General Formula 3Open Wheel

Jean-Eric Vergne’s Lucky 13th

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Jean-Eric Vergne underlined his status as new F3 Champion by winning his 13th race of the season at Snetterton with a mature drive in the wet for Carlin.

The Frenchman claimed the title at the last round in Silverstone so there was no pressure on him for more wins. The biggest fight is for runner up spot between James Calado and Oli Webb with only 17 points between them coming into this round in Nofolk.

It was Adriano Buzaid who took pole for race one with a time of 1m 00.994 seconds in his Dallara Volkswagen just 0.040 seconds ahead of Vergne. Calado, who had the quickest time for all but the last few minutes of the qualifying session, claimed third spot ensuring three Carlin cars on the first three grid slots. Japanese driver Daisuke Nakajima was fourth for Raikkonen Robertson Racing and Calado's rival for the runners up spot Oli Webb was fifth. It was a close session with less than one second separating the top 16 drivers.

It was the fastest national class driver Menaseh Idafar who took this 16th spot, just behind Alex Brundle, son of Martin.

The heavens opened over the Norfolk circuit delaying the start of the race. There was a lot of standing water on the track ensuring a tricky race and all drivers using wet tyres. However, the sun came out just before the lights went out and with a stiff wind, the track wasn't going to stay wet for too long.

Early leader Buzaid again lost out to Jean-Eric Vergne

It was Buzaid who took advantage of pole and lead into the first corner, but a great start from Felipe Nasr launched him from sixth on the grid up to second. Vergne had dropped back into fourth enabling Nakajima to slot into third. However the Japanese driver had dropped back to sixth by lap 2 with Vergne and Calado moving up to third and fourth respectively.

There was disappointment for Calardo on lap nine as a mistake let rival Webb through, and on lap 12 he had slipped down to eighth. The top three drivers had remained the same until the new champion made his move on lap 16 and passed Nasr for second place and set about reeling in Buzaid. In three laps, Vergne had closed the gap to first from two and a half seconds to just a quater and it was on lap 22 with just four laps remaining that he made is move and passed the Brazilian to take the lead.

From here on in the positions were to remain leaving Vergne to take the flag with over three and a half seconds over second place Buzaid with Nasr close behind in third. Oli Webb had boosted his chances of the runners up spot by taking fourth place. Nakajima ended a creditable fifth ahead of Hitech Racing pair Gabriel Dias and William Buller in sixth and seventh. Buller had set the fastest lap with a time of 1 minute 02.146 seconds.

James Calado will be disappointed with eighth place but he will be starting ahead of Webb in race two and will need to make the most of it. The rest of the top ten was rounded out by Daniel McKenzie and Jazeman Jaafar.

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Chris Gurton is the official photographer for TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk Visit his Website at: http://www.chrisgurtonphotography.com his blog: http://www.tracksideviews.com and follow him on Twitter: @ChrisGurton
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