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Hartley Spins While Leading

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Hartley Spins While Leading

Leading by 1.5 seconds from a comfortable pole position and seemingly well in control of the race, Brendon Hartley spun away his hopes of victory in the tenth round of the British Formula 3 Championship at the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk overnight.

The New Zealander had earlier on Sunday finished a solid third in the ninth round of the series and was easing away from the 27-car field in round 10 when he lost control of his Red Bull Dallara-Mercedes at the start of the fifth lap. In Saturday’s damp qualifying, Hartley had been firmly in control, taking pole position for round 10 by nearly three tenths of a second.

“I can’t explain it. The car just snapped into oversteer in the middle of Riches – the fast right-handed first corner -and slid off into the wheat field on the outside,” said Hartley. He made no excuses but as he watched the remaining laps unfold from the side of the track, four other cars skated off at the same high speed corner.

Hartley had made a good start; leading by 0.7 second on the first lap and extending his advantage by 0.4second on lap two. The next two laps saw him pull a further 0.1 second and 0.3 second. His fastest lap time, on the fourth lap, was not bettered until lap 17 of the 28 lap race.

With Hartley eliminated, Irishman Michael Devaney in the French-built Mygale-Mercedes inherited the lead and took his second win of the day.

Devaney had started round 10 from fourth place on the grid and overtook two cars at the first corner. After Hartley’s spin, the Irishman held off the challenge of Sebastian Hohenthal and Jaime Alguersuari to the chequered flag. The Mexican driver Sergio Perez finished fourth.

In the earlier race – the ninth round of the series - Devaney made British F3 history by scoring the first ever win for a Mygale chassis and the first victory for himself and his team. The majority of the British F3 field compete in Mercedes-engined Italian Dallara chassis; the exception being Perez who has won three races this season with a Honda-engined Dallara.

Devaney led the first Snetterton race from the start holding off a determined Carlin challenge from Alguersuari and Hartley for the entire 28-laps. Hartley took his third podium of the season.

After the wet qualifying on Saturday the field had formed up on the grid for round nine in perfect summer sunshine behind the Mygales of Devaney and Nick Tandy. Alguersuari and Hartley were side-by-side on the second row. Devaney got a perfect start to lead into the first corner with Hartley getting the jump on Alguersuari to move into third place as they headed down the Revett Straight.

Devaney initially pulled away from the rest of the chasing pack while Tandy had to defend second place from the Carlin Dallaras. The three cars went into the Esses three abreast with Alguersuari getting the better of Hartley as both Red Bull cars passed Tandy.

At the end of the opening lap Devaney had a 2.3 seconds lead but Alguersuari was closing up on the Irishman and by lap 5 the lead was cut to just 0.5 seconds. However the Spaniard couldn't get much closer on the high speed circuit due to the dirty air behind the Mygale causing the Dallaras to lose downforce. Alguersuari would close up to the back of the Mygale at Russells but Devaney would then pull away on the start-finish straight. Hartley shadowed the pair in third.

Devaney, Alguersuari and Hartley circulated at the head of the field, each driver trying to force an error and allow them to overtake. Devaney held out to win by 0.6second from Alguersuari with Hartley finishing 2.0seconds behind in third.

Further back Marcus Ericsson was battling with Oliver Turvey and Sebastian Hohenthal for fourth place, the young Swede setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 14, a new British F3 lap record for Snetterton.

Approaching the half way point of the season, Alguersuari has snatched the Championship lead by a single point from Perez; thanks to the bonus point he earned for fastest lap in the second race. Hartley went into the two Snetterton rounds in equal seventh place in the title chase and now sits eighth overall.

The next two rounds are at the Thruxton circuit in Hampshire on June 29.

ROUND 9 - Result
1 - 16 - Int - Michael DEVANEY - IRL - Ultimate Motorsport - 29:15.236 - 28laps
2 - 4 - Int - Jaime ALGUERSUARI - ESP - Carlin Motorsport - 29:15.900 - +0.664
3 - 3 - Int - Brendon HARTLEY - NZL - Carlin Motorsport - 29:17.236 - +2.000d
4 - 17 - Int - Oliver TURVEY - GBR - Carlin Motorsport - 29:20.150 - +4.914
5 - 7 - Int - Sebastian HOHENTHAL - SWE - Fortec Motorsport - 29:22.376 - +7.140
6 - 8 - Int - Marcus ERICSSON - SWE - Fortec Motorsport - 29:22.635 - +7.399
7 - 28 - Int - Nick TANDY - GBR - JTR Marshall Westland - 29:36.520 - +21.284
8 - 26 - Int - Atte MUSTONEN - FIN - Raikkonen Robertson Racing - 29:37.137 - +21.901
9 - 2 - Int - Walter GRUBMULLER - AUT - Hitech Racing - 29:37.770 - +22.534
10 - 18 - Int - Sam ABAY - AUS - Carlin Motorsport - 29:38.246 - +23.010

ROUND 10 - Result
1 - 16 - Int - Michael DEVANEY - IRL - Ultimate Motorsport - 29:22.758 - 28 laps
2 - 7 - Int - Sebastian HOHENTHAL - SWE - Fortec Motorsport - +1.477s
3 - 4 - Int - Jaime ALGUERSUARI - ESP - Carlin Motorsport - +3.052s
4 - 9 - Int - Sergio PEREZ - MEX - T-Sport - +5.411s
5 - 17 - Int - Oliver TURVEY - GBR - Carlin Motorsport - +7.509s
6 - 26 - Int - Atte MUSTONEN - FIN - Raikkonen Robertson Racing - +12.228s
7 - 1 - Int - Max CHILTON - GBR - Hitech Racing - +12.813s
8 - 8 - Int - Marcus ERICSSON - SWE - Fortec Motorsport - +14.161s
9 - 2 - Int - Walter GRUBMULLER - AUT - Hitech Racing - +14.573s
10 - 51 - Nat - Stefan WILSON - GBR - Fluid Motorsport Development - +21.743

Championship points after 10 rounds: 1, Alguersuari, 99pts; 2,Perez, 98pts; 3,Mustonen, 87pts; 4, Hohenthal, 81pts; 5, Turvey, 75pts; 6, Ericsson, 64pts; 7, Devaney, 63pts; 8, Hartley, 62pts; 9, Chilton, 54pts, 10, Guerrieri, 43pts.
Points scored 20-15-12-10-8-6-4-3-2-1 plus 1pt for fastest lap in each round.

9th June, 2008



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