Marcus Ericsson secured his first victory in British Formula 3 by winning race two at Rockingham this afternoon. The Swede, who took advantage of a gap in his Japanese F3 program to return to the series as a guest for Raikkonen Robertson Racing this weekend, inherited the win when early leader Riki Christodoulou (Fortec) was penalised for lining up out of position on the front row of the grid before the start.
Both poleman Ericsson and Christodoulou made average getaways at the start of the race, but a first corner melee, which accounted for the hapless Renger van der Zande (Hitech) and forced race one winner Nick Tandy (JTR) to crab to the pits with a broken nose cone, allowed the front two to make an early escape from the rest.
A further first-lap shunt at Tarzan eliminated the national class pacesetter Gabriel Dias (T-Sport) and Carlos Huertas (Double R), and required a safety car to allow marshals to mop up the mess.
Christodoulou controlled the restart and began to stretch a slight advantage back to his Swedish rival, but it would all be for nought as the officials slapped him with a drivethrough penalty for his earlier infringement. The leader continued to circulate until seeing the black flag at mid-distance. He dived into the pits to take his original drivethrough penalty and rejoined in 11th place, but had to come in for good with six laps left owing to disqualification for ignoring the officials.
That left Ericsson clear to cruise home and collect a comfortable 3.926-second win -- Double R's first of the season on the first anniversary of its last triumph in British F3 at Rockingham.
Carlin's Henry Arundel, who started from row two, carefully avoided the first lap chaos to claim a career-best second – his first F3 podium. T-Sport's Adriano Buzaid was the biggest beneficiary of the first-lap fracas and leapt from ninth on the grid to fourth, which became his and the team's second podium of the season once Christodoulou had been excluded.
This race was a largely processional affair, with Daisuke Nakajima (Double R), championship leader Daniel Ricciardo (Carlin) and Walter Grubmuller (Hitech) also avoiding the opening lap trouble and running in station throughout the rest of the race to round out the top six.
Victor Garcia (Fortec) had his best run of the season to claim seventh, while Jay Bridger secured his and Litespeed's best ever result in British F3 by taking eighth.
Tandy's charge through the field, after his opening lap woes, ended with an over-optimistic attempt to pass Stephane Richelmi at Yentwood and he finished a lowly 14th but took a point for fastest lap and the driver of the day award for his earlier triumph in race one.RESULTS:
Pos Driver Team Car Time
1. Marcus Ericsson Double R D/M 30m01.530s
2. Henry Arundel Carlin D/V + 3.926s
3. Adriano Buzaid T-Sport D/V + 4.871s
4. Daisuke Nakajima Double R D/M + 6.165s
5. Daniel Ricciardo Carlin D/V + 7.344s
6. Walter Grubmuller Hitech D/M + 8.037s
7. Victor Garcia Fortec D/M + 13.088s
8. Jay Bridger Litespeed M/H + 13.952s
9. Hywel Lloyd CF D/H + 14.409s
10. Max Chilton Carlin D/V + 16.030s
11. Wayne Boyd T-Sport D/V + 22.247s
12. Stephane Richelmi Barazi Epsilon D/M + 25.435s
13. Daniel McKenzie Fortec D/H + 27.147s
14. Nick Tandy JTR M/M + 30.761s
15. Maxim Snegirev West-Tec D/H +1m14.095s
Riki Christodoulou Fortec D/M 15 laps
Victor Corrêa Litespeed S/H 2 laps
Gabriel Dias T-Sport D/H 1 lap
Renger van der Zande Hitech D/M 0 laps
Carlos Huertas Double R D/M 0 laps