The British F3 championship took a road trip to Europe this weekend to conquer the historic Spa-Francorchamps circuit. In a tenacious performance, James Pull gave a storming drive through the field to claim another podium and a healthy haul of points.
Taking to the track for qualifying on Friday morning, encouraged by his pace in practice James Pull geared up to fight for pole position. Circulating the Belgian circuit on his siting lap, it wasn’t long before he realised he had a mechanical problem with the camber in his rear right wheel. With time ticking down, the Carlin team fixed the issue, only for it to re-occur as James rejoined the qualifying session. This left the 17-year-old to start Race One from the back of the grid as he was not able to set a time. Never one to pass up a challenge, the resolute young driver looked forward to pushing through the field in his debut at Spa-Francochamps.
Starting 17th, the Belgian crowds were treated to a herculean effort from the British driver as he powered by his rivals to claim seven places on only the first lap. Back in the thick of the action, James relentlessly charged after O’Keeffe and Owen ahead. Capitalising on every opportunity, James fought his way through to take 8th at the chequered flag, climbing nine places from his back-row start. His determined efforts were rewarded with pole position for Race 2.
With a clear view ahead and great traction off the line, James led into the tight right-hander at La Source, before wasting no time at all in building a comfortable lead over the second place driver by the end of lap one. Confident in his Carlin-engineered machine, James led the pack around the 7km ribbon of tarmac, maintaining a strong 3 second gap to the cars behind. After championship rival Ahmed found a way by Das, the battle for the lead was on, both Carlin drivers engaged in a tense battle to the flag. With just one lap remaining, without the benefit of a tow on the Kemmel Straight, James had to settle for second place. But off the back of a hard-earned reverse of fortune, James was happy to be back fighting for the win:
“I really wasn’t expecting to be on the podium today after yesterday’s qualifying session, but obviously race one was awesome. Today I got a great start from pole and was able to build a gap over Cameron and I knew I just had to stay as consistent as possible. Most of the race was really good but Enaam was just faster once he got in my tow, at which point I really couldn’t do anything. It’s a shame to lead for the majority of the race and lose it, so naturally I’m disappointed with P2 but at the same it’s not a bad result either.”
Starting fifth on the grid for the final foray of the weekend, James set about clinching another haul of points to keep his edge in the championship fight. Losing out to Hingeley at lights out, James locked into a battle with Das, the Carlin teammates fighting for fifth and sixth respectively. Taking the place, James put the power down in pursuit of fourth place, pulling off a superb overtake on O’Keeffe to cross the line in another strong points paying performance.
In a formidable recovery throughout three thrilling races, James Pull proved his determination and commitment, to collect 56 championship points and is still riding high at 3rd in the Championship. The BRDC F3 Championship returns on 5th-6th August at Brands Hatch, where James Pull looks to continue his hot pursuit of the championship title at one of his favourite circuits