Hayes gunning for Silverstone victory

British Formula 3 Championship contender Derek Hayes says he will be gunning for all out victory in this weekend's non-championship British Grand Prix support race - whether rival Takuma Sato gets in his way or not

Hayes gunning for Silverstone victory

Sunday's curtain-raiser to the GP itself will feature the cream of British F3 pitted against each other, without the pressure of finishing in the points. And with the Formula 1 team bosses looking on and a full Grand Prix crowd, expect sparks to fly.

Hayes took his maiden Formula 3 win at Brands Hatch last weekend which, according to the Ulsterman, has given him just the boost he needs ahead of what he considers to be the 'most important race of his career to date'.

"I'm very much looking forward to the weekend," Hayes told Autosport.com. "Obviously I'm going there on a good high and I'll be there as top Brit in the championship. I'm going all out for the win because it's a non-championship event so you don't have to worry about getting points, you just have to think about winning the race."

But Hayes will have to overcome some stiff competition if he is to impress in what is the closest thing to the Silverstone-based driver's home race. All of the front-running teams will be present with the current crop of Formula 3 stars jostling for position, not least British series leader Sato. Hayes, however, who has had several run-ins with the Japanese ace already this year, is not worried.

"I wouldn't say that there's potential for a clash between us," said Hayes. "If there was me lining up for pole with Sato alongside, then I would say that it would be a very tough and aggressive race to the finish line. I don't think there will be too many holes that aren't filled on the way down to copse for the first time."

Sato's Carlin Motorsport team mate Anthony Davidson will also be keen to put on a good show in front of his home crowd and has the experience of winning on big occasions after victories in the Formula Ford Festival last year and at the prestigious Pau race in May.

The Jaguar duo of James Courtney and Andre Lotterer could also be a threat, for despite showing erratic form this year the pair have managed to put in a recent string of results, but must qualify well if they are to succeed at the weekend.

Hayes has dominated the Manor Motorsport stable this year and the Sheffield-based team, which took Antonio Pizzonia to the title last year, is running three cars in 2001. Team mates Jeffrey Jones and Mark Taylor have failed to hold a torch to Hayes so far this year, although Taylor has moved towards the sharp end in recent races so expect him to go well at Silverstone.

The wild card entry comes in the form of the GM Motorsport team from the German F3 Championship. The Siegfried Muller-run outfit is entering cars for regular drivers Tony Schmidt and Hannes Lachinger and the pair will be the only drivers in the field to have Toyota power behind them.

With only the two entries from overseas, the line-up for Sunday's race makes for very familiar reading, however Hayes insists the lack of outside competition does not detract from the sense of occasion and that it is simply because the current standard of the British Championship is so high.

"To be honest, it wouldn't make any difference if more drivers had come over from elsewhere," said Hayes. "The British championship is so competitive and so tough this year that it has the best drivers outside of Formula 1 at the moment. And I think that's maybe why more teams haven't come over to compete, because it might be a bit of reality check for them."

In the Scholarship Class it will be hard for rivals to stop the momentum of Robbie Kerr after the Fred Goddard Racing driver dominated both races last weekend. Matt Gilmore is the Brit's closest rival, but will need the championship leader to falter if he is to get ahead.

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