2011 British F3 Rnd of Spa-Francorchamps (Rd 7, Race 3, July 30th)

Spa-Francorchamps © Creative Commons / Will Pittenger

Prema Powerteam’s Roberto Mehri powered to another British Formula 3 victory yesterday.

The Spaniard led all seventeen laps at Spa-Francorchamps in what mounted to a controlled demonstration run at the front of the field.

At times Mehri was lapping over one second quicker than the rest of the field, such was his dominance in greasy conditions.
Mehri was one of several F3 Euroseries drivers to join the British F3 field this weekend as part of the FIA F3 International Trophy.

One of those that also participated was with the Spaniard was Marcus Wittmann. The German took the runner up spot in the final F3 race of the weekend following a relatively quiet event.
Wittmann spent much of the race with a comfortable advantage over Marko Asmer and later Laurens Vanthoor; however a late race charge by Fortec’s Will Buller cam close to changing the face of the podium.

Come the flag, Wittmann had fallen 23.3 seconds behind Mehri, yet Buller – who had fought his way up from 6th on the first lap to 3rd on the tenth tour, clawed to within three seconds of his Euroseries rival.
Despite a rocky start, it had been quality drive by Buller. Moves passed Carlos Munoz (lap 2), Asmer (lap 6) and Vanthoor (lap 10) brought the Northern Ireland man up to final podium spot, but was out of reach of Wittmann by race finish.

Vanthoor may take a positive note from his eventual 4th place classification. The Belgian started 9th and was 5th by the end of the first tour. Passes on both Buller and Asmer took Vanthoor to as high as 3rd early on, before the resurgent Buller retook the position.
Despite starting 3rd, Asmer fell to 6th by the flag with even Raffaelle Marciello getting by the former British F3 Champion.

Felipe Nasr was the next British F3 runner to take the flag. After a blistering start from 20th, the Championship leader spent much of the race battling hard with and passing Carlin teammates Kevin Magnussen (lap 4), Carlos Huertas (lap 10) and Jack Harvey (lap 16).
Fortec’s Lucas Foresti also lost out in the melee as the group chasing 7th clung together for much of the running.
Magnussen eventually claimed 8th, with Huertas following in 9th position. Harvey rounded out the top ten – the rookie pilot headed the middle group for several laps, but lost a number of positions in the final pair of laps.

Foresti also dropped a number of places in the final laps, ending up 11th and pipping Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin) across the line by four-tenths.
A quite brilliant opening three laps helped Daniel Abt to 13th after starting 25th. The German led Rupert Svendsen-Cook (14th, Carlin), Scott Pye (15th, Double R) and Pietro Fantin (16th, Hitech) across the line.

Kotaro Sakurai finished the race to take another Rookie Class win. The Japanese driver fared far better than Daniel Juncadella (Prema Powerteam), Pipo Derani (Double R) and Hannes van Asseldonk (van Amersfoort) – all whom fell off the track and retired at various stages of the race.
Hitech’s Pietro Fantin was later thrown out of the race for hitting Carlos Munoz (Signature) , taking the Spaniard out of the race, while Hywel Lloyd (Sino Vision) slammed T-Sport’s Yann Cunha for spearing him through Fanges on the opening lap.

With only three race weekends remaining, it is now only a matter of time before Felipe Nasr secures the 2011 British F3 title; however focus now shifts to the runner-up spot – a prize that will hotly contested by six drivers.
It may only take a single weekend to change everything.

2011 British F3 Rnd of Spa-Francorchamps (Rd  7, Race 3)
Pos Driver Team Car Time/Gap
 1.  Roberto Merhi         Prema           Dallara-Merc    38m06.645s
 2.  Marco Wittmann        Signature       Dallara-VW       + 23.298s
 3.  Will Buller           Fortec          Dallara-Merc     + 25.355s
 4.  Laurens Vanthoor      Signature       Dallara-VW       + 27.203s
 5.  Raffaelle Marciello   Prema           Dallara-Merc     + 28.451s
 6.  Marko Asmer           Double R        Dallara-Merc     + 32.708s
 7.  Felipe Nasr           Carlin          Dallara-VW       + 34.110s
 8.  Kevin Magnussen       Carlin          Dallara-VW       + 35.399s
 9.  Carlos Huertas        Carlin          Dallara-VW       + 36.663s
10.  Jack Harvey           Carlin          Dallara-VW       + 38.405s
11.  Lucas Foresti         Fortec          Dallara-Merc     + 38.881s
12.  Jazeman Jaafar        Carlin          Dallara-VW       + 39.279s
13.  Daniel Abt            Signature       Dallara-VW       + 47.520s
14.  Rupert Svendsen-Cook  Carlin          Dallara-VW       + 50.638s
15.  Scott Pye             Double R        Dallara-Merc     + 53.164s
16.  Harry Tincknell       Fortec          Dallara-Merc   + 1m02.012s
17.  Bart Hylkema          T-Sport         Dallara-VW     + 1m11.807s
17.  Fahmi Ilyas           Fortec          Dallara-Merc   + 1m12.811s
19.  Menasheh Idafar       T-Sport         Dallara-VW     + 1m23.129s
20.  Yann Cunha            T-Sport         Dallara-VW     + 1m26.350s
21.  Kotaro Sakurai        Hitech          Dallara-Mugen  + 1m42.373s
22.  Adderly Fong          Sino Vision     Dallara-Merc       + 1 lap
DQ.  Pietro Fantin         Hitech          Dallara-VW       + 57.237s
     Carlos Munoz          Signature       Dallara-VW         10 laps
     Daniel Juncadella     Prema           Dallara-Merc        6 laps
     Pipo Derani           Double R        Dallara-Merc        5 laps
     Hannes van Asseldonk  Van Amersfoort  Dallara-VW           1 lap
     Hywel Lloyd           Sino Vision     Dallara-Merc        0 laps

2011 British F3 Rnd of Spa-Francorchamps (Rd7, Race 3)
Pos Driver Points
Championship Class
 1. Felipe Nasr            267
 2. William Buller         153
 3. Carlos Huertas         153
 4. Kevin Magnussen        144
 5. Lucas Foresti          140
 6. Jazeman Jaafar         134
 7. Rupert Svendsen-Cook   128
 8. Jack Harvey             74
 9. Harry Tincknell         66
10. Pietro Fantin           64
11. Riki Christodoulou      51
12. Antonio Felix da Costa  51
Rookie Class
 1. Kotaro Sakurai         267
 2. Bart Hylkema           214
FIA International Trophy
 1. Roberto Mehri          118
 2. Marco Wittmann          43
 3. Daniel Juncadella       39

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