Race 1: Davidson benefits from Sato-Hayes shunt

Anthony Davidson took his maiden British Formula 3 Championship race win at Croft after a collision between title contenders Takuma Sato and Derek Hayes

Race 1: Davidson benefits from Sato-Hayes shunt

Hayes converted his pole position into an early race lead, the Manor Motorsport Dallara-Mugen driver then holding off Sato's similar Carlin Motorsport machine over the first lap and a half.

Hayes then made a mistake at Tower on lap two, running wide but just managing to hold off Sato on the run to the Jim Clark Esses. But Sato saw his chance and lanced to the inside for Sunny. The two cars collided and went onto the grass, allowing Davidson to inherit a giant-sized lead over Andy Priaulx.

From then on Davidson was on his own, apart from two laps behind the safety car (caused when Mark Taylor was forced off at Tower after a collision with Milos Pavlovic). But there was still plenty of focus in a thrilling race as Sato and Hayes fought through the top 10.

Sato made it up to fourth, making some ambitious attempts to deprive James Courtney of the last podium position on the final lap but falling just short. Hayes, meanwhile, got up to sixth, then ran wide while trying to pass Nicolas Kiesa for fifth on the last tour. Bruce Jouanny nipped ahead of him, but was then turned around by Hayes at the hairpin and spun out of the race. Hayes, with nowhere to go, dropped to 10th as he selected first gear and steered around the Promatecme Dallara. Things got from bad to worse for the Irishman, however when stewards excluded him from his 10th place for his coming-together with Jouanny.

Afterwards, Sato and Hayes both claimed to be in the right concerning their collision. Sato said: "I dived inside but he just carried on taking his line and we made contact. If there is any possibility of passing I will always take it." A defiant Hayes said: "He tried to pass in a place you wouldn't even dream of and fired me off. He can walk all over the rest - but not me."

After the race, Manor Motorsport's John Booth protested to stewards against Sato's driving, saying: "He (Sato) thinks he's got a God-given right for people to move over, but our little Irish ginger bloke (Hayes) won't do that. It's best to get these things out good and early even if it's not succesful (the appeal) we've made a point. After they have chucked Takuma out, I shall go and shake his hand because I quite like the lad."

Davidson meanwhile was more than happy to claim his first win in the series.

"It was pretty easy really - after the two fast ones fell off!" he said. "It was such fun being out there, in a good car and in the lead by miles. Such a good feeling I can't describe."

There were other incidents too. Jamie Spence was up to third after the Sato/Hayes collision, but fell foul of Priaulx while trying to pass the Guernseyman for second and retired with a broken trackrod.

Mark Mayall was another first-time winner. The Diamond Racing driver made a terrific start and held off Robbie Kerr over the opening laps. After falling away, Kerr then spun, gifting Adam Blair second place from series leader Matt Gilmore.

Anthony Davidson (Carlin Motorsport Dallara-Mugen) 18 laps in 24m39.475s
Andy Priaulx (Alan Docking Racing Dallara-Mugen) +3.871s
James Courtney (Jaguar Racing Dallara-Mugen) +6.241s
Takuma Sato (Carlin Motorsport Dallara-Mugen) +6.503s
Nicolas Kiesa (RC Motorsport Dallara-Opel) +7.432s
Jeffrey Jones (Manor Motorsport Dallara-Mugen) +9.409s
Andre Lotterer (Jaguar Racing Dallara-Mugen) +10.054s
Paul Edwards (Alan Docking Racing Dallara-Mugen) +11.951s
Matt Davies (Team Avanti Dallara-Opel) +12.304s
Fastest lap Davidson 1m15.105s
Scholarship Class Mark Mayall (Diamond Racing Dallara-Mugen)

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