“Meanwhile, at the Weekend: Magnussen and Huertas triumph at Aragon; Mason and Stuvik take F3 Open wins; Consistency gives Morris F4 lead”
Formula Renault 3.5 (Rd 2, Motorland Aragon)
Kevin Magnussen took his first win of 2013 with a dominant display at Motorland Aragon on Saturday. The Dane surged away from pole, first ahead of Arthur Pic and then later Will Stevens, to claim a 19-second victory.
As Magnussen ran into the distance, Stevens closed in on Pic, passing the Frenchman on the final tour. Having started 2nd, Sergey Sirotkin lost out to Pic on the opening lap, before falling behind Stevens; however the Russian hang on to claim 4th ahead of Norman Nato. Nigel Melker ended the race in 6th, some way clear of the battling Christopher Zanella (7th) and Stoffel Vandoorne (8th).
Carlos Huertas won a shortened second race on Sunday. In dreadful weather conditions, the Colombian took the lead on the fourth lap when poleman Nato went off, following a safety car start. Huertas made a gap of 11.9s at the flag, with Sirotkin and Vandoorne a very distant 2nd and 3rd, although the gap was aided somewhat by a lengthy battle between the pair. Stevens took a credible 4th ahead of Nico Müller, while Melker came away with another 6th place finish. Antonio Felix da Costa salvaged some points from a tough weekend with 7th, just two seconds up the road from Andre Negrao and Magnussen.
Sunday’s event was truncated due to a widespread engine problem detected by Renault on Saturday evening. It is hope this will be rectified by the third round at Monaco.
European F3 Open (Rd 1, Paul Ricard)
Nelson Mason opened his Euro F3 Open season with a victory at a damp and horrible Paul Ricard. The Canadian was well clear early on due to a chaotic first lap, with Hector Hurst following in his mirrors. Mason kept his head and pulled a three-second gap to Hurst by the chequered flag, who had in turn garnered a five second gap over Roberto La Rocca. Sandy Stuvik battled by Santiago Urrutia to grab 4th, only for the latter to fall off late on promoting Alexey Chuklin to 5th and Alexander Toril to 6th.
Cameron Twynham took the Copa Class victory ahead of Che One Lim and Liam Venter.
Stuvik accepted a narrow victory over Yarin Stern to claim full honours in Sunday’s race, helped somewhat by poleman Mason clashing with Urrutia early on. A move on La Rocca brought the Thai racer to the front, followed by Spencer Pigot. As the race aged Pigot dropped behind Stern, Vicki Piria and Toril, leaving Stern to challenge for the lead without success. Piria held on for 3rd, only to later be penalised five seconds, demoting her to 4th behind Toril. Pigot eventually claimed 5th, just one second ahead of Denis Nagulin.
Venter won the Copa Class, just six-tenths up on Nicholas Pohler.
BRDC Formula 4 (Rd 1, Silverstone)
Seb Morris left with the lead of the inaugural BRDC Formula 4 championship on Sunday, thanks to a consistent run during which he bagged two 2nds and a 3rd. Matt Bell, Jack Barlow and Jake Dalton each took one win apiece.
Bell claimed the opener just ahead of Jake Hughes and Morris. After taking an early lead from Hughes, Dalton was pressurised from behind with Hughes making contact in Luffield, allowing Bell to slip through. From there, Bell led with ease, while Hughes slotted into 2nd place; however the bumped Dalton dropped to 4th behind Morris. Charlie Robertson secured 5th ahead of Jack Barlow and Struan Moore, all of whom were covered by less than one second.
Barlow took the honours in the reverse-grid race on Sunday, coming home ahead of Morris and Dalton in a tight battle. After shooting into the lead, Barlow lost out to the quick starting Morris on lap 3, only to retake the top spot on the penultimate lap. Dalton, meanwhile, shadowed the leading pair, staying within two seconds for the duration; not close enough to break through. Bell claimed a comfortable 4th ahead of Hughes, while Matthew Graham narrowly pipped Robertson to 6th spot.
Dalton finally won in the final race of the weekend and did it in style. On fresh tyres, the 17-year-old made a blistering start to lead from Morris and was never challenged thereafter, eventually winning by 3.1 seconds. Graham and Robertson finished a very distant 3rd and 4th respectively, after a lengthy battle with Bell (5th) and Barlow (6th) fell in their favour.