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Super Saturday for Ahmed as British F3 leader doubles up at Spa

Saturday, July 08 2017

It was a perfect Saturday for BRDC British F3 Championship leader Enaam Ahmed as the Carlin driver races to a double win at Spa-Francorchamps today (8 July).

His first win was a superb fightback drive, climbing from seventh on the grid to overtake team mate James Pull with a lap and a half remaining.

The second victory came after a race long battle with title rival Toby Sowery, making a move stick on the Kemmel Straight on lap seven, after trying for several laps. His double success extends his championship lead to 82 points with nine races remaining this year.

Race Two

Carlin's James Pull started from pole position, with the top eight finishers from yesterday's race reversed on the grid. Pull made a great start from pole position to build a lead of over two seconds at the end of the first lap, with Cameron Das and Sowery the early top three, while Ahmed was already making ground, climbing from seventh on the grid to fifth at the end of the first tour. 

Ahmed then climbed to fourth on lap two, passing Jamie Chadwick, and then put a move on title rival Sowery on lap three. A lap later and Ahmed moved past team mate Das and began eating into Pull's lead, which still stood at over two seconds.

By lap six, the margin between the pair was little over a second, and at the end of lap seven there was just 0.4s between them. Benefiting from a great tow through Eau Rouge on lap eight, Ahmed made his move with a lap and a half to go and then streaked away to claim victory by 1.4 seconds.

Pull was forced to settle for second place, but his podium was a welcome return after yesterday's fightback through the field.

Sowery had a combative race, running third initially before being passed by Ahmed on lap three, but he reclaimed the podium position with a move on Das on lap six.

There was plenty of wheel to wheel action in the top-10, with Das holding a podium position for much of the race before finishing fourth, with Callan O'Keeffe climbing from ninth on the grid to take fifth. Jordan Cane's sixth place continued his strong start to life in British F3, while Chase Owen was another mover from 10th at the start to claim seventh. The biggest movers though were back row starters Tristan Charpentier and Linus Lundqvist, who finished eighth and ninth from 17th and 16th on the grid respectively. Jamie Chadwick's 10th place came after another drive where she was in the thick of the action. 

Yesterday's winner Ben Hingeley had a race to forget, spending three laps in the pits early on following contact on the opening lap from fellow race one podium finisher Guilherme Samaia. The Brazilian driver retired in the pits and was handed a five place grid penalty for race three by the stewards. Hingeley recovered to finish an unclassified 16th.

Race Three

With the grid for the final race decided by fastest laps from the previous two races, it was Ahmed on pole with Sowery alongside him on the front row. Ahmed made a good start to lead into the first corner, and held a 0.3 second lead at the end of lap one. But Sowery refused to let him go and made use of a good slipstream going down the Kemmel straight on lap two to blast into the lead.

However, Sowery wasn't able to pull out a comfortable enough gap and Ahmed challenged the Lanan driver several times down the Kemmel straight, with Sowery resisting until lap seven when the Carlin driver was able to squeeze by before Les Combes. Sowery tried to reclaim the lead around the outside but Ahmed had it covered to claim his second win of the weekend by 0.7 seconds.

Ben Hingeley took third place thanks to a strong opening lap, where he overtook three cars to climb onto the podium to make up for the disappointment of race two. James Pull improved one place on his grid position to take fourth with a decent overtake on Callan O'Keeffe, who ran as high as third early on, but was picked off by Cameron Das, Chase Owen, Linus Lundqvist and Tristan Charpentier before the end of the race and finished ninth. Chase Owen improved three places on his grid position, while series newcomer Lundqvist again showed good race craft to climb to seventh from 10th on the grid. 

Race winner Ahmed commented: "Toby was much quicker than me at the start of the race and was taking slightly different lines, as I think track conditions changed after the British GT race. He seemed to adapt to it quicker than I did but I was able to catch him slowly and he was running lower downforce so it was hard to get him on the straight, so I had to maximize sector two. But once I was able to get a good exit from turn one I was able to just about catch him and then pass him.

"The team did a mega job this weekend because we were slow after Silverstone and were struggling at long high speed tracks. We found a solution and they did a mega job to get me out and give me a competitive car for this weekend. It's been a fantastic weekend for the championship and I couldn't have asked for better!"

BRDC British F3 Championship standings after 15 of 24 rounds

1. Enaam Ahmed, Carlin, 399pts
2. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, 317pts
3. James Pull, Carlin, 308pts
4. Ben Hingeley, Fortec Motorsports, 300pts
5. Cameron Das, Carlin, 299pts
6. Callan O'Keeffe, Douglas Motorsport, 254pts
7. Chase Owen, Hillspeed, 170pts
8. Jamie Chadwick, Double R Racing, 159pts
9. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Fortec Motorsports, 153pts
10. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, 152pts

Click here to visit the British F3 website.