Carlos Sainz jun. off to a strong start – third place at Oulton Park

Carlos Sainz jun. off to a strong start – third place at Oulton Park

08.04.2012: What an opener! 3 races within 7 hours. 2012 Cooper Tires British F3 Series – British F3 championship, Races 1-3, 7 April 2012, Oulton Park.

What an opener! 3 races within 7 hours.

2012 Cooper Tires British F3 Series – British F3 championship, Races 1-3, 7 April 2012, Oulton Park.

Carlos Sainz jun. (ESP/Carlin Motorsport/Dallara VW) finished on the podium in his very first F3 race – P3!

It is known that traditions are particularly cherished in Great Britain – also in motor racing. Therefore the British F3 championship, the so called "Cooper Tires British F3 Series", again got under way at Easter this year, with today's Easter Saturday seeing the most action.

The first three races of the opening weekend were run at Oulton Park today – within a period of just seven hours. This also constitutes an increased risk. Every little mistake could already spell the end to an entire day of racing – especially in the first two races of the day.

The 17-year-old Red Bull Junior Carlos Sainz jun. completed his first qualifying in the British F3 championship yesterday afternoon, with the 2011 Formula Renault NEC champion immediately coping very well: fourth place, second row – with the young man from Barcelona missing the front row of the grid by only two hundredths of a second.

Carlin Motorsport team-mate Jack Harvey (GBR) took the first pole position of the new season – both for Race 1 and Race 3. Regulations say that the fastest personal lap in qualifying sets the starting position for Race 3. The second-fastest lap in qualifying is used for the starting grid of Race 1.

Race 1, race distance: 30 minutes.

Carlos jun. in third place! First race, first podium!

Carlos Sainz jun. instantly managed to climb onto the podium in his maiden race in the British F3 championship. Pole sitter Jack Harvey (GBR) initially moved into the lead in the most difficult conditions conceivable on the narrow and twisty circuit of Oulton Park. Behind the leader a thrilling three-way battle for the podium positions developed, between Jafaar, Tincknell and Sainz jr.

The track was wet and slippery for the most part at the beginning of the race, but dried quickly over the course of the half-hour race. All drivers had started the race on wet-weather tyres.

After eight laps Carlos was able to go past his team-mate Tincknell – P3 for the rookie of the Red Bull Junior Team. Up at the front Harvey was heading for a dominant lights-to-flag victory. The Brit had a seven-second lead over Jafaar and an eleven-second lead over Sainz jr., who was yet able to fend off an attack by van Asseldonk in the final laps.

Sainz jun
.: “P3 is a very positive way to start the championship! We were really fast in full wet, but as the track dried up we were lacking some grip. We have to work on it. It was an ok race; we had a good fight for third and I’m glad to finish on the podium in my first F3 race.  There’s more to come though from myself and the car so I’m looking forward to the next two races today.” 

Race 2, distance: 20 minutes.

Carlos Sainz jun. with a strong sprint race – from tenth to fifth.
Winner: Pipo Derani (BRA)

The second race, the so called sprint race of 20 minutes, was started on the basis of the result of the first race, although in reversed order. In other words: The last driver in the classification of Race 1 starts from pole position, in this case the Australian Duvashen Padayachee.

Carlos Sainz jun. had to tackle the race from tenth spot on the fifth row of the grid, immediately ahead of Jazeman Jafaar (MAL) and the winner of the first race, Jack Harvey (GBR). Conditions prior to the sprint race: overcast skies, a dry track, and all drivers on slicks.

Sainz jr. improved to ninth after the start and was running behind Jafaar, but ahead of Harvey. Australia's Spike Goddard had moved into first place. Thanks to the inverted starting order an exciting race with lots of overtaking manoeuvres developed. The quickest drivers of this series tried to move up the order as swiftly as possible.

On lap three Carlos was already in eighth, extremely close behind Lynn, Jafaar and Tincknell. The top eight drivers were separated by only 2.5 seconds – sheer drama! Then Goddard made a mistake under pressure – and dropped down to sixth on lap six, just ahead of Sainz jun. But one lap later the Red Bull Junior from Barcelona was already running in sixth place.

Brazil's Pipo Derani, who had taken advantage of the numerous duels to move to the front, was leading the race at its midway point. Subsequently the race to catch up by Carlos Sainz jun. continued – fifth after lap seven, immediately and just ahead of the first winner of the season, Jack Harvey. Sainz also set the fastest lap of the race at that point in time.

Then the safety car briefly had to take to the track – the classification however did not change any further in the final three laps that remained. Pipo Derani ahead of Pietro Fantin (BRA) and Jazeman Jafaar (MAL) – and a strong Sainz jun., who was able to improve from tenth to fifth.

Sainz jr.:
“we managed a good come back, score some important points for the championships in a chaotic race. So I am quite happy!”

Race 3, distance: 40 minutes.

Carlos jun. again among the front runners – P4 in the final race of the day.
Sainz jun. with a positive record – following a third, a fifth and a fourth position.

The final race was also the longest of the opening day of races in the British F3 championship – at 40 minutes, or 26 laps. Like in the first race Carlos jun. also started the third, longest and final race of the day from fourth once more, while Jack Harvey again tackled the race from pole position this time.

Conditions were dry again this afternoon.

Starting from second place Felix Serralles (Puerto Rico) took the lead, followed by Harvey, Tincknell and Carlos Sainz jun. Soon after the safety car had to take to the track – but even after the restart of the race the positions remained unchanged.

The field presented itself very well-balanced – after 15 minutes the top six drivers were within six seconds.

At the midway point of the race the positions then had become firmly established – there were two seconds each between the leading drivers: Serralles also set the fastest lap at that point in time.

The third and final race eventually ended with a convincing victory for Serralles, followed by Harvey and Tincknell. Carlos Sainz missed his second podium of the day by three seconds.

Sainz jun.
: "I can be very satisfied with my first race weekend here in England. No big mistakes, finishing every race, and ultimately right there as far as finishing positions are concerned as well: third-fifth-fourth, these are by all means good results.

I was also able to gain several insights and experience – and I'm sure it's going to get even better. In the second, somewhat chaotic race I was able to move well up the order, but fifth place was the maximum. And the final race was basically over right after the start. We were too well- matched up at the front to attack each other."

- Peter Clifford -  photos GEPA


08.04.2012 / MaP

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