Renger van der Zande enjoyed a dream debut in the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series with victory in the opening race of the weekend at Silverstone.

The Dutch driver had only been confirmed in the Hitech line-up on the eve of the meeting and led from start to finish to give the former champions a first win since its 2007 title winning campaign.

The victory also marked the first win of the year for engine supplier Mercedes, with Carlin having taken both wins for Carlin at Oulton Park during the opening weekend of the campaign.

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"I only did 29 laps of free practice," he said, "but I managed to set a good time in qualifying. The car was very good, the team did a great job, and that helped me a lot. It was decided at the start really; I made a good start and drove away. But the race wasn't easy because of the wind, which blew me off the track one time. After that I took things a little easier. I think this is a good entry to the championship and I'm happy with it. I'm not sure about the rest of year yet, for sure I would like to come back and do more races."

Van der Zande came home ahead of poleman Max Chilton, who slotted into second place off the start and was always right behind his rival as the race progressed; the teenager admitting he was happy to settle for second rather than risk making a mistake.

"I got a good start," he said, "as good as everyone around me apart from Renger. He absolutely launched it and gave me no chance of blocking him from getting past. During the race I wasn't taking any risks because of the wind out there. You didn't know what it was going to do next..."

Adriano Buzaid slotted into third place for T-Sport to secure his maiden F3 podium ahead of Riki Christodoulou, while Daniel Ricciardo was fifth after battling his way through the field from eleventh place after an off in qualifying. Daisuke Nakajima completed the top six for Double R.

In the National Class, Fortec's Daniel McKenzie outgunned T-Sport driver Gabriel Dias at the start to lead the division for a couple of laps until handling problems prevented him from holding off the challenge of the Brazilian.

"Daniel got past me through the first corner but I managed to get him back," Dias said. "The race was difficult but races will always be so; it was a good result."