Despite contact in the latter stages, it was Ben Hingeley who survived the first BRDC British F3 Championship race at Spa-Francorchamps to take his third win of the year. He had been battling with Toby Sowery until contact sent his rival down to fourth.
It had been a strong start from polesitter Enaam Ahmed, but the long run down the Kemmel Straight ensured that Sowery got the slipstream, taking the lead into the turn 5-7 complex.
Hingeley would follow the Lanan Racing driver through, with Ahmed dropping to third. The top three would initially break away as Guilherme Samaia kept a lonely fourth off the line.
Sowery’s lead would only last a few laps though, with the car drifting too close to Hingeley and dropping to fourth, allowing the leaders to break away. Hingeley was quick to take advantage of the contact and for the first time this year, built up a sizeable lead over Ahmed.
Hingeley had been run wide by Sowery in the final chicane before the two drivers touched wheels. Hingeley jumped the kerb, while Sowery lost momentum. The pair have been put under investigation.
A bad start from Jordan Cane had appeared to be the end of his chances, but a resurgence in the second half saw him battle with the fast starting Jamie Chadwick for fifth.
The pair brought other drivers into the fight though, with the Carlin’s of Cameron Das and James Pull, as well as Callan O’Keeffe and Chase Owen in the train.
Hingeley though was not to be fazed, holding on from Ahmed for his third victory of the season and completed an excellent recovery after his disaster of a Thursday practice day. Samaia meanwhile would complete a well-deserved maiden podium as Sowery pressured him to the line.
A final lap lunge would see Cane get past Chadwick for fifth as Das beat Pull, who would claim reverse grid pole despite starting last. Behind them, O’Keeffe and Owen dropped back to complete the top ten.
After the race, Hingeley spoke to TCF, “We came from third on the grid, so it was always difficult. Toby was defending really hard on the first two laps. I managed to get round the outside through the first chicane, then we banged wheels and took to the escape route a little bit, but I felt I was more than alongside.
“From then on, the car felt great and I managed to push on and get a gap. The rears started to go off a little bit towards the end, so it was all about managing the gap to Enaam.”