Season 2003 Results and News
Race No. 5, Round 10
Winner 2003: Alan van der Merwe/RSA
Fastest Lap: Richard Antinucci/USA
1:02,769 Min. = 111,95 mph / 180,170 km/h
Date: 06 June 2004
Track: Snetterton (1,952 miles/3,141 km)
2004 Avon Tyres British Formula Three Championship - Round 10,
Snetterton, Norfolk, June 5th/6th
© Stella-Maria Thomas and Lynne Waite

Race Report:
fine, sunny.
After the messy opening laps of the other two races of the weekend, there wasn't too much hope that everyone would behave better this time out. There were problems even before the race started, anyway. Adam Khan (Alan Docking Racing) didn't even get to the start, while Will Davison (Menu Motorsport) was seen on the warm up lap with his air box cover still in place, perhaps an indication of the state of his relationship with his team in that no one had checked and removed it. Whatever the reason, it meant his engine might well overheat before he made it round to the grid. Luckily for him, Snetterton is a short track, and pole-man James Rossiter (Fortec Motorsport) was showing little inclination to hang about. The Australian made it in time and the cover was removed, but it would likely not make a lot of difference anyway, given how far back on the grid he was. Even so, it was perhaps fortunate that the formation lap was quickly over with. Rossiter wanted to get on with this race, and maybe this time come home - in the lead would be nice, but just to get some points this weekend would probably do given he had failed to finish the previous two rounds.
Certainly when the lights turned green, it looked as if Rossiter might just get his wish. He made a tremendous start, but it paled into insignificance next to the start made by Adam Carroll (P1 Motorsport) and by the time they made it to the first turn Carroll was in the lead. Lucas di Grassi (Hitech Racing) was 3rd, but was later adjudged to have jumped the start, regardless of the fact that he started from 3rd and gained no advantage at all. To be fair, he may well have crept, and then stopped. He seemed adamant that he had done no such thing, but once a drive through penalty has not only been awarded, but also served, it is too late to do anything about it. For good measure, he was later awarded a 1 second penalty for a pit lane offence as well. After a non-finish earlier in the day, he must have been wondering why he'd bothered to turn up at the circuit on Sunday morning.
Behind the three of them, Will Power (Alan Docking Racing) was busy trying to get past di Grassi, maybe so he could get to Rossiter, maybe just because he wanted to be on the podium again. Whatever his motive, he probably also wanted to get away from Nelson A Piquet (Piquet Sports) who was right on his rear wing and showing no inclination to leave him alone. Behind Piquet, Danny Watts was having another good run, the Promatecme F3 Lola-Dome seemingly admirably suited to conditions on the flat, fast Norfolk track. Fairuz Fauzy (Menu Motorsport) and Danilo Dirani (Carlin Motorsport) seemed set for something of a battle too, until that is Dirani decided that he wanted to investigate the crop growing in the field at the end of Riches. On closer inspection it didn't prove especially interesting, so he came back out again, but by then he had lost a number of places, and was a long way from Fauzy, who inherited Dirani's team-mate, Clivio Piccione, as a playmate instead. It was debatable whether he'd ever be free of Carlin cars, especially as Alvaro Parente was right behind Piccione. Some days you just can't win!
Meanwhile, di Grassi wandered in to the pits to serve his penalty, which boosted Power up a place, though it didn't help him get rid of Piquet, which at least gave the spectators something to watch. Apart from Karun Chandhok (T-Sport) there were no retirements (and in his case there was nothing else all weekend), and almost nothing happened from Dirani's spin all the way to the chequered flag. It was a deadly dull race, which was actually quite a welcome change in some respects.
Otherwise, if it was entertainment you were after, you just had to wait until Ajit Kumar (Mango Racing) was being lapped (for the first or second time, it really didn't matter). Although the Indian is a gentleman in these matters, as we saw at Croft, it isn't always possible for the driver who is being lapped to find anywhere to go to get out of the way. And so there was a bunching up behind him, initially of Parente and Marko Asmer (Hitech Racing). As they slowed each other down trying to avoid Kumar, while not giving ground, they were joined by both Davison and a recovering but infuriated di Grassi, the two of them keen to make up as much ground as they could. Even though Ernesto Viso (P1 Racing) eventually joined in too, it made little difference and they ended the race pretty much as they'd started it, with the exception of di Grassi. Oh, and also Davison, who lost a place to di Grassi on the second run past Kumar, and then another one to Viso. Davison had pretty much lost the will to live by now anyway, and Kumar did nothing to improve the Aussie's mood.
Further back, an equally annoyed Dirani was bottled up behind James Walker (Hitech Racing) and had the other Hitech car of Andrew Thompson on his tail. The order remained fixed there too, though, despite Kumar.
And that wasn't all from Kumar either. Two laps from the end, as the rest of the Scholarship Class piled up behind him, his presence altered that result too. Ryan Lewis (T-Sport) was again in the lead, but behind him Stephen Jelley (Performance Racing), and his teammate Barton Mawer, were running in close formation. However, Jelley was bottled up, which allowed Mawer through and into 2nd place in the class. That left Vasilije Calasan (Promatecme F3) to come home in 4th, well ahead of Mr. Kumar.
Meanwhile, at the front, Carroll cruised home to victory, despite the fact that time lost lapping Kumar meant that Rossiter was very much closer at the end than he had been for most of the race. It didn't matter. Carroll was ecstatic, while his Mum, Lynda, was a tearful wreck on the banking as she watched her boy win his second race of the season. The fastest laps in each class, not surprisingly, went to Piquet and to Lewis. And that really was all there was to it. A little like watching paint dry…

Next Races: Rounds 11 and 12, Castle Combe, Wiltshire, June 19th/20th



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