British Formula 3 racers ready for ’Ring clash

British Formula 3 racers ready for ’Ring clash

24.06.2011: Excitement levels in the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series will be ratcheted up a degree or two next weekend (2/3 July) as the championship swings into Germany for the first of three European

Excitement levels in the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series will be ratcheted up a degree or two next weekend (2/3 July) as the championship swings into Germany for the first of three European summer stops.

The Nürburgring is the venue for the mid-season trio of events; it’s the first time that British Formula 3 has visited the Grand Prix track since 2005. After Germany the circus travels to Paul Ricard in France and the Belgian Grand Prix circuit of Spa-Francorchamps. It’s a crucial phase for the drivers gunning for the championship title.

None of those drivers is more aware of the need for good results now than Fortec racer Will Buller, who moved two points ahead of Rupert Svendsen-Cook last weekend to take on the mantle of leading Brit. Though he’s never driven an F3 car at the Nürburgring, it’s a circuit the 18-year-old from Scarva, County Down, knows well from his days in Formula BMW.

“I like the track,” said Will from his Northamptonshire base. “It was good to me in Formula BMW - I qualified on the front row and had a good weekend, so I am hoping for a repeat performance. Fortec definitely has the momentum at the moment, as the team showed at Brands Hatch, so things are looking good.”

Buller hopes it won’t be long before he emulates the race-winning performances of his team-mates Lucas Foresti and Harry Tincknell: “I always had the speed at Brands Hatch but circumstances and the weather went against me. I feel sure that my first win is going to come very soon.”

The boys from Brazil, Felipe Nasr and Foresti, lead the championship into its European summer session. Carlin-Volkswagen man Nasr, 18, has a 45-point advantage over his Fortec Motorsport-Mercedes rival Foresti thanks to four race wins from 12 starts and a further four podium finishes. Nineteen-year-old Lucas has three wins under his belt and an additional three podium results. Their needle match was amplified last weekend at Brands Hatch, where Foresti led home Nasr in race one and Felipe turned the tables in race three.

But a win for either man in Germany is a long way short of a certainty in a season which has already seen six different drivers on the top step of the podium. Snetterton double winner Kevin Magnussen will be seeking to bounce back after a Brands Hatch weekend strewn with technical issues, and his Carlin team-mate Svendsen-Cook, who dominated Brands Hatch qualifying, will be hoping for a return to the race-winning form he demonstrated at Monza.

Tincknell, team-mate to Buller and Foresti at Fortec, claimed his first win in the Brands Hatch reverse-grid race, which the Exeter youngster dominated from pole position. Carlin drivers Carlos Huertas and Jazeman Jaafar, and Hitech Racing’s Pietro Fantin, hold places in the championship 10 and each looks on the brink of a breakthrough maiden race win.

Brands Hatch brought promising showings from Mercedes-powered teams Double R and Sino Vision, and from Volkswagen squad T-Sport, whose Menasheh Idafar kept Tincknell honest all the way to the chequered flag in race two.

In the Rookie class, Hitech’s Japanese driver Kotaro Sakurai (who turns 17 on the eve of the Nürburgring event) is really beginning to find his feet and take the fight to his class rival, T-Sport’s Bart Hylkema. Hylkema has won the class eight times to Sakurai’s three, but his points advantage has come down to 42.

British Formula 3 enjoys the headlining support of Cooper Tires and is additionally backed by Sunoco Racing Fuels, Anglo American Oil Company and OAMPS.

Nürburgring timetable (CET)

Friday 1 July: 0935-1020 & 1440-1445 free practice

Saturday 2 July: 1025-1055 qualifying; 1525 Round 13 (30 mins)

Sunday 3 July: 1035 Round 14 (20 mins); 1400 Round 15 (40 mins)

TV schedule Channel 4: 0700 9 July; Motors TV UK 1649 9 July + repeats

Provisional championship standings

International championship

1 Felipe Nasr / BRA 154 points
2 Lucas Foresti / BRA 109
3 Carlos Huertas / COL 95
4 Jazeman Jaafar / MAS 94
5 Will Buller / GBR 63
6 Kevin Magnussen / DEN 61
6 Rupert Svendsen-Cook / GBR 61
8 Pietro Fantin / BRA 55
9 Riki Christodoulou / GBR 51
10 Harry Tincknell / GBR 46 etc

Rookie class

1 Bart Hylkema / NED 161
2 Kotaro Sakurai / JPN 119

- Nick Carter - photo Jakob Ebrey


24.06.2011 / MaP

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