CFEG's Formula 3 British Championship continued at Oulton Park for R3 of the series. The full circuit would need to be navigated for the full 25m duration in order to kick off the mid season battle for the title. After the first two opening rounds, L.Muller displayed dominance early on by occupying the top spot at Brands Hatch and Thruxton circuit. Oulton park was the opportunity to reverse his efforts, but would it be so easy to regain the lost ground? D.Kalocsai was still waiting for his first win, while D.Vidimari and T.Hakkinen were vying for a podium spot.
The grid enter T1 at speed!
Visiting Oulton Park, L.Muller would take pole position with D.Kalocsai alongside for the start. Behind was D.Erstling and D.Vidimari, T.Hakkinen rounding out the top 5. The grid was also close for the remaining top 10 positions, with battles beginning to appear in the standings for those remaining points on offer.
The grid burst into life as they sprinted towards the apex of T1, Cars going two-wide as they fought to open opportunities early on. The front pack would remain unchanged, with J.Watts going side-by-side with T.Hakkinen on the run down to Island Bend. A scary moment for what is the most dangerous part of the circuit.
Bashing wheels! the fighting gets tough between M.Clipp & J.Watts
D.Kalocsai was putting all the cards on the table to stay with the leader L.Muller. The two would create a gap from the remainder of the grid, creating a two-horse race for the top spot. Further back. M.Clipp was bashing wheels with J.Watts for P6. The cars bounced off one another on the run down to Island bend, the Royal Blue racing machine coming out on top as he took the inside line.
T.Thiele gets a good run past A.Feletto on the exit of T1
P10 was also up for grabs, as A.Feletto, T.Thiele & W.Karjalainen fought for the position. A.Feletto led the pack, leaving the cars behind to battle for the chance to move into the top 10. T.Thiele hammered down and caught up to the rear of A.Feletto's wing. A.Feletto, feeling the pressure, ran wide on the exit of T1, with T.Thiele taking full advantage and moving to the outside line. On the downhill approach they ran side by side, with T.Thiele using the extra space available to take the position away and move up the order. A great overtake in the closing stages of the event.
As the battle continued, up front D.Kalocsai had once again ran into trouble. Running wide at Island bend the car would slide into the barrier at speed, a reminder that Oulton Park takes no prisoners to those who get it slightly wrong. The car would suffer immense damage and force D.Kalocsai to retire, a great display of pace and another potential victory denied once more.
A three way battle for 2rd takes place at the end of the race!
Now that a podium position had been freed up, the battle for 2nd heated up. D.Erstling, D.Vidimari and T.Hakkiken were seperated by 1 seconds from 2nd through to 4th with just a few minutes remaining. The slipstream allowed the cars to come dangerously close to one another, D.Erstling defending brilliantly against D.Vidimari's efforts to move up the order.
Disaster would strike T.Hakkinen in the closing stages as he got greedy on the exit of T1. The circuit would bite back, sending him into the barrier nose first and destroying his front wing and most of the nose cone. He would be able to come across the finish line, but what could have been a potential podium would now be out of reach.
D.Erstling & D.Vidimari cross the line together.
As the chequered flag dropped it would be L.Muller who once again displayed consistency and pace. With a lead of over 6 seconds he was able to hold off D.Kalocsai to extend his championship lead, winning 3/3 rounds so far. Surely a 100% win rate was in his sights, but with still 3 more rounds to go, anything could happen.
Coming home in 2nd and 3rd it was D.Erstling, he has fought off the efforts of D.Vidimari with everything he had, with the reward to match and occupying that 2nd place spot. D.Vidimari would settle for 3rd despite his stubborn attack & attempts to change the situation, with M.Clipp holding onto P4 ahead of J.Watts who would round out the top 5 positions.
The grid prepares to take on Snetterton
After a terrible Result for D.Kalocsai at Oulton Park, he came back swinging for Snetterton claiming the pole position.He was ready to claim his first victory of the season in order to put an end to L.Mullers winning streak. Alongside for the green was D.Vidimari, with L.Muller behind in 3rd.
