By: Lynne Waite and Stella-Maria Thomas, F3 Correspondents
- Magnussen romps to victory at Spa
- Juncadella takes 1st in Invitation Calss
- Clash takes Asmer out again
- Nasr continues to edge ahead
Kevin Magnussen was the victor in the Sprint Race at Spa, besting the FIA F3 Invitation Class drivers!
At Spa-Francorchamps this afternoon luck finally smiled on Kevin Magnussen (Carlin) after being cruelly robbed of wins at the last two meetings of the season. He led from start to finish, while behind him Rupert Svendsen-Cook (Carlin) kept the pursuing Invitation Class chasers (led by Prema Powerteam’s Daniel Juncadella) at bay to enable his team-mate to cruise to a relatively comfortable victory. 3rd in the British series classification (though 8th on the track) was Felipe Nasr (Carlin), the current championship leader wisely opting not to take any foolhardy risks to pass people whose position would make no difference to him one way or the other. Hannes van Asseldonk (Van Amersfoort Racing) was 2nd in the Invitation Class ahead of Marco Wittmann (Signature). The Rookie Class again went to Kotaro Sakurai (Hitech Racing) on the grounds that there is no one else now.
At the start Magnussen made no mistake and powered into the lead, while Svendsen-Cook was having a little more trouble as he endeavoured to hold off Juncadella. The Spaniard got ahead but a lap later Rupert was back ahead and in control, and that was how he stayed for the remainder of the 20 minute race. Elsewhere Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin) and Roberto Merhi (Prema Powerteam) clashed, and Jack Harvey (Carlin) managed to avoid the pair but lost a lot of ground as a result. All three were able to continue, but Jaafar’s hopes were completely wrecked by the incident. Just for good measure, Harry Tincknell (Fortec Motorsport), starting from a long way back, got entangled with team-mate Fahmi Ilyas at the Bus Stop. Ilyas was out on the spot and Tincknell may as well have been. His day really could not have got any worse.
And while all that was happening, Magnussen was keeping his distance from the pack and continuing to lead, while behind him Nasr was on the move – or at least as much on the move as was Jaafar as he tried to make up for his earlier misdemeanour and carved his way back up the order as far as possible. The trouble with a 20 minute race is that you really don’t get much time to sort out any loss of ground before the chequered flag is out. It didn’t help the Malaysian any when he came up against the Sino Vision Racing pairing of Adderly Fong and Hywel Lloyd who were running in close formation with Menasheh Idafar (T-Sport). It had the look of something that was going to lead to tears before bedtime. Sure enough, it did. The addition of Yann Cunha (T-Sport) to the mix saw them going side-by-side repeatedly but eventually Jaafar got the better of them and chased Merhi home for 15th, while Idafar pulled into the pits and retired from the race. Elsewhere Marko Asmer’s luck was still running against him too, as the Estonian went missing on lap 4 and was never seen again. He might well be wondering just what the point of his stint with Double R Racing was. A clash, possibly with Pietro Fantin (Hitch Racing), meant he had nothing to show for his efforts so far. Certainly he seemed to have a target painted on the back of his helmet judging by what had happened during the course of today.
Another man who may have a target somewhere on him is Bart Hylkema (T-Sport), the Dutch/Swedish driver having thought that joining the International Class would save him from being constantly mugged by Sakurai. It hasn’t so far worked – he either seems to get punted out by another International Class runner or – as happened today – Sakurai somehow ends up running right with him. They were joined to Pipo Derani (Double R Racing) just to make life more interesting for all concerned, and a battle that lasted the last few laps of the race was the result, Derani emerging in front at the flag.
Meanwhile, at the end of an only mildly exciting race, Magnussen snagged victory by a large margin from Svendsen-Cook, Juncadella, van Asseldonk, Wittmann, Carlos Munoz (Signature), Laurens Vanthoor (Signature), Nasr, Daniel Abt (Signature) and William Buller (Fortec Motorsport). 11th was Carlos Huertas (Carlin), who lost out to Buller on the last lap, from Harvey, Lucas Foresti (Fortec Motorsport), Fantin, Merhi, Jaafar, Scott Pye (Double R Racing), Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam), Lloyd and Cunha. Fong made it home in 21st, ahead of Derani, Hylkema and Sakurai.
Fastest race laps went to van Asseldonk, Svendsen-Cook and Sakurai.