Having dominated proceedings in practice and qualifying, Oliver Turvey secured his second win of the British F3 International Series season with victory in the opening race of the weekend at Spa.
The Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver led home a Carlin 1-2-3-4 in the race ahead of Brendon Hartley, Jaime Alguesuari and Sam Abay, while victory in the National Class went to Stefan Wilson; the BRDC Young Driver of the Year award winner, like Turvey, taking his second win of the campaign.
Turvey shot off the line from pole position as the lights went out but the British driver's start wasn't as good as that of Hartley, who got down the inside into the first corner to take the lead. As Hartley headed down the hill into Eau Rouge for the first time Turvey fought back and was alongside the Red Bull car as they headed up the hill to Les Combes with Turvey getting the better line to regain the lead.
Meanwhile further back other drivers made up places as other floundered. Marcus Ericsson got past Sam Abay and as the cars came into the final corner for the first time the Swede dived to the inside of Jaime Alguersuari to cross the line in third. However on the next lap Ericsson lost all the ground he had made up, to finish the second lap back in fifth and coming under pressure from John Martin. Invitation Class driver Basil Shaaban had a short lived return to British F3 as he pulled into the pits at the end of the opening lap to retire.
In the National Class, Jay Bridger got boxed in as Salman Al Khalifa made possibly his best ever start in British F3 to take the National Class lead. Bridger was then demoted another place by his Fluid Motorsport team-mate Stefan Wilson as he fought to get on terms with the lead car. Bridger was then passed by the International Class car of Ricardo Teixeira, which meant he couldn't get back at Wilson while in turn he was now under pressure from Steven Guerrero in the T Sport Dallara.
Meanwhile back at the front Turvey and Hartley were pulling away from third placed Alguersuari who was maintaining a comfortable gap to Abay in fourth. On lap four, Ericsson lost another place to Sergio Perez for sixth as John Martin continued to maintain a gap to the duelling pair in fifth.
On lap five Walter Grubmuller slipped past the Invitation Class Dallara of Daniel Campos-Hull on lap six to move into ninth overall, with the Spaniard then coming under pressure from Atte Mustonen and Sebastian Hohenthal. Mustonen got past on lap seven, but Hohenthal and Campos-Hull collided forcing both cars out of the race.
Al Khalifa was trying desperately to hold onto the National Class lead but on lap seven, Wilson made a move at Les Combes which propelled him into the lead.
The final few laps were pretty static as the chequered flag approached, with Ericsson trying to regain sixth from Perez on the final lap. However as Turvey approached the finish line for the twelfth time there was confusion as the chequered flag failed to appear and the cars continued round for another lap. The race was declared on lap 12 despite the lack of a chequered flag which meant a 1-2-3-4 for Carlin Motorsport led by Turvey.
"Brendon managed to get past me at the start and we were side by side into Eau Rouge, and then I managed to slip stream him through Les Combes and get back into the lead," he said. "From there on it was a matter of controlling the race as I felt I was quick enough to win. We really had the pace, Carlin Motorsport have done a fantastic job and given us a great car all weekend. Hopefully we'll be able to get another win tomorrow."
Hartley was second and set the fastest lap of the race just two tenths outside of Jonathan Kennard's lap record set in 2007 while Alguersuari's third place gives him a four point lead over Turvey in the championship table, with Perez now six points behind the Spanish driver.