The Green flag dropped, with all 20 cars diving into the tight hairpin of T2. Several went side by side at the early stage, with several position changes taking place in the mid-field. The biggest winner after the first round of battles was T.Hakkinen, using the heavy traffic to his advantage he would climb up the ranks into P10 before crashing out of the race and retiring from the event.
T.Thiele runs wide on the entry to the Bentley Straight.
As the grid entered the Bentley Straight, T.Thiele would get it wrong and run onto the grass. With little grip available on the green stuff, he was pulled wide, allowing J.watts and D.Erstling to pass, taking P6 & P7 respectively. Further down the order a fierce battle was underway for P9 as W.Karjalainen fought with L.Lundvall and D.Sonntag. The PMK driver making his move into Bomb hole to claim the position.
D.Vidimari Under attack from L.Muller in the midfield at Snetterton for 2nd place
Back to the front and D.Vidimari was under pressure from L.Muller. Eager to get by to claim his 4th victory L.Muller waited patiently for his opportunity. Gaining ground using the slipstream the F1 Bros Racing driver pulled onto the inside line at Palmer's, with his eyes firmly set on D.Kalocsai ahead.
His task would be a difficult one. Kalocsai was already in charge of the race and setting the fastest laps of the event. After crashing out twice, now was his opportunity to shine and stop L.Muller from claiming glory once again. Lap after lap went by as D.Kalocsai extended his lead up to 5 seconds, both drivers pushing with everything they had to find that extra tenth of pace!
F.Zerbetto finding the limits while battling for P11 with D.Sonntag
Meanwhile, F.Zerbetto was occupying the rear view mirror of D.Sonntag of Royal Blue Racing. Fighting for P11 points where still up for grabs before the chequered flag was flown. Both cars enter the Bentley Straight followed by a chorus of screaming engines as they edged their vehicles to their top speed. F.Zerbetto stole that important inside line as they approached the deadly combination of "brundle & Nelson". The car would stop just in time to make the apex, a classic overtaking manoeuvre that requires patience and finesse to accomplish here at Snetterton.
J.Watts closes the door as D.Erstling launches his attack!
Also under pressure was J.Watts. He had D.Erstling and T.Thiele behind for company for most of the event as they fought for P6. D.Erstling would get by with a bold move as they entered the infield. Demoting J.Watts into P7. T.Thiele smelt an opportunity and attempted to push his F3 machine to caused Watts more trouble at the end of the race. However, with just 12 minutes remaining he would go off circuit, collecting damage and eventually retiring from the race, giving J.Watts that breathing space he needed to come home with decent points.
K.Kerajarvi visits the grass as he discovers the limits of the circuit
As the battle for the lead drifted away, D.Vidimari set his attention on finishing in P. However, K.Kerajarvi had other ideas as he closed down the gap lap after lap. The Seawolf Netrace driver had stepped in for just one round, showing raw outright pace and had a decent claim on the remaining podium spot. He pushed the car to its limits, extracting every ounce of potential as the window of opportunity collapsed. Snetterton, with its narrow tarmac would remind him who was in charge though, coming out of Nelson corner, he would run onto the kerbing, sending the rear into an uncontrollable spin, resulting in a sad end to what was going to be an epic duel between the two drivers.
D.Kalocsai claims his first victory in the series! L.Muller comes home 2nd by 5 seconds.
The chequered flag was finally flown as D.Kalocsai came home with his first victory! Learning from his mistakes he came back stronger than ever to show that he has what it takes to challenge L.Muller for the ultimate top spot! L.Muller would come home a solid second though, extending his championship lead over the rest of the competition with just two rounds remaining. D.Vidimari would claim 3rd place one more to secure 2nd place in the standings.
With the championship approaching the final two rounds, who can secure those final two victories? Will D.Vidimari find that extra pace to contend for the lead? Will D.Kalocsai continue to deny L.Muller the top spot to bring others into contention? With a tight mid pack championship battle underway, who will do enough to claim the title of "best of the rest"?
So much still to take place and with the circuits of Silverstone & Donington deciding the final championship positions, this is going to go out with a bang!
The live stream will take place Sunday 15/03 at 18:10 GMT HERE
See you there!