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British F3 runners to the fore at Spa - Felix remains in European mix

Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) | Date: July 26th, 2012 | Weather: Sunny

By Mattias Persson

The second and final free practice session at Spa saw the British Formula 3 Series contingent of drivers use their track and tyre experience to lock out the top positions, with several of the normal frontrunners from the European Championship left struggling for grip.

With the Spa event being run completely to British F3 rules and the European field effectively making a one-off guest appearance, many felt that the UK regulars were going to have an advantage going into the meeting.

Those sentiments - based particularly on the fact that the European drivers have to run on British-spec Cooper tyres as opposed to the Hankooks they normally use - seemed to be confirmed in free practice two, with the top seven positions occupied by British F3 runners and several European frontrunners being left behind.

Felix took 12th overall in the session, which was still enough to place him fourth among the European Championship drivers - two tenths adrift of third-placed Emil Bernstorff (ma-con Motorsport). To underline the less-than-favourable conditions expected to complicate things for the Europeans this weekend, championship leaders Prema Powerteam didn't get a single car into the top 15, with Raffaele Marciello leading the Italian outfit's challenge in 16th and recent Masters of Formula 3 winner Daniel Juncadella managing only 20th place (0.5s shy of Felix).

Felix's Mücke Motorsport team-mate Pascal Wehrlein was 23rd overall, some 2.6s slower than practice pace-setter Carlos Sainz Jr - who races in both the full British and European F3 campaigns in 2012. Sainz Jr's knowledge of the Cooper tyres and British F3 event structure should make him one of the favourites ahead of qualifying, which takes place later this evening.

"It is pretty obvious that we were lacking some pace compared to the British F3 guys in this session - but we expected to going into this weekend. The Cooper is very different to what we normally race on, but we are learning all the time and hopefully we will be able to close the gap in qualifying. Our main focus here has to be to challenge at the top of the European Championship results, and in that sense, things didn't look too bad. My best lap was actually pretty good, and we were ahead of all the Premas, so we have to remain realistic and remember what this weekend is really about."

Results (top five)
View full results

Pos Name Team Time
1 Carlos Sainz Jr. Carlin-Volkswagen 1m15.421s


Jack Harvey Carlin-Volkswagen


3 Alex Lynn Fortec-Mercedes +0.268s


Felix Serralles Fortec-Mercedes



Jazeman Jaafar Carlin-Volkswagen



Felix Rosenqvist Mücke Motorsport-Mercedes


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