TEAM NEWS: Carlin Motorsport driver Jaime Alguersuari has won the 2008 British F3 International Series after a gruelling 22 round season. Alguersuari sealed the title with a flawless drive to his second victory of the day, to snatch the championship title from Oliver Turvey in the final race of the season. Red Bull driver Brendon Hartley finished third in the standings, despite a disappointing race which saw the Kiwi fail to finish. Sam Abay put in another fighting drive this afternoon to cross the line fifth. Today’s results mean Carlin finish 1-2-3 in the drivers’ standings and take their fourth British F3 title.
Racing Steps Foundation driver Turvey lined up for the second race of the day with a three point lead over Alguersuari, but with the Spaniard starting the race from second on the grid and Turvey in 14th, the odds were stacked in Alguersuari’s favour. As the lights went out, Alguersuari made a lightening start, launching past pole sitter Oliver Oakes. Brendon Hartley also made a strong start from his sixth place grid slot, and was up to third by the end of lap one. Fighting to keep his title hopes alive, Turvey was on a charge, but in the unfolding melee was down in 16th by the end of lap three.
By lap five, Hartley had begun to close in on second place man Sergio Perez. By lap seven the gap was minimal, with Hartley trying to pass the Mexican on lap eight. Fighting to find a way past Perez, Hartley came under attack from behind, as a charging Nick Tandy took advantage of feud in front to pass Hartley and move up to third. Hartley was still in the mix though, until forced to pit with a mechanical problem on lap 12. That elevated Abay to fifth and Turvey to 11th. Abay made up another place on lap 14, with a great move on Oliver Oakes to take fourth place.
Several laps down, Hartley rejoined the race while the leaders were on lap 22 and determined to show his raw speed around the Donington track, the 18 year-old set the fastest lap of the race – his fourth fastest lap of the season.
By lap 24, the tension was mounting as the train of cars from third to sixth place were closer than ever. With numerous cars trying to make up position, several cars clashed, with Marcus Ericsson and Oliver Turvey both spinning. While Ericsson was able to rejoin the race, Turvey was left stranded in the middle of the track, with his title hopes almost certainly over. Still needing to finish the race to win the title, Alguersuari held his position to take a dominant victory and become the youngest ever British F3 champion.
Reflecting on his achievement, Alguersuari said, “I just can’t believe that I’ve won the title. The odds were stacked against me coming to Donington, but the team and my engineer have done a fantastic job. Its been a very close year of racing and very competitive, so it makes it even more special to win this year against such good drivers.”
A delighted Trevor Carlin added, “2008 has been the most amazing season for the team. To have so many talented, quick drivers has been fantastic and the way in which the team and all the drivers have worked together has contributed to today’s successes. Both Martin and I would like to thank every team member for the contribution they have made. All three drivers would have been worthy winners, and having seen them all work so hard it’s difficult to see Oliver and Brendon disappointed to not win the championship, but after a close and intense battle, Jaime was a deserving champion after driving flawlessly this weekend.”