Round 4 Championship Press Conference with Marko Asmer, Niall Breen, Jonathan Kennard
CLICK HERE to hear the National Class press conference
Marko Asmer converted his second pole position start of the day into a further win that saw him extend his championship lead to 34 points over nearest rivals Maro Engel and Stephen Jelley.
In the National Class Sergio Perez and Michael Meadows swapped places on the podium from Round 3 with Perez climbing onto the top step. Frankie Cheng came through to take a closely fought 3rd, which gives him a 17 point lead in the championship over Michael Meadows.
RACEA slight drizzle had started to fall on the Donington Park race track as the cars lined up for Round 4 but certainly not enough to cause the teams to consider switching to Avon wets for the race. At the start Marko Asmer gets a good getaway but Stephen Jelley bogs down from second on the grid and the cars behind pounce to take advantage. Niall Breen moved up from 6th on the grid, while Jonathan Kennard also made rapid progress from 8th, as did Mario Moraes from 11th. There was contact between a number of cars at the bottom of Craner Curves and mayhem ensued as drivers took avoiding action in the slightly damp conditions.
The race continued as cars were pushed out of the way at the Old Hairpin and at the end of the opening lap Asmer had opened up a three second gap to Niall Breen who was in second place and Mario Moraes in third. Maro Engel was 4th but coming under pressure from Kennard. The losers in the opening lap were Jelley, who was down in 11th and Valerio who dropped from 4th to 10th.
Lap 2 saw Kennard get past Engel and Jelley moved ahead of Valerio, while Asmer continued to pull away from Breen. Jelley made further progress as he passed Michael Devaney on lap 3 but then a spin at the Old Hairpin stopped his charge in its tracks.
Another driver on the move was Rodolfo Gonzalez, the reigning British F3 National Class Champion setting the fastest lap on lap 3, having moved up from 13th to 6th place.
In the National Class Sergio Perez was having to watch his mirrors as Michael Meadows was challenging for his second win of the day, despite his Dallara understeering due to a broken front wing. However Meadows also had a problem in the form of the Dallara of ‘Frankie’ Cheng who was tracking his every movement on the track and these three National Class front runners were nose to tail as they each tried to exploit any weakness in their rivals.
While Marko Asmer continued to circulate at the front Mario Moraes was trying to find a way around his Carlin teammate for 2nd place, but Niall Breen was not going to be denied his first podium in British F3. Moraes then had a problem on lap 9 as Kennard challenged the Brazilian as they came into the Chicane. Moraes spun away in a cloud of smoke and was able to rejoin in 8th place, but his Carlin Motorsport Dallara soon dropped down the order and into retirement, a bitter disappointment for the rapid young Brazilian.
This promoted Kennard in 3rd but he then had Maro Engel challenging for the position. As the race entered the second half the order at the front settled down. Further down the order the drivers who had been caught out in the opening lap chaos but had been able to keep going were making progress back up the field.
Fortec’s Sebastian Hohenthal was slicing his way through the backmarkers but was a lap down on the leaders. However a lap time of 1m02.283 just before the end of the race salvaged a point for the Swedish driver. His Fortec teammate Greg Mansell was also coming back up the field, picking off a number of cars on his way 10th place and a championship point.
At the chequered flag Asmer was a comfortable 4.4 seconds ahead of Breen and took the salute of his Hitech Racing team with both arms raised out of the cockpit as he crossed the line. Niall Breen held on to finish second, 0.4 seconds ahead of Jonathan Kennard, who had the consolation of picking up the Donington Park Raymond Mays trophy for the top scoring British Formula 3 driver.
Maro Engel and Carlin teammate Alberto Valerio were 4th and 5th respectively, just ahead of Rodolfo Gonzalez, the Venezuelans best finish of the year so far. Michael Devaney was 7th in the Ultimate Motorsport Mygale, rounding off a good weekend for the new manufacturer after Esteban Guerrieri finished 6th in Round 3 earlier in the day.
Atte Mustonen, Sam Bird, who fought back after being knocked off to rejoin in 23rd, and Greg Mansell rounded out the top 10 in the Championship Class.
The National Class trio of Perez, Meadows and Cheng stayed in that order until the flag but only 0.8 seconds separated the three protagonists, a great display of race craft by the three rookie drivers.
ROUND 4 - PROVISIONAL RESULT
1 - 7 - C - Marko ASMER - EST - Hitech Racing - 27:55.340 - +26 laps
2 - 21 - C - Niall BREEN - IRL - Carlin Motorsport - +4.416s
3 - 2 - C - Jonathan KENNARD - GBR -Raikkonen Robertson Racing - +4.832s
4 - 23 - C - Maro ENGEL - GER - Carlin Motorsport - +8.710s
5 - 22 -C - Alberto VALERIO - BRA - Carlin Motorsport - +11.184s
6 - 9 - C - Rodolfo GONZALEZ - VEN - T-Sport - +12.413s
7 - 15 - C - Michael DEVANEY - IRL - Ultimate Motorsport - +20.735s
8 - 26 - C -Atte MUSTONEN -FIN - Raikkonen Robertson Racing - +21.290s
9 - 3 - C - Sam BIRD - GBR - Carlin Motorsport - +21.716s
10 - 31- N - Sergio PEREZ - MEX - T-Sport - +47.438s
11 - 55 - N - Michael MEADOWS - GBR - Master Motorsport - +47.868s
12 - 39 - N - Cong Fu CHENG - CHI - Performance Racing Europe - +48.301s
13 - 50 - C - Greg MANSELL - GBR - Fortec Motorsport - +56.195s
14 - 32 - N - Sean PETTERSON - RSA - Fluid Motorsport Development - +61.4s
15 - 10 - C - Ricardo TEIXEIRA - ANG - Performance Racing Europe - +62.3s
16 - 77 - N - Salman AL KHALIFA - BHR - Promatecme F3 - +1lap
17 - 61 - I - Max CHILTON - Arena International Motorsport - +1lap
18 - 24 - C - John MARTIN - AUS - Alan Docking Racing - +1lap
19 - 35 - N - Alastair JACKSON - GBR - Raikkonen Robertson Racing - +1lap
20 - 37 - N - Viktor JENSEN - ISL - Alan Docking Racing - +1lap
21 - 36 - N - Albert COSTA - ESP - Raikkonen Robertson Racing - +1lap
22 - 14 - C - Esteban GUERRIERI - ARG - Ultimate Motorsport - +1lap
23 - 5 - C - Sebastian HOHENTHAL - SWE - Fortec Motorsport - +1lap
24 - 38 - N - Hamad AL FARDAN - BHR - Performance Racing Europe - +1lap
25 - 1 - C - Stephen JELLEY - GBR - Raikkonen Robertson Racing - +2laps
NC - 4 - C - Mario MORAES - BRA - Carlin Motorsport - 10laps
NC - 33 - N - Juan Pablo GARCIA SAMANO - MEX - Fluid Motorsport Development - 21laps
NC - 44 - C - Leo MANSELL - GBR - Fortec Motorsport - 21laps
NC - 8 - C - Francesco CASTELLACCI - ITA - Alan Docking Racing - 23 laps
NC - 6 - C - Walter GRUBMULLER - AUT - Hitech Racing - 24 laps
NC - 34 - N - Alex WATERS - GBR - Promatecme F3
5 -C - Sebastian HOHENTHAL - 1:02.283 - 113.1mph
55 - N - Michael MEADOWS - 1:04.264 - 109.6mph
61 - I - Max CHILTON - 1:04.421 - 109.3mph