LUCKY 13 FOR CHAMPION VERGNE AT SNETTERTON Newly crowned Cooper Tires British F3 Champion Jean-Eric Vergne turned in a champion's performance at Snetterton this afternoon (Sunday) to claim his 13th race win of the season for the Carlin team, ...
LUCKY 13 FOR CHAMPION VERGNE AT SNETTERTON
Newly crowned Cooper Tires British F3 Champion Jean-Eric Vergne turned in a champion's performance at Snetterton this afternoon (Sunday) to claim his 13th race win of the season for the Carlin team, depriving his team-mate Adriano Buzaid in tricky drying conditions.
Pole man Buzaid led all but the last four laps of the race, making the better getaway from the line and making the best of the streaming wet track conditions in the early part of the race to build a lead of nearly five seconds by the 10th lap.
Vergne's clutch nearly fried on the line and he was slow away, the Frenchman slipping to fourth on the opening lap behind Buzaid and Raikkonen Robertson men Felipe Nasr and Daisuke Nakajima. Then Jean-Eric survived a wild off-track moment at the Esses on lap two to move ahead of the Japanese driver, who also went off track briefly.
As the track dried Vergne's car came into its own and he was able to reel in Nasr, passing the Brazilian for second at Coram on the 16th lap. Buzaid was still ahead by 2.2 seconds at this stage but his lead was to be shortlived.
Jean-Eric made his move into Riches at the start of the 23rd lap, Buzaid forcing him to drive around the outside, wetter section of the corner and effectively gifting him the lead. A mistake by the Frenchman at Coram later that same lap gave Adriano an opportunity to try to regain top spot, but his move was repulsed.
Vergne, who went on to win by 3.6s, said: "I made a bad start because I burned my clutch and then I went off on the second lap. After that things started to get a bit better for me and the car was perfect as always. I had a good fight with Adriano; it was great fun."
Nasr was pleased with his third place - his fourth podium finish of the season - and fourth-placed Oli Webb was equally delighted with fourth spot, four places ahead of his rival for the championship runner-up spot, James Calado. Nakajima recovered from his early off to take fifth ahead of Gabriel Dias, whose number was pulled by Vergne on the podium to give the Brazilian pole for tomorrow's sprint race.
Will Buller drive a plucky race, pitting from seventh on lap 11 to give slick, dry-weather tyres a go. He regained the track dead last and fought back to seventh, the position from which he had started, by the end. His reward was the extra point for setting fastest lap.
James Cole was another to pit for slicks, the Merseysider reckoning that he had little chance of passing race-long National class leader Menasheh Idafar, who stayed out on wets, so the quicker rubber would at least guarantee him the point for fastest lap. So it proved and Cole retains his overall points lead over his T-Sport team-mate.