Harvey is 2012 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 Champion

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Lincolnshire’s Jack Harvey scored two stunning lights-to-flag victories at the season finale of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 Championship at Donington Park on September 30, becoming the first British winner of the series since Mike Conway in 2006.

Carlin racing driver, Harvey, arrived at the Derby venue on the back foot, after a disappointing weekend at Silverstone in early September, when he picked up three penalties. Entering the final rounds of the championship, Harvey trailed teammate and erstwhile championship leader, Jazeman Jaafar, by six points. There was little to choose between the Carlin duo in Friday’s free practice session but, come qualifying, it was Harvey who led the way for the Farnham-based team. The 19-year-old secured pole position for races one and three, as he began to ‘tick off the boxes’ en route to title glory.

A flawless performance in race one saw the Bassingham-based star claim a convincing win over title rival, Jaafar, taking the chequered flag 3.9 seconds ahead of the Malaysian to close the gap to just one point at the top of the standings. Speaking after race one, Harvey described the race as ‘straightforward,’ saying, “It was never ever easy out there, but in the end, the race was fairly straightforward and comfortable out there. I pulled a decent gap over Jaz (Jazeman Jaafar) and Alex (Lynn) and I was pushing hard for the fastest lap, because I knew that a win and the fastest lap would pull me even with Jaafar, but Alex was just too quick out there. I wasn’t prepared to push so hard that I’d risk throwing away the 20 points and any hopes of the championship, so in the end, I was forced to accept that Alex was the quickest man out there today.” Harvey lined up in eighth position for the reversed grid race, which saw his Carlin stable-mate, Harry Tincknell, start from pole. Sluggish off the start, the Racing Steps Foundation-backed racer was unable to make up ground in the early stages, while his title challenger, Jaafar, moved up to sixth ahead of Fortec’s Lynn.

Harvey was granted a reprise, though, as Lynn suffered contact with Jaafar as the Malaysian passed the 19-year-old rookie racer. Unbeknownst to Lynn, the damage had caused a puncture to the Mercedes-powered Fortec’s left-rear tyre and as he entered Old Hairpin, Lynn was unable to slow down for the corner and he ran wide, losing control of the rear of the car and taking the unfortunate Jaafar out of the race with him in the ensuing incident. That crash promoted Harvey to sixth in race two, which was enough to assume the lead in the drivers’ standings with just one race remaining. The third and final race of the weekend got underway shortly before 1800 (BST), in near twilight conditions at Donington Park. Another strong start from Harvey saw him lead off the line ahead of Lynn. While second-placed Lynn staved off an attack from Jaafar, Harvey was able to extend a gap over the remainder of the field, but Lynn was relentless in his pursuit of another British F3 victory, as he set fastest lap after fastest lap to slash the gap to Harvey to half a second after just a handful of laps. With the leading trio separated by just one second and visibility becoming increasingly challenging, the final stages of the race were fraught with tension, as the title hung in the balance. With 28 laps completed, a delighted Harvey held on to cross the line six tenths of a second clear of Lynn.

Speaking after the race, the 2012 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 Champion said he was ‘over the moon’ with title glory, saying, “I really am so happy. The team has worked so hard; I know everyone says it’s about the drivers, but the Carlin guys are simply the best at what they do, both in this series and the series above – I genuinely believe that so I want to say a big thank you to all of them. “I really struggled with pace in the final race, I had really poor grip. I felt I’d done enough to build a gap early on, but with 25 to go, he was really closing in on me and I was just willing Alex to slow down.” The 2012 Champion also gave credit to his fellow racers after a hard-fought season, “I’m delighted to share the podium with Jaz, who has been a great teammate and has pushed me very hard, and Alex, who would certainly be my tip for the title next year if he decides to go for it.” The points positions for the top three finishers of the 2012 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 Championship are as follows: Jack Harvey (Carlin) 319, Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin) 306, and Felix Serralles (Fortec Motorsports) 299.