Webb claims maiden British F3 win

Oli Webb claimed his maiden British Formula 3 victory in the championship's first ever race at Magny-Cours this afternoon

Webb claims maiden British F3 win

The British Fortec racer took the lead when poleman Jean-Eric Vergne (Carlin) bogged down at the start and lost 15 places.

As the French home hero tumbled down the order, Webb streaked away from the field. A succession of early fastest laps broke the back of the race and Webb continued to eek his advantage out over most of the rest of the distance.

Webb controlled the race totally from the front. His lead ballooned to 6.7 seconds at one stage, before he backed it off slightly in the closing laps to complete a 5.9s victory over Gabriel Dias.

William Buller held an almost race-long watching brief behind his Hitech team-mate Dias, until a recovering Vergne began to hassle him in the last few laps. Vergne came close to passing (and hitting) his rival, but the Northern Irishman held on for his maiden podium in the series.

Vergne thus took fourth after a mighty recovery drive. The Red Bull-backed racer was helped by a tangle at the Adelaide hairpin on the first lap, which scattered the pack as Daniel McKenzie (Fortec) and Rupert Svendsen-Cook (Carlin) rotated.

He ran seventh at the end of the opening tour, but worked his way through steadily with some racey driving and robust passing moves. After dispatching Hywel Lloyd (who started 15th) for sixth on lap two, he took Raikkonen Robertson's Carlos Huertas for fifth a couple of laps later after a tussle through the Lycee complex.

After nerfing team-mate Jazeman Jaafar (who started 10th and was another to benfit from the first lap scrum) out of the way at Chateau D'Eau, Vergne erased a 5.8s gap to Buller, but could not find a way through.

Huertas took fifth, but looked vulnerable. He finished over seven seconds behind Vergne and only just held off Carlin's James Calado, who worked his way through to another top six finish after starting 11th.

Jaafar's tangle with Vergne dropped him to sixth and he ended up seventh once Calado had also come through at the Adelaide hairpin.

Carlin's Adriano Buzaid, Raikkonen Robertson's Daisuke Nakajima and Litespeed's Jay Bridger completed the top 10. All three benefited from Lloyd spinning away sixth before the final chicane just three laps from home.

T-Sport's Menasheh Idafar took National Class honours after re-passing team-mate James Cole during the second half of the race. The pair finished 11th and 12th overall.

Pos Driver Team Car Time/Gap 1. Oli Webb Fortec D/M 30m20.722s 2. Gabriel Dias Hitech D/V + 5.955s 3. William Buller Hitech D/V + 8.721s 4. Jean-Eric Vergne Carlin D/V + 9.127s 5. Carlos Huertas Raikkonen Robertson D/M + 16.813s 6. James Calado Carlin D/V + 17.251s 7. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin D/V + 24.184s 8. Adriano Buzaid Carlin D/V + 24.548s 9. Daisuke Nakajima Raikkonen Robertson D/M + 26.282s 10. Jay Bridger Litespeed D/M + 27.942s 11. Menasheh Idafar T-Sport D/H + 34.585s 12. James Cole T-Sport D/H + 35.293s 13. Daniel McKenzie Fortec D/M + 36.184s 14. Hywel Lloyd CF/Manor D/M + 50.351s 15. Max Snegirev Fortec D/M + 55.401s 16. Adderly Fong Sino Vision D/M + 59.752s 17. Rio Haryanto CF/Manor D/M + 1m15.713s 18. Rupert Svendsen-Cook Carlin D/V + 2 laps Retirements: Felipe Nasr Raikkonen Robertson D/M 7 laps Lucas Foresti Carlin D/V 0 laps Alex Brundle T-Sport D/V 0 laps 
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