Last Lap Pass Completes Jones’ Friday Double

by James Broomhead
Jones (left) passed Mehri on the final lap of the race (Credit: British F3 International Series Media)

Ed Jones needed a last lap pass to sweep both the Friday races for the Cooper Tires British Formula Three International Series at Spa-Francorchamps.

Jones’ earlier, dominant win, put him fifth on the partially reversed grid for the second of the day’s encounter, while placing his nearest rivals ahead of him for the start of the race. It was one of them – in the form of British F3 class newcomer Roberto Mehri – who took up the lead on the opening lap picking his way past front row starters John Bryant-Meisner and Indy Dontje.

Having taken fourth at the expense of Sean Gelael on the opening lap Jones moved up to second place on the second lap, from where he attempted to make an impression upon the lead that Mehri had been able to build up.

The chase that followed was moulded by the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Jones was clearly the faster through the first and third sectors of the seven kilometre lap. Mehri, however, had the advantage through the middle part of the lap – largely comprised of the twisting ‘new’ portion of the famous Belgian track.

The resulting trade off in times often meant that, though he would at least eight tenths faster through the first sector alone, Jones’ gains were limited to only a tenth or so each lap. Still however, that handsome speed advantage though the rising sweep of Eau Rouge and the drag of the Kemmel Straight was enough to bring Jones within range as the final lap came around. Jones, his normal gains only added to by the ability to slipstream his rival, made up over a second through the 40-second first sector to arrive at the turn in point for Les Combes ahead.

Now tucked behind Jones Mehri was unable to counter with his pace through the corners leaving Jones to win by eight tenths of a second at the end of 13 laps.

The lead pair were easily clear of Gelael and Bryant-Meisner, who took second in the British F3 class ahead of Indy Dontje.

British F3 point leader Martin Cao’s Spa weekend continue to be problematic. Having been penalised in race one he retired from race two after just two laps with Zlobin Nikita and Li Zhi Cong joining him in finishing the race as they retired two laps later.

Having started on pole Dontje fell back to finish fifth for the second time of the day with Nabil Jeffri once again sixth.

Sam MacLoed finished seventh having made up ground after starting last on the grid after his lap one retirement in the opening race.

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