A dominant performance by Roberto Mehri was more than enough to give the Spaniard victory in the weekend’s opening British Formula 3 race.
The Prema Powerteam driver launched off the pole spot and into an immediate lead, eventually building a 12 second gap over 2nd place man William Buller (Fortec).
Mehri saw little of what occurred behind him throughout the thirteen laps, such was his dominance at the famed track.
The Spaniard joined British F3 this weekend to compete in the FIA Formula 3 International Trophy. Mehri’s victory extends his lead in the International Trophy considerably ahead of Daniel Juncadella and Daniel Abt.
It also gave Buller his second British F3 class win of the season, lifting the Fortec pilot up the points standings.
Buller, too, enjoyed a great start. The Northern Ireland shot off his 3rd on the grid spot, pipping teammate Lucas Foresti at La Source. Foresti, determined to keep pace with Buller, banged wheels with Signature’s Marco Wittmann, spinning the unfortunate German and damaging Foresti.
Wittmann fell down the order, recovering to 11th for his troubles. Foresti, meanwhile, lost two places, before progressively falling to 13th come the race finish.
Unlike Mehri, Buller was unable to shake off rearward competition. The Fortec pilot fell under the gaze of Jazeman Jaafar, who pressed his British F3 rival to the flag, separated by only six-tenths as the pair finished.
It was a thoroughly deserved result for Jaafar. The Malaysian started 9th, but a good start twinned with the first corner clash was enough to bring the Carlin man to the forefront.
Another Euroseries invitee, Carlos Munoz, assumed 4th just one second shy of Jaafar, while Jack Harvey claimed 5th place, six-tenths shy of Munoz. Both took an ailing Foresti on the opening lap, before commencing their own battle.
Carlin teammates Rupert Svendsen-Cook and Kevin Magnussen battled throughout. Magnussen initially led the pairing, until Svendsen-Cook forced his way through on the seventh lap to garner 6th place ahead of the Dane.
Magnussen refused to give the position lightly, trailing Svendsen-Cook rear wing to the bitter end.
Daniel Juncadella registered an 8th place finish, despite his Prema Powerteam car filling momentarily with fire retardant during the race. Felipe Nasr climbed his way to 9th after starting on the eighth row of the grid. The Brazilian came home three seconds shy of Juncadella, but five ahead of Carlos Huertas.
Kotaro Sakurai took an unchallenged victory in the Rookie Class.
Bart Hylkema (T-Sport) and Raffaelle Marciello (Prema Powerteam) were early retirements, but neither were quite as dramatic as Marko Asmer’s early crash.
The Double R guest pilot smashed his Dallara chassis in the Bus Stop chicane, taking him clean out of the event. Menasheh Idafar withdrew on the ninth tour.
2011 British F3 Rd of Spa-Francorchamps (Rd 7, Race 1) Pos Driver Team Car Time/Gap 1. Roberto Merhi Prema Dallara-Merc 29m18.572s 2. William Buller Fortec Dallara-Merc + 12.846s 3. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin Dallara-VW + 13.486s 4. Carlos Munoz Signature Dallara-VW + 14.410s 5. Jack Harvey Carlin Dallara-VW + 15.005s 6. Rupert Svendsen-Cook Carlin Dallara-VW + 16.378s 7. Kevin Magnussen Carlin Dallara-VW + 16.912s 8. Daniel Juncadella Prema Dallara-Merc + 22.360s 9. Felipe Nasr Carlin Dallara-VW + 25.511s 10. Carlos Huertas Carlin Dallara-VW + 30.999s 11. Marco Wittmann Signature Dallara-VW + 32.627s 12. Hannes van Asseldonk Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW + 32.982s 13. Lucas Foresti Fortec Dallara-Merc + 34.351s 14. Daniel Abt Signature Dallara-VW + 35.452s 15. Hywel Lloyd Sino Vision Dallara-Merc + 36.017s 16. Scott Pye Double R Dallara-Merc + 37.502s 17. Laurens Vanthoor Signature Dallara-VW + 38.518s 18. Pipo Derani Double R Dallara-Merc + 43.275s 19. Pietro Fantin Hitech Dallara-VW + 45.137s 20. Fahmi Ilyas Fortec Dallara-Merc + 53.692s 21. Adderly Fong Sino Vision Dallara-Merc + 56.479s 22. Harry Tincknell Fortec Dallara-Merc + 56.646s 23. Yann Cunha T-Sport Dallara-VW + 59.179s 24. Kotaro Sakurai Hitech Dallara-Mugen + 1m16.779s Retirements: Menasheh Idafar T-Sport Dallara-VW 8 laps Marko Asmer Double R Dallara-Merc 3 laps Raffaelle Marciello Prema Dallara-Merc 2 laps Bart Hylkema T-Sport Dallara-VW 0 laps 2011 British F3 Rd of Spa-Francorchamps (Rd 7, Race 1) Pos Driver Points Championship Class 1. Felipe Nasr 243 2. Carlos Huertas 137 3. Lucas Foresti 130 4. Jazeman Jaafar 130 5. William Buller 126 6. Kevin Magnussen 122 Rookie Class 1. Kotaro Sakurai 234 2. Bart Hylkema 214 FIA International Trophy 1. Roberto Mehri 93 2. Daniel Juncadella 47 3. Daniel Abt 38