Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
Magnussen flies in the dry, Merhi in the wet at Spa
The Belgian Grand Prix circuit of Spa-Francorchamps more than lived up to its reputation for changeable weather conditions today as the competitors in the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series and the FIA Formula 3 International Trophy made their final preparations for the weekend’s trio of races.
The morning free practice session was conducted on a drying track but this afternoon torrential rain made the 4.3-mile circuit an altogether more challenging and tricky prospect.
Undeterred by his disappointments at the recent Nürburgring and Paul Ricard rounds, Denmark’s Kevin Magnussen bounced back in the dry this morning to set a best time of 2m 14.299s, better than a tenth inside last year’s pole position time. Kevin’s Carlin/Volkswagen team-mate, championship leader Felipe Nasr, was second fastest, adrift by 0.6s.
The leading Invitation class and FIA Formula 3 International Trophy challenger was Mercedes-powered Prema Powerteam runner Robert Merhi, third overall and just seven-thousandths behind Nasr. Spa F3 first-timer Jack Harvey was an excellent fourth overall in the Racing Steps Foundation Carlin-Dallara.
Rupert Svendsen-Cook emerged unscathed from an early-session spin at Fagnes to go eighth quickest. Prema’s Daniel Juncadella was less fortunate, the Spaniard hitting the tyre wall at Les Combes with sufficient force to necessitate a halt to the session while his car was retrieved.
The afternoon downpour favoured the brave and those with extensive track knowledge. Spain’s Mehri set the best time in the wet: 2m 40.491s, which was a second-and-a-half clear of his closest challenger, the Signature team’s Belgian pilot Laurens Vanthoor. Dutch driver Hannes van Asseldonk was third fastest for Van Amersfoort Racing, with Magnussen the best placed of the British F3 runners in fourth, just ahead of plucky Sino Vision racing man Adderly Fong.
The session was ended a few minutes early by a red flag after Jazeman Jaafar went off at Fagnes. The Malaysian Carlin driver hurt a leg in the impact and was taken to hospital for precautionary checks.
British Formula 3 enjoys the headlining support of Cooper Tires and is additionally backed by Sunoco Racing Fuels, Anglo American Oil Company and OAMPS.
by: British F3 Series