Brands race 1: Hayes at last!

At long last Derek Hayes took his first British Formula 3 Championship victory after a superb drive under great pressure in the opening race on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.

Brands race 1: Hayes at last!

Under light drizzle, which made the track slippery in the early stages, Hayes sprinted his Manor Motorsport Dallara-Mugen into the lead from second on the grid when poleman Takuma Sato stalled at the green light.

But Jaguar Racing twins James Courtney and Andre Lotterer put the Northern Irishman under the cosh in the early laps, the Australian diving every which way around the Indy circuit on the opening tour.

Hayes, who was on a more conservative 'wetter' set-up than the Jaguar Dallara-Mugens, had to adjust his driving style before managing to get into a rhythm at mid-distance and hold the always narrow gap.

"I was praying it would rain more," said Hayes. "I could only pull away after I'd adapted to the conditions, but towards the end of the race it was mint."

Courtney himself had a problem. His flatshift wire broke at the start of the green flag lap and he had to use the clutch for all his gearchanges throughout the race.

"Derek was making a few mistakes, but then my problem with the gearchange would lose me time - the revs were getting sucked into the limiter."

Lotterer tried a few moves on Courtney before having to settle for third.

"We could have crashed three or four times, but we're team mates..." smiled the German.

A sensational opening lap from Anthony Davidson lifted him from ninth to fourth. He was reeling in Lotterer but, on lap 11, got too close at Stirlings and understeered briefly off track. That gave Paul Edwards the place.

Although Davidson caught Edwards up again, he then lost second gear which slowed him at the Druids hairpin, consigning him to fifth.

Davidson's moment at Stirlings bunched up Jamie Spence and Mark Taylor. Spence, feeling unwell after contracting the virus which forced Duma Racing team mate Ryan Dalziel out for the weekend, put in a gritty drive but was unable to prevent Taylor from driving ahead of him into sixth up to Druids - on the grass!

Gianmaria Bruni held on for eighth from a charging Sato, who put in a stunning drive after having to even overtake the course car on the first lap, breaking the lap record on his way back to ninth.

The Japanese would undoubtedly have beaten at least Bruni and possibly Spence, but a determined Andy Priaulx kept him behind for the majority of the last three laps before being outwitted in a diving manoeuvre at Surtees.

Robbie Kerr proved himself to be a class above his Scholarship division rivals with a dominant 14-second win, which re-established him in the points lead from Matt Gilmore, who was second in this race.

A big kerfuffle on the first lap among the Scholarship Class midfielders caused an early race safety car period, extending the race by three laps.




Derek Hayes (Manor Motorsport Dallara-Mugen) 18 laps in 27m53.071s
James Courtney (Jaguar Racing Dallara-Mugen) +0.656s
Andre Lotterer (Jaguar Racing Dallara-Mugen) +1.084s
Paul Edwards (Alan Docking Racing Dallara-Mugen) +5.914s
Anthony Davidson (Carlin Motorsport Dallara-Mugen) +6.544s
Mark Taylor (Manor Motorsport Dallara-Mugen) +9.580s
Jamie Spence (Duma Racing Dallara-Mugen) +11.285s
Gianmaria Bruni (Fortec Dallara-Renault) +11.821s
Takuma Sato (Carlin Motorsport Dallara-Mugen) +12.141s
Andy Priaulx (Alan Docking Racing Dallara-Mugen) +13.799s
Sato 1m18.754s
Robbie Kerr (Fred Goddard Racing Dallara-Renault)

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