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Hartley Fifth In Zolder F3 Masters

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Hartley Fifth In Zolder F3 Masters

In tricky drying conditions Brendon Hartley finished fifth in the Masters of Formula 3 race at Zolder in Belgium overnight. The New Zealander improved from ninth place on the grid and was the highest-placed British Championship competitor in the annual confrontation with the best of the Euro F3 series runners.

Frenchman Jules Bianchi put in an outstanding wet weather drive to claim his maiden F3 victory.
Starting alongside his teammate Nico Hulkenberg on the front row, Bianchi charged into the lead when the A1GP Champion misjudged his start.

Bianchi maintained a gap over the German favourite for the first half of the race and then pull clear to take a comfortably 4.4 sec victory as the track dried. Hulkenberg pulled well clear in second, with Englishman Jon Lancaster completing an all-ART Team podium in third.

In a 40-car field dominated by Mercedes-engined Dallara chassis, Hartley’s Red Bull car emerged in seventh place in a messy first corner sort-out. He passed Stefano Coletti on the first lap and then spent half the race tucked in behind the Spaniard Daniel Campos-Hull.

“It was an ok race. I had good pace in the early wet running but was stuck behind Campos-Hull. By the time I passed him, the others were too far ahead,” said Hartley.

He was the only top six runner to pass another car as the race became strung out on the drying track; and Hartley was the best-placed of four Carlin Motorsport entries; that included two regular Euro-competitors more familiar with the Kumho tyres used at the F3 Masters.

Hulkenberg was lucky to survive to finish second after getting caught up in an accident off the line. Renger van der Zande tangled with Koudai Tsukakoshi as both tried to go round the slow-starting Hulkenberg.

Van der Zande spun across the front of Tsukakoshi and into the wall. That incident triggered several more on the first lap as multiple collisions sent cars spinning off the road at each chicane. The leaders also had to deal with backmarkers from the first few laps of the race as several recovered from their incidents.

A few more chose to gamble on slicks while having damage repaired in the pits but circulated 10 seconds a lap slower than those on wets for most of the race. Bianchi picked his way through the traffic well and stretched his lead over Hulkenberg to more than five seconds in the second half of the race, before easing off in the last two laps to protect his overheating wet tyres.
The battle of the race raged behind Hartley as more than half a dozen cars contested sixth place. Jaime Alguersuari slipped backwards, while his Carlin teammate Richard Philippe clipped Henkie Waldschmidt causing both the spin. Rodolfo Gonzalez tried a similar move on Campos-Hull at the final chicane and knocked the Spaniard out of the race.

That cleared the way for Atte Mustonen and Sam Bird to move into sixth and seventh places from 24th and 22nd on the grid. Atte Mustonen set the fastest lap of the race on wet tyres, before Max Chilton snatched it at the end as the circuit favoured slicks in the last two laps.

Zolder Masters of Formula 3 –Result (28 laps)

Pos Driver Team Car Gap

1. Jules Bianchi ART D/M 45:19.275
2. Nico Hulkenberg ART D/M +4.495
3. Jon Lancaster ART D/M +20.539
4. Mika Maki Mucke D/M +27.030
5. Brendon Hartley Carlin D/M +34.170
6. Atte Mustonen Double R D/M +40.536
7. Sam Bird Manor D/M +53.861
8. Jaime Alguersuari Carlin D/M +57.479
9. Rodolfo Gonzalez Carlin D/M +1:03.294
10. Jean-Karl Vernay Signature D/V +1:10.049
11. Erik Janis Mucke D/M +1:14.649
12. Michael Devaney Ultimate M/M +1:14.810
13. Henry Arundel Double R D/M +1:18.153
14. Martin Plowman Signature D/V +1:20.051
15. Edoardo Mortara Signature D/V +1:27.377
16. Tom Dillman Jo Zeller D/M +1 lap
17. James Jakes ART D/M +1 lap
18. Christian Vietoris Mucke D/M +1 lap
19. Esteban Guerrieri Ultimate M/M +1 lap
20. Kazuya Oshima Manor D/M +1 lap
21. Max Chilton Hitech D/M +2 laps
22. Niall Breen Manor D/M +2 laps
23. John Martin Double R D/M +2 laps

Retirements

Yann Clairay SG D/M 25 laps
Stefano Coletti Prema D/M 24 laps
Nick Tandy JTR M/M 23 laps
Roberto Merhi Hitech D/M 21 laps
Daniel Campos-Hull HBR D/M 19 laps
Richard Philippe Carlin D/M 16 laps
Henkie Waldschmidt SG D/M 15 laps
Dani Clos Prema D/M 6 laps
Koudai Tsukakoshi Manor D/M 1 lap
Renger van der Zande Prema D/M 0 laps
Daniel Ricciardo SG D/M 0 laps
Basil Shaaban HBR D/M 0 laps
Franck Mailleux Signature D/V 0 laps
Ricardo Teixeira Ultimate M/M 0 laps

Fastest lap, Chilton 1:31.197 on lap 24

D/M = Dallara Mercedes, D/V = Dallara Volkswagen, M/M = Mygale Mercedes

11th August, 2008.

ENDS

Website: www.brendonhartley.co.nz

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