Walter Grubmuller closed to within 16 points of the British Formula 3 Championship lead by winning race one at Donington Park today.
A brief shower during earlier support races created a damp circuit, but all cars started on slicks with a clear, dry racing line emerging before the start. The Austrian started second on the drier outside line and vaulted past his pole-sitting Hitech Racing teammate Renger van der Zande to take the lead off the line.
Once into formation, the pair controlled their pace and the race from the front. They survived a mid-race safety car period and a late challenge from a charging Daniel Ricciardo (Carlin) to complete Hitech's second one-two finish of the season.
"I just managed to get a great start and it was close, but luckily I managed to keep the first corner," said Grubmuller. "It was a pretty uneventful race, but far from easy because it was really slippery off line."
Points leader Ricciardo struggled away from third on the grid and endured a nightmare first couple of laps as he fell back to seventh. But the Australian carved his way back through the field to complete the podium and salvage 13 points after setting the fastest lap. He closed on the Hitech pair towards the end, but van der Zande had enough in hand to repress his team-mate's title rival.
Colombian rookie Carlos Huertas (Double R) ran third for much of the race, but fell victim to Ricciardo's charge and ultimately missed out on a maiden podium. Instead he matched his career best F3 result with a lonely fourth, over three seconds clear of T-Sport's Adriano Buzaid, who drove strongly to fifth.
Max Chilton (Carlin) made a good start from row three and ran as high as fourth, but fell back after a duel with Buzaid and team-mate Ricciardo on the second lap and eventually rounded out the top six.
Fortec's Daniel McKenzie took National Class honours with 12th place overall. He ran behind title rival Gabriel Dias (T-Sport) early on until Dias went off and brought out the safety car.RESULTS:
Pos Driver Team Car Time/Gap
1. Walter Grubmuller Hitech D/M 30m28.106s
2. Renger van der Zande Hitech D/M + 0.656s
3. Daniel Ricciardo Carlin D/V + 1.182s
4. Carlos Huertas Double R D/M + 6.660s
5. Adriano Buzaid T-Sport D/V + 9.882s
6. Max Chilton Carlin D/V + 11.245s
7. Riki Christodoulou Fortec D/M + 12.479s
8. Daisuke Nakajima Double R D/M + 13.097s
9. Jay Bridger Litespeed M/M + 17.760s
10. Wayne Boyd T-Sport D/V + 20.692s
11. Victor Garcia Fortec D/M + 21.419s
12. Daniel McKenzie Fortec D/H + 21.807s
13. Henry Arundel Carlin D/V + 22.131s
14. Dominic Storey Double R D/M + 28.668s
15. Philip Major Carlin D/V + 29.346s
16. Hywel Lloyd CF D/H + 31.903s
17. Victor Correa Litespeed S/H + 47.543s
18. Gabriel Dias T-Sport D/H + 5 laps
Maxim Snegirev West-Tec D/H 21 laps