Home Featured Smolyar victorious for ART in FIA F3 opener at Barcelona

Smolyar victorious for ART in FIA F3 opener at Barcelona

by Bethonie Waring

Photo: Formula Motorsport Limited

Alexander Smolyar won the opening FIA Formula 3 Championship race of the season in Barcelona – the first under the category’s new three-race format.

The ART Grand Prix driver was coming under pressure from Clement Novalak in the final laps of the race, but a late safety car denied Novalak the chance to go for the race win.

With the top 12 from qualifying reversed to form the race one grid, Smolyar started from second alongside polesitter Johnny Edgar but immediately came under pressure from Caio Collet. He managed to shake the MP Motorsport driver, who was then drawn into a battle with Novalak and Logan Sargeant, and closed the gap to Edgar.

As soon as DRS was enabled, Smolyar was on the attack, sweeping past the Red Bull-backed Carlin driver to take the race lead. Edgar tried to fight back a lap later and the two came close to touching when Edgar locked up while trying to make a move, but he couldn’t get back through. Smolyar managed to break the tow to Edgar and extended a gap at the front of the field.

Edgar was soon joined by Collet, who had put up a good defence early in the race to maintain third position. Collet tried to challenge Edgar for second, but a wide moment allowed Trident driver Novalak to sweep through to take third.

Novalak soon snatched second from Edgar around the outside of the first corner and was closing the gap to Smolyar when the safety car was brought out with two laps remaining, after Oliver Rasmussen clipped the curb and ran into the gravel at high speed at the final corner. The HWA driver hit the barriers and was unable to get going again.

With the race having already been cut short by a lap after Ido Cohen stopped on the formation lap, Rasmussen’s car couldn’t be cleared in time for a restart and the race ended behind the safety car, allowing Smolyar to maintain take his maiden F3 win.

Collet held off a charging Logan Sargeant to take third, with the Charouz driver immediately improving upon the team’s previous best F3 finish of seventh.

Sargeant’s team-mate Enzo Fittipaldi also had a strong race. He started P18, but climbed up through the order to take P12, earning pole position for the second race of the weekend. David Schumacher will start alongside him.

Edgar dropped back to fifth, finishing ahead of the battling Olli Caldwell, Frederick Vesti and Dennis Hauger, with Victor Marins and Matteo Nannini completing the top 10.

Race results (21 laps)

Pos Name Team Time
1 Alexander Smolyar ART Grand Prix 36m23.523s
2 Clement Novalak Trident +1.591s
3 Caio Collet MP Motorsport +1.951s
4 Logan Sargeant Charouz Racing System +2.130
5 Jonny Edgar Carlin +2.494
6 Olli Caldwell Prema +2.857
7 Frederik Vesti ART Grand Prix +3.481
8 Dennis Hauger Prema +3.819
9 Victor Martins MP Motorsport +4.120
10 Matteo Nannini HWA Racelab +4.543
11 David Schumacher Trident +4.973
12 Enzo Fittipaldi Charouz Racing System +5.320
13 Jak Crawford Hitech GP +5.716
14 Ayumu Iwasa Hitech GP +6.232
15 Juan Manuel Correa ART Grand Prix +7.210
16 Roman Stanek Hitech GP +7.754
17 Jack Doohan Trident +10.095
18 Calan Williams Jenzer Motorsport +10.349
19 Rafael Villagomez HWA Racelab +11.270
20 Reshad de Gerus Charouz Racing System +11.864
21 Tijmen van der Helm MP Motorsport +13.444
22 Kaylen Frederick Carlin +13.925
23 Lorenzo Colombo Campos Racing +14.171
24 Pierre-Louis Chovet Jenzer Motorsport +18.083
25 Filip Ugran Jenzer Motorsport +18.384
26 Amaury Cordeel Campos Racing +20.506
27 Laszlo Toth Campos Racing +21.031
28 Arthur Leclerc Prema +21.452
29 Ido Cohen Carlin +38.072
Ret Oliver Rasmussen HWA Racelab
Fastest lap: Smolyar, 1m36.665s

Championship standings
Smolyar 17   2 Novalak 12   3 Collet 10   4 Sargeant 8   5 Hauger 7   6 Edgar 6   7 Caldwell 5   8 Vesti 4   9 Martins 2   10 Nannini 1