F3: Alex Smolyar takes victory for ART in the season opener at Barcelona
An uncharacteristically calm Formula 3 season-opener was won by ART Grand Prix driver Alex Smolyar, who stole the lead from 17-year-old Red Bull junior Jonny Edgar in the opening stages, although he was spared a late battle with Clement Novalak, as the Safety Car led the field over the finish line.
After passing Edgar on Lap 4, Smolyar looked assured out in front, until Novalak, up from fourth, began to eat into the gap between them with four laps to go. The Trident having made the most of an all-rookie battle between Edgar and Alpine junior Caio Collet to sneak ahead of them both into P2.
With his win suddenly under threat, the Russian was relieved to see yellow flags after Oliver Rasmussen spun his HWA RACELAB off into the gravel with three laps to go. Safety Car driver Bernd Maylander led the duo across the line in first and second, with Collet claiming the final podium place, as Edgar dropped to P5 behind Logan Sargeant.
Arthur Leclerc’s F3 debut was a frustrating one, the PREMA driver able to make headway in his bid to reach the top 10, before suffering from a puncture that forced him into an unwanted pitstop and dropped him to the back of the grid. Meanwhile, Juan Manuel Correa finished a respectable 15th on his long-awaited return to racing.
F1 E-Sports star Enzo Fittipaldi will start from reverse grid pole in Race 2 at 1645pm local time.
For the full report, results and more news, visit the official F3 website.