Pizzonia blitzes British F3 rivals

Antonio Pizzonia splashed to victory in the opening round of the Green Flag British Formula 3 Championship at Thruxton on Sunday March 26.

Pizzonia blitzes British F3 rivals

Rain and hail showers left track conditions tricky for the 23 qualifiers, but Pizzonia coped superbly in his first ever F3 race.

He passed pole position man Tomas Scheckter at the start of the 30-minute encounter and pulled clear while the chasing pack struggled in his spray.

Scheckter had a chance to catch the leader when the safety car was brought out while a crashed car was cleared from the circuit.

But at the restart, Pizzonia powered clear to win, while his rival was held up by a back marker.

"I was really pleased with my race," said Pizzonia, who drives for reigning F3 champion team Manor Motorsport.

"I hadn't practiced starts in the wet before but got away well and the car was felt really good. Tomas began to catch me, but I knew there was only a few minutes left so he wouldn't be able to get past me before the end of the race."

Scheckter, who was also making his debut in F3, held on to second place, despite pressure from his Stewart Racing team-mate Narain Karthikeyan.

"I knew I had a good chance of winning, but I made a mistake at the start," said the South African racer. "I tried to catch Antonio, but he had too much of an advantage by then."

Karthikeyan finished third after bravely rocketing from sixth place on the grid to pass three cars on the first lap of the race

"We had a bad time in qualifying, so it is good to get some points in the first race of the year," said the Indian.

Karthikeyan finished ahead of the Renault-powered cars of Matthew Davies and Andy Priaulx, while Yugoslavian Milos Pavlovic progressed from the seventh row of the grid to claim sixth place at the end of the race.

The Scholarship Class battle was dominated by Gary Paffett, who recovered from a last corner clash with fellow Briton Michael Bentwood to finish ninth overall, although Bentwood was out on the spot.

Series newcomer Christian Colombo finished second in class in his maiden first F3 race.

Results:

1 Antonio Pizzonia (Dallara F300) 23 laps in 30m52.035s

2 Tomas Scheckter (Dallar F300)

3 Narain Karthikeyan (Dallara F300)

4 Matt Davies (Dallara F300)

5 Andy Priaulx (Dallara F300)

6 Milos Pavlovic (Dallara F300)

Scholarship class winner:
Gary Paffett (Dallara F398)

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