20 September 2009
Chilton signs off with victory
Max Chilton brought his British F3 career to an impressive conclusion, leading the championship's final round from start to finish to claim the Carlin team's ninth victory of the season.
Chilton, who earlier clinched the Mirror.co.uk Challenge Cup as the championship's leading British driver and will now chase a drive in GP2, did not put a wheel wrong as he took advantage of a rare startline error from newly crowned champion Daniel Ricciardo to blast into an early lead.
Chilton survived a safety car period, brought about by a crash involving the car of Max Snegirev, nailed the restart and romped home to win from Riki Christodoulou by a one-second margin.
"That meant a lot for me," he said, "because my win in Portugal wasn't an outright victory and didn't make the headlines. This will, and that's a big relief. I loved every minute of it. It was a pretty standard F3 race around here: try to make places up at the start and, once I had done that, I knew it would be hard for anyone to pass me. The safety car was a bit of a worry but I managed to pull out a good lead after that as well."
Chilton was additionally awarded the Sunoco Driver of the Weekend award.
Marcus Ericsson also got by pole-sitter Ricciardo at the start and slotted into third, which position he held to the chequered flag, with the new champion recovering from his startline wobble to claim fourth.
"A bit disappointing," said Ricciardo. "The start was a problem. As soon as I released the clutch the wheels just started spinning and I think because there's a bit of a slope on the grid I couldn't really get out of it, so I went from first to fourth. But it's been a great year, a great weekend for the team and it's great to see Max get his win."
Henry Arundel finished fifth on the road but was later docked 20 seconds for a start infringement, which moved Walter Grubmuller up a place. The Austrian netted enough points from the weekend to displace his absent Hitech team-mate, Renger van der Zande, from the championship runner-up position.
Daisuke Nakajima claimed sixth ahead of Wayne Boyd, the Ulsterman beating his team-mate Adriano Buzaid to seventh, with Carlos Huertas in ninth ahead of Victor Garcia, National Class winner Gabriel Dias and the final point-scorer, Jay Bridger. Arundel ended up 14th.
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