Jean-Eric Vergne completed a clean sweep in the British Formula Three Championship weekend at Spa-Francochamps with a win in the 40-minute race.
The win brought the Frenchman's tally of wins to nine – exactly half the races contested so far this season. The points also increased his stranglehold on the points title after his main title rival, Fortec Motorsport's Oli Webb crashed out.
Webb had initially taken the lead from pole, with Vergne slotting in behind pushing the leading Mancunian to near qualifying pace. However, Webb soon couldn't keep Vergne at bay and Vergne slipped past around Les Combes into the lead, the Carlin man accelerating into the lead, never to be challenged again.
Meanwhile Webb began to slide backwards. Three laps after losing the lead James Calado took second at Les Combes, taking with it responsibility for the three second gap Vergne had eased out with a series of quick laps. Dropped by Calado, Webb's next concern was Raikkonen-Robertson driver Carlos Huertas. However, Les Combes was once more the site of drama as the two came together, Webb's car sent spinning into the barriers while Huertas was able to limp back to the pits, his chances of a points-paying finish over.
The problems for Webb and Huertas gave the final spot on the posium to ART driver Alexander Sims, the F3 Euroseries regular competing in an invitational class that were not eligible for points.
That meant the third place points went to Brazilian Gabriel Dias, beating his countryman Felipe Nasr to the line by less than two tenths of a second at the end of the 17 lap race.
Daniel Juncadella, another Invitation class runner for Prema scored sixth on track ahread of a trio of Carlin cars – Rupert Svendsen-Cook, Jazeman Jaafar and Adriano Buzaid covered by little more than two seconds.
Webb's Fortec stablemate Daniel McKenzie, Hywel Lloyd and Jay Bridger rounded out the points scorers, Lloyd and Bridger scoring rare points for CR Racing and Litespeed respectively.
But the weekend undoubtedly belonged to Vergne who now leads the championship with 251 points to Webb's 164, who is now challenged by Calado after the Racing Steps Foundation backed man made two podium appearances over the Spa weekend.
“This weekend was amazing,” said Vergne. “Big thanks to Carlin for an amazing car. It's too early to think about the championship. If I leave Silverstone [the meeting after next] more than 100 points ahead then the championship will be in the pocket. But we have first the meeting at Thruxton, and it's a circuit I do not know.”