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Calado clinches eventful British F3 season finale

Sunday, September 26 2010

Carlin's James Calado cemented his championship second place with victory at the final round of the 2010 Cooper Tires British F3 Series at Brands Hatch today (Sunday 26 September), in an eventful race featuring changeable weather conditions.

Rain began to fall lightly as the grid formed before the start of the race, with Carlin's Rupert Svendsen-Cook, Litespeed's Jay Bridger, Sino Vision's Adderley Fong and National Class T-Sport runner Menasheh Idafar opting to change to wet tyres and start from the pit lane - in a move that was to prove decisive for most drivers.

When the lights went out, pole-sitter Calado maintained position ahead of Fortec's Oli Webb, who went side by side with team-mate Daniel McKenzie round Druids for the first time. A moment for McKenzie then slipped him down the order, paving the way for 2010 champion Jean-Eric Vergne to claim third by the end of the opening lap ahead of Hitech stormer Will Buller - who made up three places on the first lap alone.

There was drama at Druids in the early part of the race, as T-Sport's Alex Brundle went off into the gravel on lap two after tangling with pit lane starter Rupert Svendsen-Cook. The incident caused left front wing damage to Svendsen-Cook's car, which resulted in both cars' retirement.

As the race unfolded, the track began to dry and it appeared that the drivers on wet tyres would be at a disadvantage. At the front of the field, Vergne snatched second from Webb in a brave manoeuvre round the outside at Hawthorn Bend, with Buller pushing his way through to third as well. Vergne's celebrations were shortlived though, as this year's champion ended his season in the gravel trap at Druids one lap later.

However, on lap nine the heavens opened and rain began to fall at a heavier level than before, which prompted a flurry of pit stops. Calado and Buller opted to change immediately to wet tyres, but Webb stayed out for a further lap, which ultimately cost the Fortec racer a podium finish.

Although most front-runners made the switch from dry to wet tyres, Daniel McKenzie, Carlin's Adriano Buzaid and Double R's Carlos Huertas opted to stay on slicks. The trio managed to stay out front initially, however the persistent rain meant a charging Calado was able to re-take the lead and claim victory in the final outing of the season.

Calado was rapidly followed through by Will Buller, whilst a thrilling battle emerged for third position as National Class runner Menasheh Idafar - who started from the pit lane after changing to wet tyres at the outset - launched a sensational drive through the field.

Idafar scythed past slick-shod runners Buzaid and Huertas before taking McKenzie two laps from the end to secure a stunning overall podium finish and the National Class title. Fellow wet tyre starters Adderley Fong and Jay Bridger also passed McKenzie to clinch fourth and fifth, with the Fortec driver eventually securing sixth as the quickest slick tyre runner.

Felipe Nasr survived an off-track moment at Surtees to take seventh at the chequered flag ahead of Huertas and Buzaid, who also remained on slick tyres. Fortec's Oli Webb rounded out the top ten.

Cooper Tires British F3 Series, Brands Hatch, race three:
1. James Calado (Carlin Dallara Volkswagen), 26 laps
2. William Buller (Hitech Racing Dallara Volkswagen), +8.152s
3. Menasheh Idafar (T-Sport Dallara Mugen Honda), +30.186s
4. Adderley Fong (Sino Vision Racing Dallara Mercedes), +31.621s
5. Jay Bridger (Litespeed Dallara Mercedes), +36.554s
6. Daniel McKenzie (Fortec Motorsport Dallara Mercedes), +36.878s
7. Felipe Nasr (Raikkonen Robertson Racing Dallara Mercedes), +38.411s
8. Carlos Huertas (Raikkonen Robertson Racing Dallara Mercedes), +42.020s
9. Adriano Buzaid (Carlin Dallara Volkswagen), +48.668s
10. Oliver Webb (Fortec Motorsport Dallara Mercedes), +53.457s

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