Calado wins thrilling season finale

James Calado claimed his fifth win of the year as the British Formula 3 season concluded with a thrilling wet race on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit this afternoon

Calado wins thrilling season finale

Rain arrived as the cars set off for their green flag lap, which made the going treacherous initially and several drivers pitted for wet tyres before the start.

Carlin's Rupert Svendsen-Cook looked best placed of these gamblers, but came together with fellow wet runner Alex Brundle (T-Sport) at Druids early on, forcing him to retire to the pits.

Calado made the best of slicks in the tricky early conditions to stretch away at the front, while Fortec's Oli Webb struggled to fend off Jean-Eric Vergne (Carlin) and Will Buller (Hitech).

The rain eased after half a dozen laps, but came back and intensified a few laps later, forcing most drivers to pit for wets eventually.

Having passed Webb round the outside at Hawthorns for second, a slickshod Vergne fell off at Druids as the track became wetter, thus posting his first retirement of the season.

Two laps later, Calado pitted for wet tyres. He had a 14 second lead over Buller, but a great stop by Hitech and some aggression out of the pits from the driver brought Buller right onto Calado's tail as they re-joined the race at the bottom end of the top 10.

Webb took over the lead and stayed out for another two laps before pitting for his own wet tyres. A slow stop dropped him well down though and he could only recover 10th by the flag.

Poleman Dan McKenzie (Fortec) and early frontrunners Carlos Huertas (Double R) and Adriano Buzaid (Carlin) attempted to stay out for the duration on slicks, but the wet drivers began lapping up to six seconds faster in the closing stages, so this trio became sitting ducks.

Calado and Buller came gradually through the top 10 and moved back into the lead with six laps to go. Buller chased Calado hard, but ran wide at Paddock with three laps left.

Calado thus cruised home to an 8s victory from Buller, while a call to change to wets before the start by National Class pacesetter Menasheh Idafar (T-Sport) and erstwhile backmarker Adderly Fong (Sino Vision) paid off spectacularly.

As the remaining slick runners struggled for grip, these two moved through the pack in the late stages. Idafar clinched the National Class title with an overall podium finish, while Fong shadowed him home fourth after both overhauled McKenzie on the penultimate lap.

Litespeed's Jay Bridger, the last of the pre-race wet tyre gamblers, took fifth in his wetshod Dallara, while McKenzie trailed home sixth as the first of the slick finishers.

A wetshod Felipe Nasr jumped his dry-tyred Double R team-mate Carlos Huertas on the final lap to take seventh, with Buzaid and Webb slithering home next to round out the top 10.

So many drivers crashed or fell off in the difficult conditions that Carlin's Jazeman Jaafar and T-Sport's James Cole were the last of only 12 finishers.

Pos Driver Team Car Time/Gap 1. James Calado Carlin D/V 40m09.900s 2. William Buller Hitech D/V + 8.152s 3. Menasheh Idafar T-Sport D/H + 30.186s 4. Adderly Fong Sino Vision D/M + 31.621s 5. Jay Bridger Litespeed D/M + 36.554s 6. Daniel McKenzie Fortec D/M + 36.878s 7. Felipe Nasr Raikkonen Robertson D/M + 38.411s 8. Carlos Huertas Raikkonen Robertson D/M + 42.020s 9. Adriano Buzaid Carlin D/V + 48.668s 10. Oli Webb Fortec D/M + 53.457s 11. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin D/V + 1m03.388s 12. James Cole T-Sport D/H + 1 lap Retirements: Daisuke Nakajima Raikkonen Robertson D/M 24 laps Hywel Lloyd CF/Manor D/M 22 laps Gabriel Dias Hitech D/V 22 laps Maxim Snegirev Fortec D/M 15 laps Jean-Eric Vergne Carlin D/V 12 laps Lucas Foresti Carlin D/V 5 laps Pietro Fantin Hitech D/V 3 laps Alex Brundle T-Sport D/V 2 laps Rupert Svendsen-Cook Carlin D/V 2 laps 
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