Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography
It’s the experienced Jaafar versus the rookie Serralles and the home hope Harvey. Any one of these three could add their name to a prestigious list of champions at Donington Park this weekend…
This year’s British F3 title fight has been an up-and-down affair, and the championship’s competitiveness at the sharp end has been demonstrated with the top three separated by just six points coming into the season finale at Donington Park this weekend.
Second-year driver and Racing Steps-benefactor Jack Harvey began the year as the man to beat, but Red Bull’s rookie Carlos Sainz Jr soon took control of top spot. That wouldn’t last though, and as the Spaniard lost his way it was third-year Petronas-backed man Jazeman Jaafar who used his experience to stay cool and move into the championship lead. Puerto Rico’s Felix Serralles had been something of a revelation in his debut season and a run of top results as the campaign moved into the second half saw him wrestle control. Harvey then found form again to snatch it back, but a dreadful weekend at Silverstone saw him lose significant ground and Jaafar move back into pole position going to Donington.
Harvey’s hopes had looked slim, but his Carlin team won an appeal against a 30 second penalty in the second Silverstone race, where he had originally finished second, and that brought him right back into contention. Aiming to become the category’s first home-grown champion since 2006, the pressure is certainly on for Harvey as he looks to take his first single-seater crown having had the Formula BMW Europe title stolen from him by Robin Frijns in 2010.
Jaafar probably hasn’t been the fastest driver this season but he has shown some amazing consistency, rarely finishing outside of the top six. He’s also managed to stay out of trouble, and that could be key for the Malaysian’s hopes this weekend.
Nobody had Serralles down as a title contender when he graduated from Formula Renault, but he has emerged to lead Fortec’s charge. Whatever happens this weekend he can count his season as a success, but he has a real chance of nicking the title. He’s just three points behind Jaafar and three ahead of Harvey.
After some testing on Thursday, qualifying takes place at 12:20 BST on Saturday ahead of Race 1 at 16:40. Races 2 and 3 are at 11:10 and 17:00 respectively on Sunday. All three races will be shown on Motors TV on Sunday, while you can keep up to date with the latest by following us on Twitter @PaddockScout.
Also at Donington this weekend is the Formula Ford GB championship, where category veteran Antti Buri should wrap up the title. Rookie Eric Lichtenstein – who will step up to GP3 next year with Carlin – remains in with a slim mathematical chance of claiming the crown and is on a seven-race winning streak.