Lundqvist claims fifth win
Double R Racing’s Linus Lundqvist secured his fifth win of the year in race one at Spa-Francorchamps, extending his BRDC British F3 Championship lead. The Swede claimed the victory by 0.495s from pole sitter Tom Gamble with Krishnaraaj Mahadik completing the podium in third.
Manuel Maldonado held third place for most the race before Mahadik’s late move. Nicolai Kjaergaard climbed from 12th on the grid to take fifth. A late move from Billy Monger secured him sixth place ahead of Kush Maini, with Jusuf Owega, Sun Yue Yang and Sasakorn Chaimongkol completing the top-10.
At the start, it was Maldonado who made the best initial getaway to lead before quickly being passed by Gamble and then Lundqvist, who had slipped down to fourth in the opening exchanges. Gamble held a lead of just under four tenths crossing the line at the end of lap one, but Lundqvist found his way into the lead on lap two, though any initial chance to build a lead was wiped out when Douglas Motorsport’s new recruit Max Defourny crashed heavily at the top of Raidillon, though thankfully he was able to walk away from the car unaided. Defourny had broken his wing towards the end of the previous lap and the resulting loss of downforce resulted in the accident.
The safety car was deployed straight away, with Lundqvist leading Gamble, and Maldonado holding third. The accident was cleared quickly and racing resumed on lap four, with Lundqvist building a lead of almost six tenths of a second in the first lap after the safety car. Gamble was showing flashes of pace though, and was able to trim the lead slightly on some laps, claiming the fastest lap of the race in the process, but wasn’t quite able to force a move on Lundqvist, who stretched his lead at the top of the standings to 72 points over Kjaergaard.
Mahadik’s third place, his second podium of the year, came after a fighting drive. The Indian started seventh but was fourth at the end of lap one, and passed Maldonado for third on lap six to secure his podium. Kjaergaard’s fifth place means he has lost more ground in the championship battle, though once again demonstrated his overtaking abilities by climbing from 12th on the grid to sixth on lap one and then passing Maini on lap two. He finished ahead of team mate Monger who was in the thick of the action – he started fifth but was relegated to seventh on the first lap. Starting lap seven he was just a tenth behind Maini and made a move stick to claim sixth, finishing over two and a half seconds clear of Maini who had to fend off Jusuf Owega in the closing stages
Owega was another driver to see plenty of action, starting from eighth he dropped to 12th on lap two, but then made amends by moving past Jamie Chadwick and a troubled Ayrton Simmons on lap four, passing Sun Yue Yang on lap six and finally taking Jamie Caroline on lap seven to claim eighth.
Yang also had an eventful race on his way to ninth, falling to 12th on lap one before fighting his way back and enjoying a decent battle with Owega, while Chaimongkol was as low as 15th in the race but fought back to complete the top-10 ahead of best placed debutant Jamie Caroline, who enjoyed spells in the top-10 before being passed by Chaimongkol on the penultimate lap. Fellow newcomer Simmons started fourth and ran inside the top-10 in the early stages, but suffered damage on the restart lap while attempting to pass Caroline and was forced to pit for repairs.
The second BRDC British F3 race of the weekend starts at 11.50 local time tomorrow.