The biggest European Formula 3 grid of the year is set to gather at the Belgian Grand Prix circuit of Spa-Francorchamps next week (26-28 July) for the latest rounds of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series.
Twenty-nine cars have provisionally entered the event, which in addition to counting towards the British championship is a round of the FIA European F3 Championship. Top Euro teams including Mï¿½cke Motorsport and Prema Powerteam will be joining their UK counterparts Carlin, CF Racing, Double R, Fortec and T-Sport for a celebration of top-level single-seater racing in support of the prestigious Spa 24 Hours sports car race.
“Spa is always special,” said SRO’s championship manager Benjamin Franassovicci, “but this year with 29 cars on track for the three British F3 races it will be doubly memorable.”
Britain’s Jack Harvey leads the field into battle as the championship enters the final third of the 2012 season. The Lincolnshire-based Carlin driver nosed ahead of his chief title rival Jazeman Jaafar late last month and, with only four points separating them, there is everything to play for in Belgium - not least because Fortec’s Puerto Rican racer Felix Serralles has accelerated into third place within 10 points of the championship lead.
Harvey and Jaafar will be joined at Carlin by regular team-mates Pietro Fantin (who scored his first win of 2012 in Germany last month), Carlos Sainz Jnr and Harry Tincknell, and also - it is hoped - by a sixth Dallara for a yet to be named driver.
Padua-based Prema Powerteam will field a four-car squad for FIA F3 points leader Raffaele Marciello, Euroseries frontrunner Daniel Juncadella, Sven Muller and Michael Lewis, while in addition to Serralles, Fortec will have Dallaras on track for Brazil’s Pipo Derani and impressive young Brit Alex Lynn, as well as for Dutch driver Hannes van Asseldonk, who will be keen to build on his podium success (behind Juncadella and Marciello) in last weekend’s F3 Masters at Zandvoort.
The National class battle looks like being a four-way fight for the first time this season, with T-Sport expecting to confirm later this week a class running mate for category points leader Spike Goddard. CF Racing is to return with Brands Hatch triple class winner Adderly Fong, and Double R will field its young Aussie Duvashen Padayachee.
Double R’s Geoff Uhrhane and Fahmi Ilyas and T-Sport man Nick McBride complete the UK side of the field, and there will additionally be two-car teams from Mï¿½cke (Felix Rosenqvist and Pascal Wehrlein), ma-con (British drivers Emil Bernstorff and Tom Blomqvist), Jo Zeller Racing, and single-car entries for URD Rennsport and Angola Racing Team.
All timings local
Thu 26 Jul 1125-1155 & 1445-1515 free practice; 1730-1800 qualifying
Fri 27 Jul 1200 Race 1 (30 mins); 1535 Race 2 (20 mins)
Sat 28 Jul 1155 Race 3 (40 mins)
Live timing: static.sportresult.com/federations/fia/app/portal
TV schedule: 4 August, 0700 Channel 4 & 1720 Motors TV
Provisional Championship Standings after Round 17
1 Jack Harvey (GBR/Carlin) 186 points
2 Jazeman Jaafar (MAS/Carlin) 182 points
3 Felix Serralles (PUR/Fortec) 176 points
4 Alex Lynn (GBR/Fortec) 144 points
5 Carlos Sainz (ESP/Carlin) 140 points
6 Pietro Fantin (BRA/Carlin) 137 points
1 Spike Goddard (AUS/T-Sport) 270 points
2 Duvashen Padayachee (AUS/Double R) 232 points
3 Adderly Fong (CHN/CF Racing) 62 points
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