F3: Maloney pulls through to claim maiden victory as Championship contenders flounder
Zane Maloney turned Sprint Race disappointment into Feature Race triumph after bringing home his first Formula 3 victory in a one-two for the Trident team.
Yesterday saw the Bajan driver have a lucky escape in a major crash that sent him careening through the gravel trap, but he was able to bounce back with several daring moves to take the lead and then pull away from those around him.
The title fight has been thrown wide open as the frontrunners struggled to make their way through the field, whilst the outside contenders threw their hats into the ring with strong performances. Roman Stanek second place finish helped him break into the top five, but it was Sprint Race winner Oliver Bearman who made the biggest impact in third – moving himself up to second, only a point off the Championship lead.
Victor Martins’ day was brought to an early end after Kush Maini triggered a multi-car incident, leaving the Alpine junior to have to pull over at Raidillon to bring out the first of two Safety Car appearances, allowing Maloney to vault himself up into the lead on the second restart with a daring move around the outside of Les Combes.
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Bearman fought off Red Bull junior Jonny Edgar and newcomer Goethe to make his way through from eighth to third, as Collet’s penalty demoted him to sixth. David Vidales made up 11 places to achieve seventh, ahead of William Alatalo, Alexander Smolyar and Reece Ushijima.
In the title fight, neither Isack Hadjar, Arthur Leclerc nor Jak Crawford were able to move up into the points. As a result, Bearman has shot himself up into second, only one point away from the leading Red Bull junior with five points separate the top four down to Leclerc on 101 points.
Meanwhile, PREMA Racing sit 86 points clear of Trident with only two rounds remaining – the field’s thoughts now turning to Zandvoort for the penultimate round on September 2-4.
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