BF3

Magny-Cours: Series race one report

IT'S WEBB'S WIN AT MAGNY-COURS Oli Webb claimed a brilliant maiden Cooper Tires British Formula 3International Series win in this afternoon's (Sat) seventh round atMagny-Cours in France, the young British Fortec driver moving to withinone...

IT'S WEBB'S WIN AT MAGNY-COURS

Oli Webb claimed a brilliant maiden Cooper Tires British Formula 3International Series win in this afternoon's (Sat) seventh round atMagny-Cours in France, the young British Fortec driver moving to withinone point of the championship lead as a result.

Title race leader Jean-Eric Vergne had been expected to run away withthe race after a dominant qualifying performance for Carlin but botchedhis start and had to battle through the pack to claim fourth. Hitech duoGabriel Dias and Will Buller completed the podium, with Menasheh Idafarthe National class victor.

Webb lined up second on the grid and was perfectly placed to profit whenVergne bogged down as the lights flashed to go. Webb's Fortec team-mateDaniel McKenzie was less fortunate: his best-yet third on the grid meantstarting right behind Vergne, and he was delayed by the tardy Frenchman.

Thus it was Brazilian Dias, from P4 on the grid, who slotted into secondplace behind Webb, with Buller third. Vergne got away eventually, withonly five or so of the 21-strong grid behind him, but Jean-Eric drove astorming opening lap to complete it in seventh spot. He soon picked offthe cars of Hywel Lloyd and Carlos Huertas to move into fifth, but hispassing of team-mate Jazeman Jaafar for fourth, on lap seven, led tocontact which saw the Malaysian drop to seventh.

Webb's Mercedes-powered Dallara was in a class of its own at the head ofthe field. By the fourth lap the Knutsford driver was two seconds infront and leaving Dias well behind.

"I knew Jean-Eric hadn't stalled off the line, because he still had abit of momentum," said Oli. "But I got much the better start to take thelead. From that point on I knew I was quicker than anyone else. We knewthat even if Vergne got back behind me that we had the pace to beat him.I just concentrated on banging out quick lap times, then backed off andconcentrated on saving my tyres. It all went pretty much to plan, so I'mreally happy."

Dias was more than happy with second, 5.9s behind, and grateful to histeam-mate Buller for hanging on to third and keeping the determinedVergne at bay in the closing laps. "When Jean-Eric stalled he held upMcKenzie," said Gabriel, "so Webb and I had a free run. I tried to makea move on Oli on the first lap but it did not happen, and after that hewas much quicker than me."

Huertas made steady progress from eighth on the grid after adisappointing qualifying performance in his Raikkonen Robertson RacingDallara, and held off Pershore driver James Calado to secure fifth.James had started even further back - 11th - and had had to battle pastteam-mates Adriano Buzaid and Jaafar to climb the finishing order.Jaafar, Buzaid, RR's Daisuke Nakajima and Litespeed driver Jay Bridgercompleted the top 10.

London-based Idafar was another to throw away qualifying advantage witha poor start; he got away a long distance behind team-mate and classrival James Cole but found a way past the Liverpudlian with five laps togo to take his fourth National class victory of the season. Idafarplaced 11th overall with Cole just seven-tenths behind in 12th. McKenzierecovered from his first-lap baulking, and an opening-lap clash withanother car, to take 13th. Lloyd meanwhile spun from sixth three lapsfrom home and wound up 14th.

Next rounds: Magny-Cours, 23 May

-source: bf3 series

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