British F3 regular Lucas Foresti dominates the annual event at Interlagos, while Nick Cassidy is the man to beat at round two of the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand…
2012’s F3 Brazil Open was the third running of the event at Interlagos, which again attracted some of Brazil’s up and coming international drivers in addition to the stars of their own domestic F3 series. Lucas Foresti returned after a strong second season in British F3 to defend the title that he won last year, and the 19-year-old went untouched for the entire weekend (which is made up of four races with the winner of the final race being declared the champion).
Qualifying saw Foresti edge out Cesario teammate and reigning Sudam F3 champ Fabiano Machado for pole position. Foresti converted that into a five second victory ahead of Machado in the first race, with the Cesario team’s third car of Pipo Derani, another British F3 contender, completing the podium.
Derani was the nearest man to Foresti in the second race, finishing 3.8 seconds behind the winner. Italian F3 driver Victor Guerin came home in third, having relegated Machado to fourth. Together, the results of the first two races determined the grid for the third, the pre-final.
This put Derani on the front row alongside Foresti, but he ended up retiring after the first lap. Venezuelan Robert La Rocca, who usually races in the United States, finished second, but 16 seconds behind Foresti. Formula Renault 3.5 driver Andre Negrao finished up on the podium.
In the all-decisive final race, only four of the 11 starters managed to make the finish of the 16 lap race. Foresti enjoyed a comfortable win, nine seconds ahead of Negrao. In third was Vinicius Alvarenga, the winner of the B class for older machinery.
Moving onto New Zealand, and the second round of the Toyota Racing Series at Timaru. Pre-season favourite Nick Cassidy got off the mark for the campaign with wins in the first and second races. In the first race he led home fellow Kiwi Damon Leitch, who had left the opening race weekend at Teretonga as the points leader after a consistent showing at an otherwise chaotic event. Josh Hill rounded out the podium ahead of Felix Serralles and Hannes van Asseldonk, who slumped after starting on pole.
Van Asseldonk had pole again for the second race, and after losing the lead at the start to Bruno Bonifacio and then regaining it, Cassidy fought his way through for another win. Serralles came through to second to claim his first podium in the series, a feat that was also acheived by third-placed Jordan King. Jono Lester was fourth, ahead of fellow home racer Leitch.
The third and final race saw Leitch convert his consistency into a race victory. Young Russian Dmitry Suranovich came through from seventh on the grid to finish a fine second, with Cassidy completing the podium. Lester was again fourth, with Ferrari protege Raffaele Marciello fifth. Cassidy’s double win gives him an 11 point lead over Leitch in the standings after two of six rounds. Serralles heads the international contingent in third, some 88 points behind Cassidy.
PaddockScout Driver of the Weekend: Lucas Foresti – Dominant performance from Foresti around Interlagos, up against some other handy drivers. Sets him up nicely for his switch to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series.