Carlin driver Daniel Ricciardo stormed to victory in the British F3 International Series today, in round 12 of the season at Spa-Francorchamps. The 20 year-old driver further strengthened his position in the championship, with a dominant victory to extend his lead in the standings to 34 points. Carlin’s regular Euro Series racer Jake Rosenzweig made an impressive race debut in the British Series, finishing fifth overall, which put him third in the Invitation Class. Max Chilton suffered early disappointment when he stalled off the line from his second placed grid slot, but a spirited drive through the field saw him finally finish ninth overall and fifth in the International Class. Philip Major took his best ever British F3 finish of his career, with an 11th place on the road and seventh place in the International Class standings, just in front of team mate Henry Arundel.

Following a strong qualifying session from the team yesterday, Ricciardo lined up on pole for the first race of the weekend, with Chilton alongside him in second. As the lights went out, Ricciardo made a good start to retain the lead in the drag down to the first corner. Team mate Chilton meanwhile stalled off the grid and was hit from behind by fourth place man Hywel Lloyd, sustaining a rear left puncture in the process.

As the cars exited the first corner, a crash involving Ricciardo’s championship rival Walter Grubmuller brought out the safety car. That benefited Chilton, who had limped back to the pits for a quick change of his rear left tyre before rejoining the rest of the field behind the safety car. At the restart, Ricciardo managed the field well to maintain the lead, while Chilton had already started his charge through the field and was up to 14th place by lap seven.

Behind Ricciardo, Rosenzweig was making up places to lie eighth after the restart and passed Diaz and Buzaid to take sixth on lap six. Major meanwhile was dicing in the mid field, lying in 15th place on lap eight, and moving up to 12th on lap 10. Having stalled on the grid Henry Arundel was also making his way through the field, overtaking to the final lap to come home in 13th place. Having taken the chequered flag, Rosenzweig, Major and Arundel all made up a place following the demotion of Carlos Huertas for a grid infringement.

With several additional entries into the British F3 event at Spa this weekend, the number of cars racing under ‘Invitation Class’ stood at five. With Invitation Class cars not counted in the championship standings, Ricciardo’s lead over the next British car on track stood at a full 10 seconds, while Chilton’s ferocious drive through the field was rewarded with a fifth place, with Major seventh and Arundel eighth.

Speaking about his fourth British F3 victory, Ricciardo said, “I had a good start but there was a safety car almost straight away and thankfully I got a good restart once it went green again. The first lap after the restart was what helped me I think, I pushed hard, I had a lot of grip on the new tyres which helped me break the elastic band so the drivers behind me couldn’t get a tow. Then it was about being consistent. I could see Renger [van der Zande] and Jules [Bianchi] fighting behind me; Bianchi finally got through and I saw him close in on me at the end, but it wasn’t enough to catch me so I didn’t take any risks. It’s a good result.”

Following a one minute penalty for sixth placed man Adriano Buzaid for a grid place infringement, Max Chilton, Philip Major and Henry Arundel move up one place in the final standings for round 13 of the 2009 British F3 International Series at Spa- Francorchamps.

Max Chilton consequently finished eighth overall and fourth in the International Class, Major moves up to 10th overall and sixth in the International Class, with Arundel 11th overall and seventh in the International Class standings.