Nick Tandy paid tribute to his dearly departed brother Joe and delivered the perfect result for his beleaguered JTR team by winning the first British Formula 3 race at Rockingham today.
Tandy started third, but took the lead on the exit of Deene hairpin on lap one. Championship leader and pole position man Daniel Ricciardo (Carlin) tried to outbrake the fast-starting Renger van der Zande (Hitech) into the corner and launched his Dallara-Volkswagen into his rival and into retirement.
The Dutchman found his way back to the pits for repairs to the rear wing. He returned to the fray six laps down and set a sequence of fastest laps, before retiring with damaged rear suspension from the earlier collision.
As Tandy's Mygale-Mercedes escaped with the lead, series returnee Marcus Ericsson (Raikkonen Robertson) tried to give chase. But the Swede had no answer to Tandy's relentless pace and the JTR man stroked the car home to record a thoroughly deserved victory by 8.608 seconds.
As his team cheered him across the line, Tandy's front right suspension collapsed and he was lucky to keep the car out of the wall. But nothing could take the shine off a memorable and emotional triumph.
"What a tribute to Joe. That's for you brother, that's for you!" said a delighted Tandy after the race.
"He made this car the fastest car out there today and my God was it fast. I've never driven a formula car and had it come that easy.
"We had a bit of luck with the start and van der Zande and Ricciardo getting together, but what a team, what a car with the Mygale and what an engine with the Mercedes. What more can I say?"
Behind the leading pair, Ericsson's team-mate Daisuke Nakajima held a five-car train at bay throughout to record his maiden podium in British F3.
Team-mate Carlos Huertas was his closest challenger, scoring his best F3 result so far with fourth. He made a number of attempts to challenge the Japanese into Deene on the brakes, but Nakajima's defense held firm each time.
A mightily impressive drive from Welsh independent Hywel Lloyd looked set to net him a career-best fifth spot.
He charged up from 12th on the grid into the top six in the early laps, but spun down the order at the exit of Deene after trying to pass Huertas for fourth.
He fell to eighth and then fell into retirement after contact with Walter Grubmuller's Hitech car while trying to storm back through the field.
Weekend-long National Class pace-setter Gabriel Dias (T-Sport) looked set for a comfortable class win until a drive through penalty dropped him behind rival Daniel McKenzie in the late stages.RESULTS:
Pos Driver Team Car Time
1. Nick Tandy JTR M/M 30m57.771s
2. Marcus Ericsson Double R D/M + 8.608s
3. Daisuke Nakajima Double R D/M + 17.310s
4. Carlos Huertas Double R D/M + 18.226s
5. Max Chilton Carlin D/V + 18.800s
6. Riki Christodoulou Fortec D/M + 19.641s
7. Henry Arundel Carlin D/V + 23.176s
8. Victor Garcia Fortec D/M + 26.969s
9. Wayne Boyd T-Sport D/V + 28.786s
10. Jay Bridger Litespeed M/H + 32.909s
11. Daniel McKenzie Fortec D/H + 39.365s
12. Gabriel Dias T-Sport D/H + 40.662s
13. Stephane Richelmi Barazi Epsilon D/M + 47.740s
14. Maxim Snegirev West-Tec D/H +1m04.444s
15. Victor Correa Litespeed S/H +1m08.315s
16. Adriano Buzaid T-Sport D/V + 1 lap
Walter Grubmuller Hitech D/M 21 laps
Hywel Lloyd CF D/H 19 laps
Renger van der Zande Hitech D/M 9 laps
Daniel Ricciardo Carlin D/V 0 laps