Home Formula 3Euroformula Benavides wins twice and Xie gets his first Euroformula victory at Spa

Benavides wins twice and Xie gets his first Euroformula victory at Spa

by Ida Wood

Photo: Fotospeedy

Brad Benavides led the Motopark contingent at Spa-Francorchamps with his third and fourth wins of the Euroformula season.

BVM Racing’s Francesco Simonazzi claimed pole in a wet qualifying, setting a 2m27.924s to lead Benavides by 0.129 seconds. Levente Revesz and Jakob Bergmeister were 0.412s and 0.982s behind, while Michael Shin and series returnee Gerrard Xie trailed Simonazzi by over 1.7s.

Over two seconds further back was Fernando Barrichello, and NV Racing’s Paolo Brajnik was 27.31s off pole.

Xie stalled at the start of race one, and Simonazzi led into La Source. Benavides went around his outside entering Les Combes, and at the final chicane Revesz also passed the poleman.

Benavides led by 1.2s, but two fastest laps from Revesz reduced that to 0.6s and on lap five he tried going down his inside at Les Combes. He then had a huge front-right lock-up at Bruxelles that actually led to him getting ahead.

But Benavides slipstreamed back past down the Kemmel Straight on lap six, and then Revesz dropped behind Bergmeister – who passed Simonazzi at Les Combes on lap two – by going through the turn nine gravel.

Benavides won, Revesz held third after pushing Simonazzi onto the Kemmel Straight grass on lap seven, and Simonazzi beat Shin to fourth by 0.118s.

Barrichello had reversed-grid pole for race two, but after starting slowly was fourth by La Source. Shin led, and Revesz went down the inside of Simonazzi for second. Benavides won a side-by-side battle through Eau Rouge with Bergmeister for fourth, then they went four-wide at Les Combes with the two ahead.

Bergmeister on the inside passed all three, Benavides on the outside cleared two, Simonazzi passed Revesz and Xie behind spun then pitted after nudging the rear of Revesz’s car.

Benavides cut Les Combes then was sent into turn nine’s gravel by Bergmeister, falling back behind Simonazzi. On lap two he reclaimed third at La Source, and a move around the outside at Les Combes earned Bergmeister the lead before Shin returned the favour on lap four. Similarly, Simonazzi reclaimed third at La Source on lap five only to be re-overtaken through Eau Rouge.

On lap six Benavides went down Bergmeister’s inside at Le Combes for second, then used the outside to overtake Shin on lap eight for another win. Bergmeister twice tried passing Shin on lap nine, before slipstreaming past on the penultimate lap.

Simonazzi tried attacking Bergmeister on lap 10 but went down Les Combes’ escape road, dropping him behind Revesz who had spent many laps trading position with Barrichello.

Rain fell before race three, requiring a safety car start. Simonazzi (with a suspected oil leak) and Brajnik were absent, and Xie had reversed-grid pole. Racing began on lap two, and Bergmeister spun from third at Pouhon. Revesz inherited the position but spun at turn 11 on lap three, putting Benavides in third behind Shin.

The top three kept their positions thereon, despite Xie visiting the gravel twice. Bergmeister fought past Revesz on lap seven, then after Barrichello had an off passed him on lap nine. Revesz overtook Barrichello as rain arrived late on.

Results round-up
Race 1 (13 laps)
1 Brad Benavides Motopark 28m55.457s
2 Jakob Bergmeister Motopark +2.731s
3 Levente Revesz Motopark +4.766s
4 Francesco Simonazzi BVM Racing +8.169s
5 Michael Shin Motopark +8.287s
6 Fernando Barrichello Motopark +11.710s
7 Gerrard Xie Motopark +23.437s
8 Paolo Brajnik NV Racing +1m00.369s
Pole: Simonazzi, 2m27.924s
Fastest lap: Revesz, 2m12.149s

Race 2 (13 laps)
1 Benavides 29m05.379s
2 Bergmeister +2.107s
3 Shin +2.587s
4 Revesz +3.227s
5 Simonazzi +5.587s
6 Barrichello +6.567s
7 Brajnik +1m42.064s
8 Xie +3 laps
FL: Simonazzi, 2m13.025s

Race 3 (13 laps)
1 Xie 31m23.421s
2 Shin +2.986s
3 Benavides +8.141s
4 Bergmeister +39.885s
5 Revesz +45.197s
6 Barrichello +46.080s
DNS Simonazzi
DNS Brajnik
FL: Brajnik, 2m27.522s

Championship standings
1 Benavides 193   2 Simonazzi 133   3 Bergmeister 122   Revesz 110   5 Shin 91   6 Barrichello 80   7 Lorenzo Fluxa 59   8 Xie 36   9 Brajnik 16