Third win of the year for Fortec driver after battle with Sowery, Ahmed on the podium again, with maiden rostrum for Guilherme Samaia
Fortec Motorsport’s Ben Hingeley claimed a superb win at Spa Francorchamps today (Friday 7 July), following a dramatic opening race of the weekend.
Hingeley started third on the grid, but passed championship leader Enaam Ahmed on the first lap and then overtook Toby Sowery on lap three to clinch his third win in eight races, and moving to second in the championship standings. Ahmed’s second place was his ninth podium of the year, while Guilherme Samaia’s third place is easily his best result of the season.
Championship leader Enaam Ahmed secured his first qualifying pole position after a gripping tussle with Sowery and Hingeley.
The trio engaged in battle for much of the second half of the session, with Ahmed’s late flier securing pole by just 0.036s on the longest circuit on the calendar, with Lanan’s Sowery settling for second having been fastest in testing yesterday. Hingeley in third was a tenth off the fastest time, while a strong performance from Samaia secured fourth on the grid for Double R Racing, and just 0.172s off the fastest time in the session.
Chase Owen was fifth fastest for Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing ahead of Douglas Motorsport duo Jordan Cane and Callan O’Keeffe, the team mates separated by just 0.022s.
Frenchman Tristan Charpentier, making his championship return this weekend was an excellent eighth for Chris Dittmann Racing, while Jamie Chadwick, who led the session early on was ninth for Double R, the three drivers separated by 0.061s. American Cameron Das completed the top-10 for Carlin. Debutant Linus Lundqvist was 11th fastest on his championship debut and only just over a second off pole.
Pole man Ahmed made a good start to lead down to La Source on lap one, while Hingeley challenged Sowery for second place. Coming to the end of the Kemmel straight into Les Combes, Sowery and Hingeley were able to make use of the tow to draft past Ahmed, with the championship leader ending the lap in third place. Meanwhile, further back, James Pull was already up to 10th place after his qualifying issues.
Sowery had built a small lead early on but Hingeley began to peg him back, and the pair were separated by just 0.4 seconds starting lap three. On the approach to the Bus Stop Chicane, Hingeley pulled out of Sowery’s slipstream and the pair were side by side through the initial right hand turn with Hingeley on the outside. The pair appeared to make slight contact and Hingeley took the inside of the left hand turn, claiming the lead.
The Fortec driver then set about building a lead of two seconds, while Sowery was further demoted on lap four, first by title rival Ahmed and then by Brazilian Samaia, enjoying his best race of the season.
Ahmed set about trimming Hingeley’s lead and had it down to 1.1 seconds by the end of the race, but ultimately ran out of laps in his pursuit. Samaia finished a further two seconds back securing his first podium finish on the back of a very strong weekend so far. Sowery had tried to at least regain a podium spot, and got the gap down to half a second at one point before settling for fourth.
Cane and Chadwick provided plenty of entertainment, the pair frequently changing places before Cane emerged ahead in fifth with Chadwick sixth. Cameron Das claimed seventh from 10th on the grid while Pull’s reward for a strong fightback to eighth is pole position for tomorrow’s top-eight reversed race, which starts at 10.40 local time.
Callan O’Keeffe and Chase Owen completed the top-10 runners. The top three drivers were presented with their trophies on the podium by BRDC member and ex-F1 racer Martin Donnelly.
Hingeley commented: “Last time out I claimed a win on a brilliant track like Silverstone and I’ve done the same today so I’m really made up. I got a great start and a lovely tow down the back straight on both Toby and Enaam and managed to get around the outside of Enaam. I pushed on to catch Toby and I had the pace on him.
“I caught him and got a really nice tow down the back straight into the chicane and he defended to the inside, I went to the outside, out-braked him and got the move done. As we went through the right I had the inside for the left and I’m not sure if because he took a tighter line, he understeered but there was a bit of contact which pushed me off the track and I had to take to the escape road a little bit. These things happen with racing and without the contact I would have made the corner quite comfortably.
“We’ll go again now, we’ve got the night to think about anything we need to change and try and figure out why the rear tyres went off a little bit and we’ll come back tomorrow to try and get another two wins.”
The second race of the weekend takes place at 10.40 local time, with the final encounter at 14.20, with live timings and updates available on the BRDC British F3 Championship website.
BRDC British Formula 3 – Spa-Francorchamps – Qualifying top ten
1. Enaam Ahmed, Carlin, 2m18.081s
2. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, +0.036s
3. Ben Hingeley, Fortec Motorsports, +0.113s
4. Guilherme Samaia, Double R Racing, +0.172s
5. Chase Owen, Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing, +0.554s
6. Jordan Cane, Douglas Motorsport, +0.671s
7. Callan O’Keeffe, Douglas Motorsport, +0.693s
8. Tristan Charpentier, Chris Dittmann Racing, +0.906s
9. Jamie Chadwick, Double R Racing, +0.936s
10. Cameron Das, Carlin, +0.967s
For full results, please click here.
BRDC British Formula 3 – Spa-Francorchamps – Race One top ten
1. Ben Hingeley, Fortec Motorsports 9 laps
2. Enaam Ahmed, Carlin, +1.123s
3. Guilherme Samaia, Double R Racing, +3.159s
4. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, +4.426s
5. Jordan Cane, Douglas Motorsport, +8.647s
6. Jamie Chadwick, Double R Racing, +9.255s
7. Cameron Das, Carlin, +9.988s
8. James Pull, Carlin, +10.500s
9. Callan O’Keeffe, Douglas Motorsport, +11.100s
10. Chase Owen, Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing, +11.218s
For full results, please click here.
BRDC British F3 Championship – standings after race 13:
1. Enaam Ahmed, Carlin, 339pts
2. Ben Hingeley, Fortec Motorsports, 276pts
3. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, 268pts
4. James Pull, Carlin, 265pts
5. Cameron Das, Carlin, 262pts
6. Callan O’Keeffe, Douglas Motorsport, 226pts
7. Chase Owen, Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing, 139pts
8. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, 138pts
9. Jamie Chadwick, Double R Racing, 138pts
10. Nicola Kjaergaard, Fortec Motorsports, 133pts