British Formula 3

The British F3 weekend comes to a Spa-tacular finish in Belgium

Feature Image Credit: BRDC British F3 Website

It was “out with the old, in with the new” in the morning’s race…and “out with new and in with the old” in the afternoon race, as newcomers and old hats were topping the podium as the weekend in Spa came to a thrilling end…

It was Carlin’s new boy Jamie Caroline who rose from eighth on the grid to claim a dominant win in race two of his maiden main-season race weekend at Spa Francorchamps.  Caroline was second at the end of the first lap and after passing Ayrton Simmons and Tristan Charpentier, disappeared off into the horizon.

Charpentier took second, while Chaimongkol’s third place was his second podium of the year; in some ways a bit of a conciliation prize after challenging for second most of the way.  Pole-sitter Ayrton Simmons, much like Tom Gamble yesterday, couldn’t convert pole in a win and claimed fourth just ahead of Double R’s Krishnaraaj Mahadik, with Jamie Chadwick sixth for Douglas Motorsport in a improved second day.

Sun Yue Yang took seventh after a good move on championship leader Linus Lundqvist on the last lap. Lundqvist climbed from 18th and last on the grid to take eighth place despite a low key morning, further extending his advantage over main rival Nicolai Kjaergaard. Finishing 12th, Kjaergaard loses more ground to Lundqvist in the championship battle.  Hillspeed’s Jusuf Owega and Lanan Racing’s Kush Maini completed the top-10.

Simmons made a good start from pole position to lead Charpentier into La Source.  Further back, Pavan Ravishankar and Owega got to know each other a little better and came together at La Source, with both wounded but able to limp round at the back of the field.  Charpentier passed Simmons mid-way round lap one, while Caroline made a move for second around the outside of Blanchimont to take second before the end of lap one.

Charpentier led by 1.871 seconds at the end of lap one, but Caroline quickly fought back.  By lap four, Caroline had eaten away any lead the Frenchman had, taking the lead at the first opportunity on the inside at La Source by outbreaking the Fortec driver.  With buckets more pace, Caroline led by over a second the next time they came past the pits, and took that lead all the way to the finish line.

Charpentier had to settle for second but Chaimongkol didn’t make it easy by driving an fantastic race from ninth on the grid to claim his second podium.

After his early action at the front, Simmons’ drive to fourth was controlled, showing no signs of nerves for the newcomer.  He finished just under a second away from the podium places, and 1.6 seconds clear of Mahadik, who had put in a solid drive to finish fifth.

A low key Lundqvist made a steady start, taking four places on lap one.  The Swede was up to 11th by the end of lap four, and then gained a further three places on lap five to move into eighth.  A tense battle with Yang saw the Chinese driver come out on top.  However, points are gained for positions gained and by finishing ahead of his main rivals, Lundqvist has again stretched his title advantage, now enjoying a lead of 85 points at the top of the standings.

Owega recovered well from the first lap drama to secure ninth place with a fighting drive, while Maini climbed from 17th after receiving his grid penalty to round out the top-10.

Following this morning’s second race of the weekend at Spa, two one second penalties have been issued to Tristan Charpentier and Krishnaraaj Mahadik.

However, as the officials started to roll up the chequered flag, the stewards were busy throwing penalties around as they clearly felt things weren’t action packed enough!

The official wording is as follows;

“Charpentier was judged to have made a number of direction changes between turn four and five on consecutive laps to prevent car 45 (Sasakorn Chaimongkol) from passing, and therefore was handed a one second penalty which relegates him to third in the final classification, with Hillspeed’s Sasakorn Chaimongkol promoted to second place.

Krishnaraaj Mahadik was also handed a one second penalty for overtaking car 55 (Jamie Chadwick) with all four wheels outside the track at turn five. Mahadik therefore drops to sixth in the final classification, with Chadwick elevated to fifth place.”

On his maiden race win, Caroline had this to say;

“This race was the best shot we had, I’ve never been here before and my first time in a car for a while. Every time we’ve been on track, we’ve been getting quicker which is why I opted for new tyres today. I let a few people past in the race yesterday; the tyres were just shot with qualifying and a 20 minute race. It was a good call to move to new tyres this morning and it’s paid off.”

“It wasn’t easy: we started from P8, so we had a bit of fun hacking through everyone. Charpentier was quick at the start and it was very hard to catch him, but the car was really strong in the middle sector and that’s where we got a good enough run on him and then got a good tow down the back straight into the chicane. I got a good exit to [challenge] him into turn one and then I knew I had to get a good gap on the Kemmel straight – I knew if I did that we’d be fine through the middle sector. A mega job by the boys, I’ve come in knowing it would be down to me and not them and I’m over the moon.”

