Alcaraz aces Interlagos!
A hotly contested second season of the Apex Racing Academy F3 VRS Super Series (ARA F3) headed to Interlagos for round three of the championship. So far, a packed grid of single seater stars have grappled for victories at Road America and Brands Hatch. In the early stages of the season, Raoul Hyman and Aleix Alcaraz have emerged as championship frontrunners. However, an eager support cast of potential protagonists loom close behind.
Max Bartolotta started the second heat on pole alongside Brands Hatch winner, Aleix Alcaraz. A marginally quicker getaway gave Alcaraz the lead on the exit of the Senna S. Bartolotta behind Alcaraz, with Carl Modoff at the back of the three-car train. Sadly, the slightest contact sparked a chaotic accident. A tap from Modoff’s front wing to the rear Hankook tyre of Bartolotta’s Dallara, sent the Italian bouncing off the wall and immediately into the path of the chasing pack.
Aleix Alcaraz pressed ahead with chaos unfolding in his mirrors. A classy drive from the Spaniard produced a heat race win and a front row start – alongside Hyman – for the feature. Although in separate heats, the time sheets indicated that Hyman and Alcaraz’s pace was identical. Game on for the feature race.
Road America winner, Raoul Hyman, qualified on pole position for the opening heat. Less than a tenth of a second from Hyman were the trio of Bartolotta, Kelly and Alcaraz. Super Swede, Viktor Andersson, was eleventh fastest overall and top of the AM class.
Rapid young Irishman, Jordan Kelly, joined Hyman on the front row of the grid for the opening heat. Twenty-two cars lined up for the opening fifteen-minute dash, only the top twelve finishers would receive a feature race invitation. For those outside the cut line, the perilous consolation race loomed.
A pristine performance from Raoul Hyman delivered a feature race front row start. Jordan Kelly rebuffed speedy Spaniard, Vitolo Garcia, and claimed second place. On a day where Viktor Andersson rubbed shoulders with the PRO class elite, the Swede claimed fifth overall and comfortable qualification for the feature.
Although Carl Modoff escaped unharmed from the contact with Bartolotta, a tiny mistake in the final moments of the race cost the America automatic entry to the feature. Stepping a wheel onto the grass on the exit of Juncao, Modoff’s Dallara ploughed into the wall. Modoff’s error promoted Arthur Fry and Stephen Varady to second and third, respectively.
Not to be outdone by his AM class rival, Viktor Andersson, John Gordon finished sixth overall and AM class winner.
Twenty cars lined up for the consolation race, only six would progress to the feature. Notably, Carl Modoff started back in twelfth. Heat two pole polesitter, Max Bartolotta, started twentieth.
Less than four minutes into the ten-minute sprint, Modoff motored through to the lead. No one could live with Modoff’s pace and the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge mechanic sped to the win. David Macdonald, Brett Punkari, David Holland, Khanh Nguyen and John Vogel followed Modoff home and claimed their spots in the feature race.
With sunset looming over Interlagos, thirty Dallara F3 machines gathered on the grid for the twenty-minute feature race. Fittingly, round one and two victors – Raoul Hyman and Aleix Alcaraz – started on the front row.
Despite maintaining the lead throughout the opening sector, Hyman’s Brands Hatch blunder continued to haunt him. Unforced errors at Bico de Pato and Juncao sent Hyman down the order and facing a recovery drive back into the points. Hyman eventually recovered to fifth but left the Briton ruing what might have been.
Meanwhile at the front, Alcaraz and Arthur Fry duelled for the lead. In doing so, inviting Vitolo Garcia to join the party. Whilst Garcia and Fry bickered over second place, Alcaraz made his escape and sped to the win.
With five minutes remaining, Arthur Fry’s valiant podium charge ended abruptly. Hanging around the outside of Garcia at Ferradura, Fry was exposed. A slight touch between Hankook tyres sent Fry into the barrier and out of the race.
In the closing stages of this stunning motor race, David Holland deployed every call in his playbook to overhaul Garcia. However, the Spaniard resisted and claimed second place, ahead of Holland.
Drive of the day must go to Carl Modoff. From twenty-fifth on the grid, the American ace sliced through the pack to finish fourth. Sensational Swede, Viktor Andersson, completed a dream day at Interlagos with a sixth-place finish overall and a dominant AM class triumph.
On Saturday the twenty-eighth of November, Mount Panorama Circuit at Bathurst hosts round four of the ARA F3 series. Tune in to Apex Racing TV at 8pm GMT to see who will be king of the mountain.