.836s10 Max SNEGIREV / RUS, Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +18.050s etc
Rookie class1 Kotaro SAKURAI / JPN, Hitech Dallara-Mugen Honda +1m 07.015s
Fastest lap Kevin MAGNUSSEN / DEN 1m 23.042s / 107.83mph Est Rec
Provisional championship standings1 Felipe Nasr 297 points; 2 Huertas 181; 3 Magnussen 175; 4 Buller 173; 5 Jaafar 167; 6 Svendsen-Cook 164 etcRookie class1 Sakurai 321 etc
TV schedule Channel 4: 0700 1 October; Motors TV UK 1731 1 October + repeats
Next rounds Donington Park, 25 September