BRDC British F3 Championship, Spa Francorchamps, race two revised result:

1. Jamie Caroline, Carlin, 9 laps
2. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +3.586s
3. Tristan Charpentier, Fortec Motorsports, +4.085s
4. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, +4.575s
5. Jamie Chadwick, Douglas Motorsport, +6.638s
6. Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Double R Racing, +7.245s
7. Sun Yue Yang, Carlin, +7.307s
8. Linus Lundqvist, Double R Racing, +8.504s
9. Jusuf Owega, Hillspeed, +8.529s
10. Kush Maini, Lanan Racing, +9.064s
11. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +10.545s
12. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Carlin, +12.356s
13. Billy Monger, Carlin, +12.782s
14. Ben Hurst, Hillspeed, +13.502s
15. Josh Mason, Lanan Racing, +28.187s
16. Arvin Esmaeili, Douglas Motorsport, +29.394s
17. Pavan Ravishankar, Double R Racing, +52.716s
DNF. Tom Gamble, Fortec Motorsports, +5 laps

With barely enough time to take a breath, we cannoned straight into race three of the weekend and it was out with the new in with the old as championship leader Linus Lundqvist claimed his second win of the weekend.

It was cheers all round when Monger took the lead but those cheers were short lived as Lundqvist took the lead on lap two, and then led for the remainder of the race to stretch his championship lead once more.  Pole-sitter Tom Gamble claimed second ahead of Monger, who scooped his second podium of the year with third.

Maldonado was fourth for Fortec ahead of Owega.  Race two winner Caroline, sixth.  Charpentier, Mahadik, Sun Yue Yang and Chaimongkol saw out the top-10.

Gamble led away from pole for the second time this weekend, fending off challenges from both Lundqvist, and Monger.  Exiting Eau Rouge and Raidillon, the top three were line abreast, with Monger pulling off a sensational three-way overtake on the inside to lead the first lap.  When the teenager spoke to Overtake at Silverstone, he was very honest and open about relearning his race craft.  It looks like that is well underway…

The lead didn’t last long though, with Lundqvist also moving past Gamble on lap one before passing Monger at Les Combes on lap two to claim the lead.  Lundqvist’s lead was down to under a second by the end of lap eight, but the teenage ace held onto take his sixth win of the year by 0.770 seconds, and increased his championship margin to 120 points over Kjaergaard, who completed a very indifferent weekend with a DNF.

Behind the battle for the lead, Monger settled into third place well clear of Manuel Maldonado who wasn’t quite able to threaten despite running close by mid-way through the race.

Fifth for Owega was his best result of the year, finishing over a second clear of Caroline, who backed up his race two win with sixth place.  Under the steward’s thumb in the last race, Charpentier ran in sixth place in the early stages before settling for seventh, while Mahadik’s eighth place was a three place drop from his starting position. He managed to hold off Sun Yue Yang by just 0.145 seconds, with Chaimongkol just half a second further back.

Kjaergaard’s championship looks to be getting away from him as the Dane was forced out of the race after contact at the chicane on lap six.  Damage to his car left him unable to continue.  A master at the overtake, it’s not over yet, but you can’t help but feel the fat lady is clearing her throat.

On his second race win of the weekend, Lundqvist said; “It’s very difficult to top this with the reverse grid today-  like it has been all through the season – has been about making up as many places as possible without making any silly mistakes. And that’s what we did. We knew we had the pace for the win in the third race and that’s exactly what we did and ended up on top. To win twice here at Spa, it’s such a legendary circuit and it’s a dream come true to stand here on the podium.  And to do it twice in a the weekend is just amazing.”

“It’s always tight at the start especially with the tow down the Kemmel straight so I was third at one moment but I then got past Tom and then Billy got past the both of us. I was able to stay with Billy in sector two and get him back on the Kemmel straight on the next lap and take the win, so I’m very happy with that. The car has been mega throughout the weekend so it’s definitely been a team effort and a big thanks to Double R for this.”

The teams head to Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time and, as ever, Overtake will be there to bring you all the action.

BRDC British F3 Championship, Spa Francorchamps race three result:

1. Linus Lundqvist, Double R Racing, 9 laps
2. Tom Gamble, Fortec Motorsports, +0.770s
3. Billy Monger, Carlin, +4.030s
4. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +5.605s
5. Jusuf Owega, Hillspeed, +14.602s
6. Jamie Caroline, Carlin, +15.863s
7. Tristan Charpentier, Fortec Motorsports, +16.817s
8. Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Double R Racing, +17.115s
9. Sun Yue Yang, Carlin, +17.260s
10. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +17.791s
11. Kush Maini, Lanan Racing, +19.284s
12. Jamie Chadwick, Douglas Motorsport, +19.952s
13. Ben Hurst, Hillspeed, +26.879s
14. Arvin Esmaeili, Douglas Motorsport, +28.438s
15. Pavan Ravishankar, Double R Racing, +29.457s
DNF. Josh Mason, Lanan Racing, +2 laps
DNF. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, +2 laps
DNF. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Carlin, +2 laps

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