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First British Formula 3 Win For Brendon Hartley

First British Formula 3 Win For Brendon Hartley

First British Formula 3 Win For Brendon Hartley

Brendon Hartley won his first British Formula 3 race at the Croft circuit in Yorkshire overnight. The New Zealand teenager became the fourth driver to take his maiden F3 win from the first four races of the British championship.

The Carlin Motorsport driver's Red Bull Dallara-Mercedes led from start to finish in a race that was red flagged and restarted after a six-car accident on the second lap. Earlier in the day Hartley was eliminated on the opening lap of the third race of the season when he understeered off the wet track at the first corner and collided with Ricardo Teixeira.

After a frustrating start to his season - just one fourth placing from the first three races - Hartley is right back in title contention; just 10pts off the series lead and in sixth overall.

The 18-year-old started the afternoon race at Croft from pole position - his first of the 2008 season - and made a clean getaway on a dry track. Behind Hartley, Sergio Perez and Marcus Ericsson tangled exiting the Jim Clark Esses.

Ericsson spun onto the infield and then slid back onto the circuit. Several cars had to take to the grass in avoidance and six cars were eliminated immediately, with only Perez of those involved continuing. No drivers were seriously injured, but a flag marshal was taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg.

When the race restarted, Hartley broke away immediately and controlled a gap of between one and two seconds over Perez for the remainder of the race.

"It was frustrating to lose my lead when the red flag came out," said Hartley. "But I knew I had a 3.5 second lead in my pocket for the aggregate result so I was in a good position from the restart.

"I just needed to drive a sensible race to get the first win out the way, get some confidence back; and to help the team's confidence in me as well. It's a shame the win didn't come earlier but I really need to continue it now."

Oliver Turvey secured the final podium place when he dived inside Atte Mustonen at Tower four laps from the end.

Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastian Hohenthal bagged another couple of points finishes in fifth and seventh, sandwiching Nick Tandy who was the sole remaining Mygale in sixth.

Hartley watched from the sidelines as Perez scored his first outright British F3 victory in the earlier wet race at Croft. The Mexican started on the front row and snatched the lead immediately when polesitter Marcus Ericsson made a poor getaway.

"I take responsibility for the tangle with Teixeira going into the first corner - I should have back off," said Hartley. "He was wide and fast so I went inside him and then understeered straight into his car. It was stupid because he probably would have gone off on his own - I could have been leading the championship now..."

The circuit was drying throughout the half-hour race and Perez managed his tyres and the gap back to second-placed Sebastian Hohenthal. It was the first win for a Honda-powered car in the series since 2006.

The battle for third raged in the closing stages of the race when Michael Devaney, who had held the place from the start, began to be caught by his team-mate, Esteban Guerrieri.

The next two races in the British F3 Championship take place in three weeks time at Monza in Italy, a circuit Hartley knows well from his experience in winning the Renault Euro Cup in 2007.

ENDS

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