Jazeman JaafarJazeman Jaafar has taken the lead in the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series after a chaotic and penalty laiden weekend at Silverstone. Jaafar put himself firmly back in the hunt for the 2012 title with three podiums including a race win on Saturday, but it was opposite fortunes for team mate Jack Harvey. The Racing Steps man, who had been championship leader heading into this weekend’s races was hit with three penalties in total which severely hampered his weekend. Team mates Carlos Sainz and Harry Tincknell took podiums, while Pietro Fantin took a strong points haul as well as fastest lap in race two.

After a competitive qualifying session on Saturday it was Fortec’s Alex Lynn who lead the field away with a very quick start from pole in race one yesterday. Lynn went on to lead home Jaafar who finished a competitive second, while Harvey crossed the line third, Sainz fourth, Tincknell fifth and Fantin eighth.

However Lynn’s start was found to be a little too quick as the Fortec driver was handed a 30 second penalty for a jump start, as was Harvey. That elevated Jaafar to first, heading a Carlin 1-2-3 ahead of Sainz and Tincknell.

Following his penalty in race one, Harvey had lost a short lived, but healthy championship lead, while Jaafar was back in contention and on level points with Serralles. Harvey fought hard from the outset and clashed with Pipo Derani on lap one, which allowed his main title challenger Serralles to take the race lead, and by the chequered flag the points lead. Harvey went on to finish second, while Jaafar was on the pace once again and put in a great performance to climb to third from eighth on the grid. Fantin followed Jaafar home and also claimed points for fastest lap, with Sainz seventh and Tincknell 13th after a drive through penalty for lining up out of position on the grid.

Harvey’s weekend was soon to take a turn for the worse however when the Carlin man was heavily penalised for his opening lap incident with Derani, and was classified 10th in the International Class after a 30 second penalty was added to his race time. A five place grid penalty for race three added further to his woes.

As the drivers lined up for the third and final race of the weekend, Lynn was once again on pole, while Jaafar was eying his third podium of the weekend from second on the grid. The young Malaysian stole the lead on lap one with a great move at Becketts, and was followed by team mates Tincknell and Sainz who had relegated Lynn to fourth. The Fortec driver fought back through and passed both Tincknell and Sainz to take back second placed, and spent the majority of the race putting pressure on Jaafar.

Title rivals Harvey and Serralles were also involved in a tough battle and after a spin put Serralles behind the two ran closely in the closing stages. The Puerto Rican tried to pass Harvey but ran onto the grass and was launched into the air. However, the Fortec driver recovered sufficiently to pass Harvey just a lap and a half later on the final lap.

At the front Jaafar did all he could to hold onto the lead despite a badly flat spotted tyre, but Lynn was able to find a way past on the last lap. Jaafar’s third podium of the weekend puts him at the top of the points table however, six points ahead of Serralles and 23 ahead of Harvey.

Tincknell completed a strong weekend with an impressively defensive drive to hold off Hannes van Asseldonk for third place, as Sainz crossed the line in fifth, ahead of Fantin in sixth while Harvey took points for eighth.

Reflecting on his turn around weekend, Jaafar said, “It’s been a very tense, very exciting weekend and very rewarding. My aim coming into this weekend was to close in on Jack [Harvey] and Felix [Serralles]. I was 20 points off the lead heading into Silverstone and I’ve turned that into a six point advantage now. It’s a great way to head to the final round of the championship with that momentum; it’s just a shame I have to wait three weeks!”