||Press conference with Oliver Turvey, Max Chilton and Atte Mustonen
A snow shower 30-minutes before the opening round of the 2008 British F3 International Series caused a few headache for the 27 drivers as the wet track dried out during the 30-minute race. Oliver Turvey (#17 Carlin) came through to take chequered flag after taking the lead off the line. Max Chilton (#1 Hitech) took his first ever British F3 podium after teammates Jaime Alguersuari (#4 Carlin) and Brendon Hartley (#3 Carlin) went off after fighting for 2nd place. Atte Mustonen (#26 Double R) finished 3rd after starting from a lowly 10th place on the grid. Andy Meyrick (#56 Carlin) took the National Class win, making it a double for Carlin Motorsport.
Pole position holder Jaime Alguersuari, who celebrated his 18th birthday on Easter Sunday, held the advantage as the red lights went out to start the first race of the 2008 season, but his Red Bull sponsored Dallara got a slow getaway and was passed by Oliver Turvey and Max Chilton before the first corner at Old Hall. Turvey led the pack down the hill as behind the leaders 9th place Nick Tandy span, breaking the nose cone of his JTR Mygale. Marcus Ericsson (#8 Fortec) also ran wide at Old Hall, dropping the Swede down a couple of places in the running order.
As the cars heading out to the back of the circuit, Turvey was leading but Chilton came under pressure from Alguersuari, the Spaniard making his move to pass the 16-year-old Hitech driver. Chilton’s teammate Walter Grubmuller (#2 Hitech), who had qualified at the head of the second row, failed to complete the opening lap and retired to the pitlane with a misfiring engine.
As the cars crossed the line for the first time it was Turvey just ahead of Alguersuari. Chilton was third but had the second Red Bull Dallara of Brendon Hartley filling his mirrors as they began the second lap. Further back Mustonen had made a demon start to finish the opening lap in 5th from 10th on the grid. Esteban Guerrieri (#11 Ultimate) was another driven reveling in the tricky conditions, the Argentine making up eight places on his lowly 18th place on the grid.
Hartley continued to challenge Chilton and on lap 3 the New Zealander put the nose down the inside of the Hitech Dallara as they headed into Old Hall to sweep into 3rd place. Guerrieri continued his rise up through the order, moving ahead of Sebastian Hohenthal (#7 Fortec) and Sergio Perez (#9 T Sport) on lap four.
Things settled down but the top three cars were separated by just 0.9 seconds as the they moved ahead of the rest of the field. Turvey defended against Alguersuari, who in turn had to watch that he didn’t leave the door open for Hartley.
In the National Class Andy Meyrick (#56 Carlin) got a good start from Pole but behind him Salman Al Khalifa (#57 T Sport) made a demon start to move up to second in class ahead of Jay Bridger (#50 Fluid). The Bahraini driver consolidated his position but it all came to nothing as he disappeared from the timing screens on lap 5, promoting Bridger back in 2nd ahead of Hywel Lloyd (#52 CF Racing).
For lap after lap the top three remained glued to each other as the track continued to dry and the lap time came down. Hartley was right on the rear wing of Alguersuari’s Dallara as they exited Old Hall for the 14th time and as they headed out of view the Kiwi driver seemed to be attempting to try and pass his teammate at Shell. However they failed to come back into view and Max Chilton was now 3rd followed by Atte Mustonen. Turvey now had a four second gap with just three laps remaining. The Racing Steps Foundation backed driver held on despite Chilton closing the gap to less than 2 seconds at the chequered flag. Mustonen was 2 seconds further up the road in 3rd, just ahead of the Ultimate Motorsport duo of Michael Devaney and Esteban Guerrieri. Australian John Martin (#24 Double R) was just outside the points in 11th place but took the extra point for setting the fastest lap of the race on the final lap.
The National Class was won by Andy Meyrick in a dominant display, three places ahead of Jay Bridger, who had the consolation of taking the extra point for setting the fastest lap of the race in the National Class.
Round 1 – Provisional Result
1 – 17 – Int - Oliver TURVEY – GBR - Carlin Motorsport - 30:48.289 – 18laps
2 – 1 – Int - Max CHILTON – GBR - Hitech Racing - +1.978s
3 – 26 – Int - Atte MUSTONEN – FIN – Double R Racing - +3.893s
4 – 13 – Int - Michael DEVANEY – IRL - Ultimate Motorsport - +5.275s
5 – 11 – Int - Esteban GUERRIERI – ARG - Ultimate Motorsport - +5.677s
6 – 8 – Int - Marcus ERICSSON – SWE - Fortec Motorsport - +15.300s
7 – 9 – Int - Sergio PEREZ – MEX - T-Sport - +16.445s
8 – 7 – Int - Sebastian HOHENTHAL – SWE - Fortec Motorsport - +18.431s
9 – 6 – Int - Henry ARUNDEL - GBR - Double R Racing - +20.183s
10 – 18 – Int - Sam ABAY – AUS - Carlin Motorsport - +21.647s
11 – 24 – Int - John MARTIN – AUS - Double R Racing - +24.105s
12 – 56 – Nat - Andrew MEYRICK – GBR - Carlin Motorsport - +34.867s
13 – 25 – Int - Alistair JACKSON – GBR - Double R Racing - +37.441s
14 – 12 – Int - Ricardo TEIXEIRA – ANG - Ultimate Motorsport - +37.806s
15 – 50 – Nat - Jay BRIDGER – GBR - Fluid Motorsport Development - +42.693s
16 – 14 – Int - Philip MAJOR – CAN - Fortec Motorsport - +51.494s
17 – 52 – Nat - Hywel LLOYD – GBR - C F Racing - +54.824s
18 – 58 – Nat - Niall QUINN – IRL - Team Loctite - +01:09.056s
19 – 54 – Nat - Kristjan EINAR – ISL - Carlin Motorsport - 01:09.922s
20 – 53 – Nat - Steven GUERRERO – COL - T-Sport - 01:21.539s
21 – 51 – Nat - Stefan WILSON – GBR - Fluid Motorsport Development - +1 lap
22 – 55 – Nat - Craig REIFF – GER - Nexa Racing - +1 lap
DNF – 4 – Int - Jaime ALGUERSUARI – ESP - Carlin Motorpsort
DNF – 3 – Int - Brendon HARTLEY – NZL - Carlin Motorsport
DNC – 28 – Int - Nick TANDY – GBR – JTR with Marshall Westland
DNF – 2 – Int - Walter GRUBMULLER – AUT - Hitech Racing
DNF – 57 – Nat - Salman Al KHALIFA – BHR - T-Sport
24 – Int - John MARTIN – AUS - Double R Racing – 18 lap - 99.70mph - 1:37.196
50 – Nat - Jay BRIDGER – GBR - Fluid Motorsport Development – 18 - 97.25mph - 1:39.645