Avon Tyres British Formula Three Championship - Round 7,
Knockhill, Fife, May 15th/16th
© Stella-Maria Thomas and Lynne Waite
Weather: fine, sunny.
Knockhill is a very difficult circuit when it comes to starts.
The undulating nature of the track means that it's very difficult
to get a good start unless you're on the first row of the
grid, simply because you are going to have to get away uphill.
Pole position points downhill, which gives you a tremendous
advantage at the start. The man with the advantage this time
round was Ernesto Viso (P1), and he wasn't about to waste
the opportunity he'd spent Saturday morning fighting for.
But first he had to wait an unusually long time as the rest
of the drivers were finally ushered to their places on the
grid, there being too few marshals to make this an easy task.
Once everyone was lined up correctly, and the lights finally
turned green, Viso didn't hesitate, and nor did Will Power
(Alan Docking Racing). If the Venezuelan was going to try
and get away, the Australian was going with him, whatever
it took. James Rossiter made a good start too and had a go
at Power, but Power shut the door firmly in the Englishman's
face. There's no love lost between the two of them after Croft,
so perhaps it shouldn't have been that much of a surprise.
Further done the order Adam Carroll (P1 Motorsport) was another
who made a good start, while Will Davison (Menu Motorsport)
saw a gap between the two rows of cars and tried to go for
it. The result of the Davo's fit of bravery was "1 or
2 very exciting seconds," before his race came to a premature
end in the gravel at Duffus, taking James Walker (Hitech Racing)
with him. Just for good measure, Clivio Piccione (Carlin Motorsport)
passed Lucas di Grassi (Hitech Racing) at the Hairpin, and
then his team-mate Andrew Thompson, clipped him, sending di
Grassi into a spin. By the time di Grassi had recovered he
was in last place. Piccione, meanwhile, got away Scot free.
It had certainly been an incident-packed first lap!
As they crossed the start/finish line for the first time,
Visa was already leading comfortably from Power, Rossiter,
Carroll, Piccione, Karun Chandhok (T-Sport), Danilo Dirani
(Carlin Motorsport), Thompson and Alvaro Parente (Carlin Motorsport).
Marko Asmer (Hitech Racing) was just outside the top 10, with
Nelson A Piquet (Piquet Sports) right on his tail. The unfortunate
di Grassi was, of course, last. In the Scholarship Class you
can probably guess what was happening. Yes, of course. Ryan
Lewis (T-Sport) was leading from Stephen Jelley (Performance
Racing) and Barton Mawer, also of Performance. So no surprises
there at all
As if that wasn't enough excitement to be going on with, Jelley
took a lunge at Lewis, which did neither of them any good
at all. Jelley hung on for a while before pitting, while Lewis
dragged his car round and into the pits to have the suspension
looked at, before wandering back out again for a brief, abortive
lap. This effectively gave the class lead to Mawer, who took
And then things settled down at last. Viso began to steadily
draw away from Power, while Rossiter had to fend off Carroll,
at least until the latter found himself being harassed by
Piccione. Meanwhile, something of a scrum was developing behind
Thompson, Piquet in particular making repeated attempts to
pass Asmer, that particular battle lasting a fair number of
laps as the Brazilian repeatedly tried to shove the Estonian
out of his way! He was aided in his attack on Asmer by the
fact that the two Hitech drivers (Thompson and Asmer) were
going at each other in a very aggressive fashion considering
they're supposed to be in the same team, though it also made
overtaking difficult because if he got Asmer, he'd still have
to deal with Thompson. To complicate matters further, by lap
9 most of the field was about to have to try and lap Ajit
Kumar (Mango Racing). Now Kumar is always polite about being
lapped, but the Knockhill is a very tight track and the Bollywood
star was short of places to go to get out of the way. He did
his best, even so.
At the back of the field, Fairuz Fauzy (Menu Motorsport) was
trying to work his way forwards, after failing to set a competitive
time in qualifying when he crashed out two laps in. He'd managed
to survive the Scholarship Class battle and was now closing
on Marcus Marshall (Fortec Motorsport). Coming out of the
Hairpin on lap 15, Fauzy prepared to attack. He powered past
the Australian on the main straight in a very aggressive move,
the first sign of fire the Malaysian has shown all season.
At the front, Viso was still motoring steadily onwards, and
no one looked likely to stop him. With 5 laps left he was
in a comfortable - though not particularly commanding lead
- with Power still in 2nd, from Rossiter. There was a gap
to Carroll, who still had Piccione on his tail, though the
latter was now having trouble with Chandhok, who now quite
likes Knockhill after all. He was being followed by Dirani
and Parente, while behind them Thompson, Asmer and Piquet
were still scrapping for positions.
With four laps left to run, Piquet had another go at Asmer,
nudging the Estonian into a spin at the Hairpin. Asmer recovered
well though, and was able to get going again without too much
loss of time, and the loss of only one place, to Fauzy. Asmer
wasn't too upset about it afterwards, sportingly remarking
that "that's racing". That left Piquet free to attack
Thompson, which he duly did, though the Scot wasn't about
to give way to anyone on his home circuit, not with 100 or
so guests in tow too. Despite his determination to hold the
Brazilian teenager off, Thompson had a nasty moment or two
before the flag, the worst one coming a lap from the end.
Attempting to lap Vasilije Calasan (Promatecme F3), the Scot
was forced wide and came close to letting Piquet through.
And apart from the fact that Viso's engine failed at the very
end of the race, that was it. All over bar the shouting (actually
that was Round 8
Viso came home to a comfortable victory (and became the 5th
driver to win a race this season), ahead of Power and Rossiter.
4th was Carroll, who had wrestled his car all the way home,
while Piccione claimed 5th place. Chandhok was pleased with
the progress that 6th place represented, while in 7th Dirani
didn't look like the same driver who had been so dominant
at Croft two weeks ago. Parente was 8th, from Thompson, and
Piquet claimed the last point, keeping Fauzy out despite the
fact that the Malaysian found a way past Asmer in the closing
stages, while Marshall was the penultimate Championship Class
competitor to cross the line, only di Grassi finishing further
back after spinning out early on. In the Scholarship Class,
Mawer won again, which makes a change from Lewis, while Khan
and Calasan claimed the other two podium spots. The only other
finished in the class was Kumar, who was two laps down at
The fastest laps in their classes - and thus an extra point
each - went to Rossiter and Mawer.