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F3 Sprint Race Results: Belgium

A threat of rain for the penultimate Sprint race of the season. Can the drivers keep it on the track and out of the gravel?

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Caio Collet saw the chequered flag first to claim victory for the Formula 3 Sprint race around the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. The race produced no points as less than two full laps of racing took place.

The Campos Racing of Hugh Barter started the Sprint on reverse grid pole (Image Credit: @HughBarter on Twitter)

The top 12 drivers from Friday’s wet Qualifying session would have their order reversed to set the grid for the Sprint. This meant Campos Racing’s Hugh Barter would start the race on pole, with Paul Aron alongside on the front row.

Championship leader Gabriel Bortoleto has a small chance to seal the Drivers’ Championship over the weekend. However, he struggled during Qualifying and will start both races from P15 on the grid.

Pepe Marti has put himself in a fortuitous position to close the gap to Bortoleto thanks to a brilliant pole position. Speaking to FormulaNerds, the 18-year-old Spaniard is planning to hold nothing back from a 12th place start for the Sprint.

He said: “I’d like to say full send… I think tomorrow is a day to go forward, obviously, as much as I like to say it’s not on my mind, the championship charge is on my mind.”

Can the likes of Marti and nearest rival Zak O’Sullivan keep themselves in the Title fight with the ever-consistent Bortoleto? Read on to find out.

Opening laps

A 60% chance of showers at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, nevertheless the entire field lined up on the grid on slick medium tyres on a slightly damp racetrack.

As the field went around the circuit for the formation lap, the heavens did indeed open. Would anyone peel into the pits to gamble on the wets?

Polesitter Barter maintained his lead into La Source. Paul Aron just behind briefly pulled alongside in the run up to Eau Rouge, but dropped down to fourth as he fell off the racing line.

Down the Kemmel straight, the top contenders went three-wide, with Taylor Barnard inheriting the lead ahead of Caio Collet. Barter continued to fall down the pack, as Aron got past the Australian in the second sector.

A lot of action on the first lap, as Collet added to the fanfare by hanging his VAR around the outside of Barnard to take first position.

The Safety car was called out at the end of lap one, contact between Rafael Villagomez and Sebastian Montoya sending both drivers out of contention.

The rain appeared to have stopped for now, but the 28 drivers remaining on track would have to be wary of patches of standing water in certain parts of the circuit.

Marti just one spot ahead of Bortoleto in 11th and 12th respectively, neither would score points in their current positions.

Safety Car restart #1

The Safety Car came into the pits at the end of lap three. O’Sullivan claimed sixth from teammate Beganovic, then made another place on Barter to move up to P5.

Dramatic contact between Gabriele Mini and Marti, as the latter attempted to go around the outside at Pouhon!

Marti saw red as he re-joined the track without looking, collecting Ido Cohen and sending both out of the race! A massive setback in his Championship battle.

Safety Car restart #2

Replays showed how the Trident of Oliver Goethe retired, appearing as though his car’s rear axle broke completely on its own accord.

The aforementioned incident brought out the Safety Car for a second time. It came in at the end of lap seven, giving the drivers five more laps to go racing.

Collet held the lead through the first corner ahead of Barnard and Aron. Further back Edgar had a massive lock-up, opening the door for O’Sullivan to take fourth.

Beganovic was seemingly struggling with tyre temperatures, as he crucially dropped behind Bortoleto in their battle for ninth position.

But soon after… more drama! Bortoleto pulled over at the side of the track to retire from the race! Beganovic had sliced through the Championship leader’s rear left tyre into the first corner, resulting in either a puncture or suspension damage.

A finish under the Safety Car

The rain began to pour heavily on certain parts of the track as the Safety Car came out for the third time. There was a debate as to whether the race may end under full yellow flag conditions.

Unfortunately for the fans the recovery vehicle was unable to extricate Bortoleto’s Trident in time for the racing to continue. Collet guided his VAR to his and the F3 team’s first win of the season, while Barnard and Aron completed the podium places.

Due to the fact that less than two full laps of racing took place, no points would be awarded for the race. Therefore, Bortoleto would maintain his 42-point advantage over Marti in the Championship.

Sprint race final classification

Full results can be found here.

Feature Image Credit: @Formula3 on Twitter

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