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James Calado has won the season-ending British Formula 3 race for Carlin in an encounter of mixed conditions at Brands Hatch. Behind, compatriot Will Buller finished his season second for Carlin as Champion Jean-Eric Vergne retired and Menasheh Idafar won the National Class title by amazingly finishing in a podium position.
Having already secured the championship runner-up spot earlier in the day, Calado was free to give his Racing Steps Foundation Dallara its head on his final drive in F3 and the Worcestershire driver duly gunned it off the line from second on the grid to nail the lead into Paddock Hill Bend.
A steady pre-race drizzle made the going treacherous but Calado drove a brilliant opening lap to lead Brands race one victor Oli Webb by three seconds.
James pulled clear with every lap but, by his 15th tour, decided that the conditions were sufficiently poor to require a pit stop for wet tyres. Will Buller, whose Hitech machine had slotted into second after champion Jean-Eric Vergne made an uncharacteristic mistake, slithering into the gravel at Druids, followed Calado into the pits.
This put Webb out in front for two laps until he too decided that caution was the best policy and pitted. Webb’s Fortec team-mate Daniel McKenzie then took over in front but not for long: Calado, now on the correct tyres for the conditions, went back in front on the 20th lap, pursued by Buller.
“I was very worried when I stopped,” said Calado, who earlier in the day learned that he will race next season in GP3 with Racing Steps.
“I wasn’t sure if it was the right decision and it was quite a last-minute thing. The guys did a great job in getting the wet tyres on and that enabled me to get back in front and stay ahead of Will, who was pushing really hard. It’s a very emotional win for me and it’s great to win the last race of the season.”
While Calado was shining in the gathering gloom out front, the real star performance of the late race came from Menasheh Idafar, the T-Sport National Class driver having pitted very early for wets.
"He broke into the top ten on Lap 16 and, while some ahead of him slithered off track or pitted, he made several bold overtaking moves to close in on the podium in the closing laps. The slick-shod cars of Carlos Huertas and McKenzie fell victim relatively easily three laps from the end and Idafar made it up to third.
“The tyres came to me as the conditions worsened,” said Menasheh, “and I was able to pick cars off one by one, while being careful because I had to finish the race.”
That was vital, for Idafar needed only to complete the race to win his season-long battle with his team-mate James Cole to claim the class championship title.
Another early stopper who profited from his decision was Sino Vision Racing’s Adderly Fong, who followed Idafar through the pack to secure his first championship points of the season in great style with fourth place.
Jay Bridger was a season-best fifth for Litespeed, with McKenzie slithering home sixth ahead of Felipe Nasr, Carlos Huertas, Adriano Buzaid and Webb.
- Full Race 3 results
Final 2010 British Formula 3 standings
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