Nick Tandy has clinched an emotional first Cooper Tires British F3 International Series victory for the JTR team at Rockingham in the first event following the death of brother – and team principal – Joe Tandy in a road accident.
Following an emotional minutes silence, Tandy delivered the goods on track to become the first British winner this season and end a 16-race winning streak for the Dallara chassis as took the flag first in his Mygale.
An even bigger boost for Tandy was that the runaway championship leader, Australian Daniel Ricciardo, failed to score a single point.
After starting from the pole, the Carlin Motorsport man collided with Renger van der Zande's fast-starting Hitech car at the Deene hairpin on the opening lap as the points leader tried to regain the lead. Ricciardo's Dallara was too badly damaged to continue while van der Zande was forced to the pits for repairs to his rear wing.
"I couldn't believe my luck when I saw van der Zande and Ricciardo," said Tandy, who drove around the carnage, and Marcus Ericsson, to take the lead. "I didn't make a particularly good start, so to see Daniel riding over the back of Renger... my God, did I smile. So far as the championship is concerned it just doesn't get any better than this. To score 20 championship points when our main title rival scores zero, it's fantastic."
Tandy pulled clear of his closest pursuer, Swedish returnee Ericsson, by nearly a second-and-half on the opening lap and proceeded to build his advantage with every lap, taking the flag 8.6s clear. There was drama right on the line as Nick braked and swerved by his pit crew to acknowledge their cheers - he braked so hard it broke his suspension and a front wheel fell off, preventing him from completing a victory lap.
Ericsson had no hope of catching Tandy and took second on his return to the series, while Daisuke Nakajima moved into third at the start and held on for the final podium slot despite strong pressure throughout from his Raikkonen Robertson team-mate Carlos Huertas. It was the Japanese driver's maiden British F3 podium. Huertas's fourth place was also his best result of the season. Max Chilton came home fifth, the leading Volkswagen runner, with Riki Christodoulou's Fortec car completing the top six.
National Class honours went for the third time this season to Fortec's Daniel McKenzie; Brazilian T-Sport driver Gabriel Dias led the class for much of the race but collected a penalty for overtaking under the yellow warning flags. He recovered from his drive-through penalty to take second in class.