VERGNE IS CHAMPION WITH WIN NUMBER 12 Jean-Eric Vergne crowned himself the 2010 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series Champion at Silverstone this afternoon in the best possible style - with a flamboyant 12th race victory of the season.
VERGNE IS CHAMPION WITH WIN NUMBER 12
Jean-Eric Vergne crowned himself the 2010 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series Champion at Silverstone this afternoon in the best possible style - with a flamboyant 12th race victory of the season. He is the first French champion of British F3 and the third in successive years from the Carlin team.
Vergne led the third Silverstone race, round 24 of the 30-round season, from pole position to chequered flag and, though a minor technical glitch prevented him from romping away from his pursuers, the 20-year-old kept his head and claimed the win, his first at Silverstone.
"I had a small problem," he said. "The engine cover came open and I lost a little time on the straight, but it didn't matter much." Indeed it didn't, Vergne was 1.2s ahead of his team-mate Adriano Buzaid at the chequered flag.
Vergne's name is to be inscribed underneath those of some of the greats of international motorsport on the list of British F3 Champions, names such as Ayrton Senna, Nelson Piquet, Mika Hakkinen, Rubens Barrichello and Jackie Stewart.
It's Senna's name that Vergne says he respects the most, and that which he is most humbled to be ranked alongside: "I don't know what to say. It's an absolutely special feeling and it will take time to sink in. It's amazing to be the first French winner of the championship. I'm just really happy and I think I don't really realise how much just at the moment. In a few days I will know!"
Jean-Eric has clinched the title with six races to run, and can enjoy the late August Snetterton meeting and September's Brands Hatch event unfettered by the need to worry about championship points.
Vergne's dozenth victory saw him make an impeccable getaway from the pole to establish a healthy early lead over Buzaid, with Fortec's Oli Webb slotting into third ahead of Calado when the Racing Steps Foundation man spun his wheels a little too vigorously away from the line.
A two-lap safety car period, brought about by a collision between Max Snegirev and Carlos Huertas, interrupted Vergne's flow but his restart was impeccable and he broke the lap record on the lap after the restart to pull 1.2s clear of Buzaid. The Brazilian fought to stay in touch, but "I knew that Jean-Eric would not make a mistake." said Adriano. Buzaid was voted the Sunoco Driver of the Weekend for his efforts.
There were few changes in the top 10 during the course of the 40 minutes, Calado unable to get back on terms with Webb and having to settle for fourth behind his rival for the championship runner-up position. The top four finished well clear of the rest, headed by fifth-placed Lucas Foresti.
Rupert Svendsen-Cook took sixth to make it five Carlin cars in the top half dozen, with Gabriel Dias seventh and Alex Brundle eighth, the Norfolk lad resisting strong late-race pressure from Will Buller. Daniel McKenzie completed the top 10.
The third different National class winner of the weekend was Menasheh Idafar, whose T-Sport machine led the class throughout ahead of James Cole's sister car. Juan Carlos Sistos was third in class for Motul Team West-Tec.