Duvashen PadayacheeNational Class racer Duvashen Padayachee took his sixth win of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series for Double R Racing at Silverstone on Sunday, 9th September, as series returnee Rupert Svendsen-Cook claimed a best International Class result of fourth for the Woking squad.

Added to his excellent round 25 victory on the Grand Prix Circuit, two further podiums for Australia’s Padayachee mean he goes into the final event of 2012 at Donington Park on 29th/30th September, still with a chance of fighting for the National Class title – albeit with a 43 point deficit.

Svendsen-Cook, meanwhile, on his first weekend back in British F3 for a full year, gained pace and confidence throughout the weekend and performed impressively to spearhead the Double R attack in the headline International Class. First year F3 driver Geoff Uhrhane also delivered increasingly strong showings over the course of the three races with a hard-fought eighth place in round 26.

“Rupert has done a good job on his first weekend back in the championship for a long time”, said Double R Racing team principal Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt, “He obviously has a bit of rustiness compared to the others who have been racing all year but he chipped away at it and with a couple of test days before Donington, we’re sure he’ll be right in the mix there.

“This weekend was all down to qualifying, it’s difficult to overtake at Silverstone in F3 but Rupert finished within a couple of tenths of one of the championship leaders [Jack Harvey] in race three so it shows the pace was good. Geoff was great in all three races, we’re really pleased with the progress he’s shown and we know he can run in that top six in the races – we just need to qualify better.”

Hieatt added: “Duvashen’s had a strong weekend in the National Class, it’s been close between him and Spike [Goddard – class points leader] in qualifying and racing this weekend and he definitely deserved the win. Overall, it’s not been a bad event but we want much more at Donington.”

Svendsen-Cook makes outstanding start to Silverstone weekend
In testing on Friday, 7th September, Svendsen-Cook made a big impact with the third fastest time overall for the day on his first competitive outing in a British F3 car in almost 12 months. Qualifying on Saturday, 8th September, though wasn’t as fruitful where he posted the ninth fastest time.

Uhrhane was 12th quickest in qualifying, as he was in testing, but Padayachee had to settle for third on the National Class grid for the weekend’s opening race having originally set the class pace during practice the day before.

At the start of Saturday’s 24th round, Svendsen-Cook had to take immediate avoiding action from his starting slot of ninth in order to negotiate his way past the stalled car of Felix Serralles – the resulting loss of momentum meaning the racing returnee couldn’t capitalise.

Uhrhane did move up a place due to Serralles’ problem getting off the line but, along with his new team-mate, the Australian spent the majority of the race frustratingly bottled up behind slower cars. Stuck behind Pietro Fantin and Nick McBride respectively, Svendsen-Cook and Uhrhane clearly had greater pace but were unable to carve open an opportunity.

Both did though profit from retirement for Hannes van Asseldonk on lap seven and then a drive-through penalty for Pipo Derani to move into seventh and ninth respectively into the second half of the race. An unfortunate last lap tangle with Nick McBride resulted in a non-finish for Uhrhane but this enabled Padayachee to move up the overall order into 12th, third in class.

Post-race, a 30-second jump-start penalty for third placed Jack Harvey enabled Svendsen-Cook to move into sixth on the amended classification – the second highest of the Mercedes engined cars – and therefore secure a second row start on the ‘reversed grid’ for round 25 on Sunday.

Although bundled back to eighth on lap one of race two, Svendsen-Cook passed Carlos Sainz Jnr on the second tour and then benefitted from a retirement for Derani to move into sixth. Reeling in the group ahead, closing down a 2.5 second gap to nothing by lap eight, the Double R man then grabbed fifth on the final tour following a spin for second placed Alex Lynn.

Uhrhane, meanwhile, moved into 11th on lap one ahead of McBride and then took 10th following Derani’s dramas. Piling on the pressure to Harry Tincknell ahead, the Australian was noticeably held up behind the Briton until Tincknell took a drive-through penalty at the end of lap four.

Then turning his attentions to challenging van Asseldonk for eighth place, Uhrhane raced superbly and tried everything he could to find a way past the Dutchman but had to settle for ninth a mere 0.2 seconds back. Post-race though, another 30 second penalty for Harvey meant Svendsen-Cook moved into fourth on the amended classification – matching Double R’s best of 2012 – with Uhrhane eighth.

Padayachee secured his sixth National Class win of the year with an excellent performance in his Dallara Mugen-Honda. Leading the way initially after an excellent start to the first of Sunday’s races, the Australian did unfortunately slip behind Pedro Pablo Calbimonte on lap two but remained close in the wheeltracks of the Bolivian.

On lap five though, Calbimonte went off the circuit at Maggotts while under serious pressure from Padayachee and so the Double R man resumed the lead of the class before going on to claim a richly deserved victory by two seconds. With Harvey’s time penalty, Padayachee was also 10th overall.

In the third and final race of the weekend, round 26, Svendsen-Cook and Uhrhane were both able to run strong pace but were again frustrated to be stuck behind slower cars – especially Uhrhane who had to spend the majority of the race staring at the rear of Derani’s Dallara.

Pressuring lap after lap, in the face of some stern defence, Uhrhane finally made the breakthrough to get into the points-paying top 10 on lap 14 and immediately pulled clear to end the race over 13 seconds clear of the Brazilian just six laps later.

Svendsen-Cook ran in ninth position throughout, glued to the rear of Harvey’s car at the finish, while Padayachee took his third National Class podium of the weekend with second place – just 0.5 seconds shy of Goddard having reeled him in during the closing stages.

2012 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series Driver Standings (after Rd26):
12th Geoff Uhrhane, 34pts; 13th Rupert Svendsen-Cook, 18pts

2012 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series ‘National Class’ Standings (after Rd26):
2nd Duvashen Padayachee, 345pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography