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Vergne wins season opener

Jean-Eric Vergne wins on his British F3 debut at Oulton Park
Jean-Eric Vergne made adream start to his Cooper Tires British F3 International Series career at Oulton Park with the Frenchman dominating qualifying and the opening race of the Easter weekend.

The 19-year-old Carlin pilot led round one all the way from the pole, through a safety car interlude, and on to a 3.5-second victory over local hero Oli Webb.

Once Vergne had made his impeccable start to the race, Fortec driver Webb's only realistic hope of passing Jean-Eric came at the restart on lap eight, after a two-lap safety car period, but there were to be no errors forthcoming.

"A win is never simple, but we had a really good preparation through the winter, I was on pole for this race, made no mistakes and the car was really good, so big thanks to Carlin,” Vergne said. “There were no problems with the restart, and after that I just had to think about preserving the tyres."

Brazilian Adriano Buzaid overcame the handicap of a fifth-place grid slot to slot into third on the opening lap, and held off the Raikkonen Robertson Racing Dallara of Colombia's Carlos Huertas all the way to the chequered flag to claim the final podium slot. Rupert Svendsen-Cook, who started third, lost ground on the first lap and stayed fifth to the flag, ahead of Daisuke Nakajima.

Jay Bridger and his Litespeed car were on for seventh but ran off the track two laps from the end, handing the place to Hitech's Gabriel. Jazeman Jaafar, Daniel McKenzie and Will Buller completed the top ten.

There was disappointment however for James Calado, whose collision with the car of Hywel Lloyd prompted the safety car; Calado's race ended in retirement while Lloyd was able to continue after a pit stop.

The National Class provided a great tussle between T-Sport team-mates Menasheh Idafar and James Cole, the former surviving a shaky start, which included a couple of knocks from other cars, to lead the class from lap one to the chequered flag.

Tagged as: Carlin , Oulton Park , Vergne

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