Vergne wins Magny-Cours Sprint race

Vergne wins Magny-Cours Sprint race

At Magny-Cours this morning Jean-Eric Vergne (Carlin) won the sprint race after Gabriel Dias (Hitech Racing), who led from start to finish, was penalised a minute for a jump start. 2nd after the race had to be restarted, was Oliver Webb (Fortec ...

At Magny-Cours this morning Jean-Eric Vergne (Carlin) won the sprint race after Gabriel Dias (Hitech Racing), who led from start to finish, was penalised a minute for a jump start. 2nd after the race had to be restarted, was Oliver Webb (Fortec Motorsport), from Jazeman Jaafar (Carlin). The National Class was won by James Cole (T-Sport) from Menasheh Idafar (T-Sport).

Jean-Eric Vergne.
Photo by Daniel James Smith.

The race got off to a good start for most of the front runners this time, with Jaafar holding the lead from James Calado (Carlin), but Carlos Huertas (R?ikk?nen Robertson Racing) lost out big time and went off before the lap was over. The main beneficiary was Dias, who leapfrogged past Vergne for 3rd, leaving the Frenchman looking for revenge Alex Brundle (T- Sport), meanwhile, was forced to make a pit stop for repairs after getting caught up in some back of the pack chaos.

With Idafar leading the National Class from Cole, the race was just settling down when Calado made an attempt to wrest the lead from Jaafar at the Adelaide Hairpin where it all went horribly wrong. Calado's car went over the rear of Jaafar's Dallara and flipped, landing upside down in the gravel trap. With Calado trapped in the cockpit the only possible response was an immediate red-flag stoppage. The order as they all trailed back to the pits was Jaafar, from Dias, Vergne, William Buller (Hitech Racing), Webb, Daisuke Nakajima (R?ikk?nen Robertson Racing), Adriano Buzaid (Carlin), Hywel Lloyd (C F Racing with Manor Motorsport), Jay Bridger (Litespeed F3), Daniel McKenzie (Fortec Motorsport) and Cole, who had snatched the class lead from Idafar. Idafar was 11th ahead of Felipe Nasr (R?ikk?nen Robertson Racing), Rupert Svendsen- Cook (Carlin), Max Snegirev (Fortec Motorsport), Lucas Foresti (Carlin), Rio Haryanto (C F Racing with Manor Motorsport), Adderly Fong (Sino Vision Racing) and Brundle, who was a lap down.

It didn't take long for Calado to be extracted and the officials then announced that the race would restart over ten minutes and the grid would line up in its original order (minus Calado and Huertas of course). So the sprint had become a dash.

At the start Dias made a blinding getaway and was leading from Jaafar and Vergne by the end of lap one. Meanwhile, National Class pole man Idafar was in trouble after clashing with one of the International Class boys and had required a pit stop for a new tyre. That in effect handed the win to Cole before the race was even a lap old; with his team mate now a lap down all Cole needed to do was stay calm and stay put. Unlike Vergne, who now had the sniff of a chance at 2nd and took it, blasting past Jaafar and setting off to hunt down Dias. With the Brazilian now under investigation for a jump start it looked as if things were going Vergne's way this time.

Meanwhile, Jaafar had settled into 3rd and was busy trying to hold off Webb. Behind Webb, was Nakajima, with Buller trying to find a way past the Japanese, while Lloyd was hanging onto his top ten place far better than he managed yesterday. He was again being tailed by McKenzie, but behind the Englishman it was all very ominous. Nasr was right up there despite starting at the back, and Foresti had also broken into the top ten, and neither of them looked as if that was going to be enough for them. McKenzie was going to need to have his wits about him if he didn't want to lose out again. It didn't Nasr long to find his way past, and just to rub it in Foresti repeated the move a lap later, in no way improving McKenzie's weekend and dropping him to 9th, just ahead of Bridger.

At the front Vergne was still on the hunt, still pushing very hard for an opportunity to snatch victory from Dias. With a lap to go that chance came at the Hairpin and Vergne was alongside. Dias fought back and Vergne finally got ahead only by cutting a corner. With the decision on the jump start still pending for Dias, Vergne's pit crew advised him to drop back and let Dias through rather than risk a penalty himself. He duly did as he was told and crossed the finish line second on the road, being promoted to victory after Dias was given a one-minute penalty that dropped him all the way to last. Vergne wasn't the only one to find an overtaking spot; on the final lap Webb found a way past Jaafar for 3rd (which would thus become 2nd) and Buller finally got the drop on Nakajima for 4th.

And so Vergne has further consolidated his lead of the series, with a hard-fought for win, over Webb, Jaafar, Buller, Nakajima, Lloyd, Nasr, Foresti, McKenzie and Bridger. 11th was Svendsen-Cook, another to come up from the rear of the pack, ahead of Buzaid, Brundle, National Class winner Cole, Haryanto, Snegirev, Fong and Idafar, a lap adrift by the end.

Fastest laps went to Webb and Cole.

Weather: Hot, sunny.

See also: Webb claims the first win at Magny-Cours

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About this article
Series BF3
Drivers James Smith , Daniel McKenzie , Jazeman Jaafar , Carlos Huertas , Jay Bridger , Gabriel Dias , Adderly Fong , Adriano Buzaid , Daisuke Nakajima , Max Snegirev , Alex Brundle , Felipe Nasr , Jean-Eric Vergne , Lucas Foresti , James Cole , James Calado , Menasheh Idafar , Hywel Lloyd , Oliver Webb
Teams Manor Racing , Carlin