Jean-Eric Vergne extends point lead at Rockingham Jean-Eric Vergne extended his overall Cooper Tires British F3 International Series points lead this afternoon (Saturday) at Rockingham, where he won his sixth race of the season at the wheel of the Red Bull-backed Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen. The fast Frenchman nicked the lead on the opening lap after passing the slow-starting car of pole man Oli Webb and diving inside the car of Carlos Huertas into the Deene hairpin.
Though Colombian Carlos gave strong chase throughout and closed on to Vergne’s tail in the closing laps, Jean-Eric was 0.28s clear at the checkered flag. Vergne was delighted and perhaps slightly surprised to pinch another win after a frustrating qualifying session left him third on the grid. But his start was sublime and the maneuver which deprived Raikkonen Robertson driver Huertas of the lead was the mark of a champion. Said Jean-Eric: “I wanted to win, of course - this is always the target. I had a really good start, one of my best I guess, and then I pushed really hard in the opening laps.” He built an early lead of 1.6 seconds over Huertas, but Carlos quickly recovered his composure to give chase and to narrow the Frenchman’s lead to a couple of tenths. His big chance came four laps from the end when he challenged Vergne on the outside into Deene and then again on the inside at the next turn, Yentwood. But Jean-Eric had it covered and Carlos was repulsed.
“I should have won that race,” said Huertas. “I defended at Deene but it was a bit wet so I left him perhaps a little more room and he took it. I lost it at the beginning.”
After his poor getaway Webb held third but was unable to get on terms with the front runners. Instead he had to concentrate on keeping James Calado at bay. “I got a poor start, which is unlike me, and that was that really.” said Oli. Calado was half a second behind Webb in the Racing Steps car for fourth.
Northants-based Hi tech pilot Will Buller held off his team-mate Gabriel Dias to the flag to claim fifth, with Felipe Nasr seventh after losing ground early in the race. Daniel McKenzie, Adriano Buzaid and Daisuke Nakajima completed the top 10, with the latter driver being gifted pole position for the next race thanks to victor Vergne picking the number 10 in the podium grid draw.
Championship newcomer Pietro Fantin accomplished himself well in his maiden British F3 race, the 16-year-old placing 17th for Hitech Racing despite an early-race collision with a rival.
Menasheh Idafar took the lead of the National class at the start and held on in front of his T-Sport team-mate James Cole all the way to the line to narrow Cole’s overall points lead to just two points. Tomorrow the British F3 challengers face a different test with the addition, for the first time, of pit stops to the morning 20-minute sprint race. The Rockingham weekend’s concluding race will take place over 40 minutes on Sunday afternoon. British F3 is sponsored by US tire manufacturer Cooper Tire and is further supported by Sunoco Racing Fuels, Anglo American Oil Company and Mirror.co.uk
Cooper Tires British F3 International Series Round 13 Rockingham 24 laps = 46.56 miles Provisional results International Class 1 Jean-Eric VERGNE / FRA, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen 29m 38.641s / 94.23mph 2 Carlos HUERTAS / COL, RR Dallara-Mercedes +0.282s 3 Oli WEBB / GBR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +4.600s 4 James CALADO / GBR, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +5.241s 5 William BULLER / GBR, Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +20.595s 6 Gabriel DIAS / BRA, Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +21.197s 7 Felipe NASR / BRA, RR Dallara-Mercedes +21.728s 8 Daniel McKENZIE / GBR, Fortec Dallara-Mercedes +22.380s 9 Adriano BUZAID / BRA, Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen +23.116s 10 Daisuke NAKAJIMA / JPN, RR Dallara-Mercedes +24.966s etc Fastest lap: Vergne 1m 12.991s / 9568mph National class 1 Menasheh IDAFAR / GBR, T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda +37.075s 2 James COLE / GBR, T-Sport Dallara-Mugen Honda +39.524s Invitation Class 1 Pietro FANTIN / BRA, Hitech Dallara-Volkswagen +53.487s
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