Duvashen Padayachee took his second National Class victory of the season for Double R Racing during the eighth round of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series, Sunday, 13th May – the 71st Grand Prix de Pau.Driving a Dallara Mugen-Honda, the 22-year-old Australian put behind him the disappointment of a differential problem prior to round seven on Saturday, 12th May, at the famous French street circuit to add to the National Class victory he achieved at Monza last month.Joining competitors from the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, meaning a combined grid of well over 20 cars, Double R’s best placed International Class runner was Malaysia’s Fahmi Ilyas who was eighth in the British F3 classification, having finished seventh in the opening encounter at the wheel of his Mercedes-powered Dallara F312.Geoff Uhrhane, meanwhile, was forced to pit at the end of lap one of the blue riband 40-minute Grand Prix due to a puncture. He eventually finished 10th of the British F3 contingent, a lap down in 18th overall, but the Australian Formula 3 rookie confirmed his ever-improving pace with a best lap of 1m12.739 seconds, just 0.4 seconds shy of British F3 winner Carlos Sainz Jnr’s best.“It’s been a great weekend, we’re really happy with the performances all of the guys put in”, said team principal Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt, “It was great to see Duvashen pick up his second class win of the year after missing out on points on Saturday, to win at Pau is always fantastic for any driver.“Fahmi was hit about quite a bit in the first race so he did a fantastic job to finish where he did with the tracking being out on the car. To then back that up with another good run in the GP itself was great to see. All in all, he’s had a very strong weekend.”Hieatt added: “Geoff picked up his pace throughout and in today’s race his lap times were very impressive. He got caught-up and banged wheels with someone on the first lap, which led to a left front puncture, but when he got back out there his pace was very impressive. He showed more and more confidence as the weekend wore on, kept it out of the wall and did a great job.”Ilyas bags points finishes in both Pau encounters Uhrhane started off the weekend as the quickest of the team’s trio during the first free practice on Friday, 11th May, just under 0.2 seconds faster than fellow Dallara-Mercedes runner Ilyas, but in the hotter afternoon run the latter came to the fore with a time of 1m13.141 seconds.Padayachee, meanwhile, delivered a marked improvement between the two sessions with a best in the afternoon of 1m15.280 seconds to impressively head the National Class by a full 0.3 seconds on combined times.Qualifying on Saturday morning ran in two groups due to the combination of the large field and tight confines of the French streets. Ilyas was the sole Double R runner in the first 15 minute period and he posted a best time of 1m12.211 seconds to take ninth overall in his session while in the second group, Uhrhane was 11th fastest overall with Padayachee 12th fastest.Each driver’s second fastest times from qualifying set the grid for round seven meaning Ilyas was the best placed Double R runner in 16th overall, ninth in terms of the British F3 runners, while Uhrhane was 21st and Padayachee 23rd – the latter also having the National Class pole position.As Padayachee’s race ended before it started with the aforementioned differential problem on the warm-up lap, Ilyas made a good getaway and climbed into 14th place as Uhrhane also made sterling initial progress to move up into 18th position.
On lap nine, a collision at turn four between two of the front-runners blocked the track and resulted in the deployment of the Safety Car but through the chaos Ilyas was able to thread his way into ninth overall, seventh in British F3. After the re-start on lap 12, the Double R racer held firm all the way to the chequered flag despite coming under serious pressure from a trio of European F3 racers.Uhrhane, who was 16th at the re-start, battled hard to stay ahead of European competitor Andre Roda and despite slipping behind him on lap 15 the Double R rookie regained the spot three tours later when Roda ran off circuit. In terms of the British F3 placings, Uhrhane finished in 11th position.
For the Grand Prix de Pau itself, all three Double R drivers faced a tough challenge with Ilyas 18th overall on the grid, Uhrhane 21st and Padayachee 23rd, the latter again with the National Class pole. Uhrhane’s hopes were dealt a hammer blow with the lap one puncture but he showed excellent pace after rejoining from his pit-stop and took some well deserved British F3 championship points.With several drivers coming to grief during the demanding 40-minute encounter, Ilyas steadily climbed the order and just prior to mid-distance he was up into 14th place overall and seventh in terms of the British F3 competitors. Locked in a pressure-filled battle with Nick McBride to the finish, Ilyas unfortunately slipped to eighth in British F3 behind the Australian on the penultimate tour.After dropping behind National Class rival Spike Goddard on lap one, Padayachee ran second to his compatriot until the final quarter of the race when Goddard was forced to pit. The Double R man therefore swept through into the class lead to chalk up his second win of 2012.Next on the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series calendar is a return to the UK and a visit to Rockingham in Northamptonshire for rounds nine, 10 and 11 over the weekend 9th/10th June.2012 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series Driver Standings (after Rd8):11th Fahmi Ilyas, 20pts; 12th Geoff Uhrhane, 5pts2012 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series ‘National Class’ Standings (after Rd8):2nd Duvashen Padayachee, 102pts