Oliver Turvey continued his strong challenge for the British F3 International Series title after a race long battle with Red Bull Junior driver Brendon Hartley in the opening race of the weekend a Silverstone.
The New Zealander got the better start off the line to overtake pole-sitter Turvey into the first corner but the Englishman pressurised his team-mate into a mistake on lap 22 to retake the lead and claim his third win of 2008. Marcus Ericsson took his first podium finish since Thruxton in a distant third place while Stefan Wilson won the National Class with a lights to flag victory ahead of Jay Bridger and Hywel Lloyd.
From second on the grid Hartley got the best start as Turvey suffered from a high clutch point which slightly delayed his departure. At Copse it was Hartley from Turvey from Ericsson while behind the top three, Sergio Perez leapt ahead of Jaime Alguersuari, with both drivers getting ahead of John Martin, dropping the Australian down to sixth. Further back Nick Tandy moved up a place at the expense of Max Chilton, Henry Arundel moved up a place ahead of Philip Major and Alistair Jackson moved ahead of Major, Oliver Oakes and Walter Grubmuller by the end of the opening lap.
Oliver Oakes and Clemente de Faria Junior clashed at Abbey on lap two, spinning Oakes around but he was soon on his way. Two laps later Jonathan Legris was the first casualty of the race as his car was off at Brooklands, with waved yellows allowing the marshals to snatch the Litespeed F3 car out of harms way.
Hartley and Turvey started to open up a gap to Ericsson, who in turn was pulling away from Perez and Alguersuari but try as Turvey might, Hartley wasn't giving the English driver any chance to overtake despite having the faster car. There was little movement throughout the field but when the opportunity did arise for overtaking drivers made their move. Atte Mustonen and Nick Tandy were fighting for seventh place with the Finn getting ahead on lap twelve. Further back, Walter Grubmuller pulled ahead of Alistair Jackson for 13th and Jackson's team-mate Michael Devaney successfully passed the Dallara of Henry Arundel.
In the National Class, Stefan Wilson was holding on to a slim lead, fending off the challenge of his Fluid Motorsport team-mate Jay Bridger. There was less than a second separating the two cars but after Bridger made an abortive attempt he fell back and was overtaken by the Fortec Dallara of Philip Major effectively ending any further challenge from Bridger on the National Class lead.
However at the front the status quo remained with Turvey dogging Hartley at every turn and by lap 18 the gap was less than four tenths. The Tandy / Mustonen battle came to a head as the two cars collided at Abbey losing both drivers two places but also putting Tandy back in front of his rival as the race entered the final few laps.
Turvey was right on the rear wing of Hartley's Red Bull Dallara as they crossed the finish line to start the 22nd lap. As the pair exited Copse Hartley made a mistake, running wide on the exit, allowing Turvey to get alongside the leader in Maggotts and sweeping into the lead of the race. Once he was ahead, Turvey sped away, crossing the line 1.3 seconds ahead and pulling away from the New Zealander.
At the flag Turvey punched the air in delight as he headed a Carlin 1-2, with Ericsson a distant third. Sergio Perez was fourth just in front of title rival Jaime Alguersuari, returning the championship lead to the Mexican by just one point. However Oliver Turvey had closed the gap to one point to Alguersuari so the top three drivers were separated by just two points after seventeen races, with Brendon Hartley a further 14 points behind.