Jean-Eric VergneBritish F3 champion Jean-Eric Vergne was back at the front today, with a second place in round three of the 2011 Formula Renault 3.5 Series. The Red Bull Junior qualified third and went on to finish second, a huge 17 seconds ahead of his closest rival.

Having missed all of collective practice at the last round in Motorland, Vergne was keen to make the most of all the track time available in Spa-Francorchamps this weekend, a circuit on which he won three British F3 races last year.

The Frenchman was clearly on the pace, and was on provisional pole for the majority of this morning’s qualifying session before just losing out in the final minutes to qualify third.

After a strong start from third on the grid, Vergne was second by the end of lap one in this afternoon’s race and kept team mate Robert Wickens under pressure for the duration of the race. At the chequered flag Vergne was second, adding a hefty 18 points to his tally.

Q. You have a good record at Spa, is it nice to be back?
A. Yes definitely! Last year I had three wins in a row here, which is a great memory. It’s my favourite circuit, so it’s really nice to be back here and this time in a FR3.5 car.

Q. You were P1 for most of qualifying, were you a bit disappointed not to qualify on pole?
A. Yes for sure, but in the end third was quite a good result as I had a slight problem with the steering wheel.

Q. You and your team mate left the rest of the field behind today, are you happy with the car?
A. The car was perfect, the only problem I had was with the tyres, as every time I got too close behind Robert [Wickens] I lost all downforce and so my tyres went off quite quickly.

Q. You did a great job to go from third to second today, is a race win the aim for tomorrow?
A. The aim is always a win..! ;) But for sure we have a good car, without the problem with my steering wheel, pole should be the target. Then the win……

Photo by Frederic Le Floc H / DPPI