Oulton Park 1: Kovalainen heads Fortec 1-2

Mark Taylor was denied an impressive victory in changeable conditions at Oulton Park when a red flag at two-thirds distance relegated him to third on countback. Heikki Kovalainen, who had dropped to seventh place after going off the track, was credited with victory ahead of Fortec team-mate Fabio Carbone

Oulton Park 1: Kovalainen heads Fortec 1-2

The race started in dry conditions and Kovalainen duly converted pole position into the lead out of Old Hall Corner despite a strong challenge from fellow front row starter and scholarship runner Adam Carroll. Fabio Carbone took third place at the start, ahead of James Courtney and Robert Dahlgren, both of whom started on the second row. Taylor held his sixth place starting position ahead of Matt Gilmore and the championship leader Robbie Kerr.

With the exception of Rockingham winner Shinya Hosokawa, who flew off the track at Cascades and retired a few corners later with damage, the field survived the start. However, T-Sports driver Karun Chandhok soon went off at Island, bringing out the safety car on lap two.

The field ran in formation behind the safety car for four laps, during which time a sudden downpour soaked the track. Several drivers gambled on switching to wet tyres, including Promatecme's Matt Gilmore and Manor Motorsport's Richard Antinucci.

The leaders were decidedly conservative at the restart, more concerned with staying on the track on slicks than making up serious ground. The one exception to this was Mark Taylor, who had dropped back to eighth before the safety car was deployed. The Briton began to make up positions, while Kerr slipped back a little after misjudging his braking at Knickerbrook and cutting the chicane.

However, Kerr showed the presence of mind required of a championship contender and stopped before rejoining, ensuring that he would not gain any advantage and a resultant penalty.

The next couple of laps produced a myriad of minor excursions befalling the likes of Courtney and Ronnie Bremer, while Sweeney Racing pairing Adam Carroll and Robert Dahlgren both undid all of their good work by going off and plummeting down the order.

Carbone's attempts to take the lead from Kovalainen bore no fruit, and the Italian Malboro Masters winner slipped behind the charging Taylor, who had taken advantage of the errors of others and his own speed to get right onto the tail of the leaders.

However, it was to get better for Taylor as Kovalainen was the next to indulge in a little grass tracking and the grateful Briton assumed the lead from Carbone, Courtney and Bremer.

Robbie Kerr, meanwhile, flew off the track at Cascades and out of the race while running in seventh place, severely denting his championship hopes.

However, a red flag prompted by the treacherous conditions and the positioning of several stricken cars, specifically that of Clivio Piccione, at two-thirds distance ended the race and forced the results to be declared on countback to the previous lap, denying Taylor of victory and awarding victory to seventh placed Kovalainen. Perhaps most grateful was Kerr, who was fortunate to be credited with seventh place with Courtney in fourth, limiting the points lost to his great rival.

Victory in the championship class eventually fell to Piccione ahead of Billy Asaro and Stephen Colbert, the latter having led the class immediately before the red flag after Piccione and Asaro had gone off.



Heikki Kovalainen (Fortec Motorsport)
Fabio Carbone (Fortec Racing)
James Courtney (Carlin Motorsport)
Mark Taylor (Manor Motorsport)
Alan van der Merwe (Carlin Motorsport)
Ronnie Bremer (Manor Motorsport)
Robbie Kerr (Alan Docking Racing)
Clivio Piccione (T-Sport)*
Billy Asaro (Sweeny Racing)*
Richard Antinucci (Manor Motorsport)
Stephen Colbert (Meritus Racing)*
Stefano Fabi (Team Avanti)
Stefan Hodgetts (Motaworld Racing)
Pedro Barral (Diamond Racing)*
Mark Mayall (Alan Docking Racing)
John Antoniadis (Duma Racing)
Matt Gilmore (Promatecme F3)
Stefan de Groot (Menu Motorsport)
Bruce Jouanny (Promatemce F3)
Justin Sherwood (Performance Racing)*

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