DRIVER NEWS: Stephen Jelley's wait for his first victory in the British Formula 3 International Series is over! The Leicester driver has had the speed to win all season this year, but it took until today for things to fall his way in a race.
Jelley's Raikkonen Robertson Racing team was in good form at the high-speed Thruxton circuit, with Stephen qualifying fifth and second for the two races. But curiously, it was the first race that produced the victory which helped move him back into the top three in the points standings.
Luck did play its part in the win, just as bad luck has robbed him of several others this year. Stephen was helped by an early collision between leaders Sebastian Hohenthal and Niall Breen, and then another accident involving his team-mate Atte Mustonen and his close points rival Sam Bird.
That left Stephen in second place behind another of his team-mates, Jonathan Kennard. But the hard work was still down to Stephen. The safety car was deployed following the Mustonen/Bird accident and Stephen did a perfect job at the restart. He comfortably passed Kennard and romped away to victory.
"It was satisfying to get the win by actually having to pass somebody for the lead, especially when it was my team-mate," said Jelley after collecting his winner's trophy. "It has been an agonizing wait to win but I have always had faith that I could do it. Considering I finished second as long ago as the first race of last season I was getting a little tired of just scoring podium finishes. Crossing the line as winner today was an awesome feeling!"
"I'm back up into third place in the championship and second place is definitely possible. I'm not planning to leave it at just one win for the season, so I'll be aiming to qualify up at the front in the next race at Croft because overtaking won't be easy there."
The second race was a disappointment for Stephen despite the strong starting position. A tap from behind on the first lap sent him spinning helplessly, and he dropped several places. He fought his way back up to seventh before the end of the race halted his progress.
The Croft races, which are the penultimate rounds of the championship, take place in North Yorkshire in two weeks.