Carlin Motorsport took a second victory at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium today, as Red Bull racer Brendon Hartley drove a stunning race to take his fourth victory of the season. The F3 rookie stormed to victory having dropped to fifth place at the end of one. Pole sitter and race one winner Oliver Turvey saw a flawless weekend come to an early conclusion when an engine problem left him stranded on the grid. Jaime Alguersuari completed a strong weekend to take fourth place while a first lap incident put Sam Abay into early retirement.

Taking his place in pole position for the second time, Racing Steps Foundation driver Oliver Turvey looked in good shape to repeat his race one victory, but as the lights went out Turvey’s car failed to get away, forcing all the cars behind him to taking avoiding action. From his third place grid slot, Sam Abay just managed to avoid Turvey and found himself immediately in a battle with Marcus Ericsson. Contact between the two at the first corner resulted in a puncture for Abay, who had a long drive back to the pits. Returning to the track with a new tyre, Abay’s race was effectively over, but the young Australian later showed his potential by setting the second quickest lap of the race.

Jaime Alguersuari had made a lightening start from his seventh place grid slot and was up to third by the end of lap one. Meanwhile behind him, having avoided the incident between Abay and Ericsson, Hartley had dropped to fifth place. Hartley was determined to make up the positions however, and had already passed Ericsson by the end of lap two. Next in Hartley’s sights was team mate Alguersuari, who he managed to pass for third place on lap five. Nick Tandy was the next driver ahead, and after a close battle, Hartley found a way through on lap eight.

By lap nine, the battle for the lead was between Hartley and Sergio Perez. As the duo crossed the line at the end of lap 10, the gap was down to 0.9 seconds, and as the cars came across the line to start the final lap, Hartley had closed the gap to just 0.2 seconds. With only half a lap remaining, Hartley stole the lead with a move around the outside into Les Combes to take the victory. Jaime Alguersuari added to his points tally with a fourth place.

Commenting on his fourth race win of the season, Hartley said, “Sam and Marcus had a bit of a coming together into the first corner, and I lost a lot of places trying to avoid that, but then I had the car to be able to push and get the places back. I worked really hard with my engineer after the first race and the car felt great today, I have to say the car was doing all the work for me. I have to thank the team, they’ve worked so hard since the last race at Brands Hatch and the car has been fantastic all weekend. I really enjoyed racing with Sergio, he’s a very fair racer and left me just enough room to make the move. I’m pleased to have put myself back in the running for the title. I think there will be probably be four or five drivers in with a chance of winning, so it’s going to be an exciting end to the season.”

Carlin director Martin Stone added, “This was a great result for Brendon, who raced very well and maturely to claw his way through the field to take a well deserved victory. It was a great pity for Oliver who has driven flawlessly all weekend that his race was ended through no fault of his own. Jaime also had a strong weekend and now leads the championship. Once again, we’ve seen the points standings close up, and the championship is still wide open.

Carlin’s British F3 team will next be in action for rounds 17 and 18 at Silverstone from 15 – 16 September.