Spa British F3: Ed Jones snatches race two win from Roberto Merhi
|By Marcus Simmons||Friday, July 25th 2014, 16:37 GMT|
Ed Jones took the honours in the second British Formula 3 Championship race at Spa on the very last lap from Roberto Merhi.
Ex-DTM racer Merhi clung on at the front for most of the reversed-grid race in his Double R Racing Dallara-Mercedes, with the European F3-spec Volkswagen powerplant in Jones's Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen not enough to move him within challenging range.
But with a lap to go in this reversed-grid counter, Anglo-Emirati Jones suddenly moved onto the tail of the Spaniard, passing him on the run to Les Combes.
"I was counting down the laps and waited until the end," said Jones. "I wanted to maintain my tyres and, although we've got a bigger engine, the extra 20kg weight makes us slower in the middle sector so it was tough to follow him closely."
Merhi in turn lost pace towards the end. "I had a few problems," he said, "and the engine started going 'bo-bo-bo' - it looks like a fuel-pump problem."
From pole, Indy Dontje made a terrific start, but Merhi - who passed John Bryant-Meisner for second on the exit of La Source - was able to tow past the Dutchman on the run to Les Combes.
Jones and Sean Gelael soon moved past Bryant-Meisner and Dontje, but Gelael suffered tyre problems on his Carlin machine and could not keep pace with the sister European F3-spec car of Jones, consigning the Indonesian to a clear third.
Bryant-Meisner's Performance Racing Dallara-VW similarly was untroubled in fourth by the Motopark Dallara-VW of Dontje.
After crashing in race one, Sam MacLeod worked his way nicely through from the back of the grid to take sixth in his Carlin machine, only for Nabil Jeffri to repass him on the penultimate lap.
A good battle for eighth went the way of Matt Rao after he had swapped places with Andy Chang twice in the final two laps, while Camren Kaminsky completed the top 10.
Martin Cao lost his championship lead to Rao when he crashed on the second lap - Jeffri had lost ground in a clash with Rao at the Bus Stop, and in his bid to recover made contact with Cao at Les Combes.
Chinese racers Cao, Peter Li and Kang Ling had all started out of position after compatriot Chang stalled on the green-flag lap and they all erroneously moved up a row on the grid.
But with Cao and Li (after a tangle with Nikita Zlobin) crashing out and Ling finishing last, it didn't really matter.
The upshot is that prior to Saturday's race Rao has 113 points, with Cao on 110, MacLeod on 107 and Chang 105.
Results - 13 laps:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Ed Jones Carlin Dallara-VW 29m52.656s 2. Roberto Merhi Double R Dallara-Merc +0.862s 3. Sean Gelael Carlin Dallara-VW +12.628s 4. John Bryant-Meisner Performance Dallara-VW +19.115s 5. Indy Dontje Motopark Dallara-VW +21.453s 6. Nabil Jeffri Motopark Dallara-VW +29.094s 7. Sam MacLeod Carlin Dallara-VW +33.088s 8. Matt Rao Fortec Dallara-Merc +41.763s 9. Andy Chang Double R Dallara-Merc +42.781s 10. Camren Kaminsky Double R Dallara-Merc +50.581s 11. Kang Ling ADM Dallara-VW +52.655s Retirements: Nikita Zlobin ADM Dallara-VW 4 laps Peter Li Carlin Dallara-VW 4 laps Martin Cao Fortec Dallara-Merc 2 laps