Holland stars in Spa
Already at the penultimate round, the Apex Racing Academy F3 VRS Super Series (ARA F3) heads to motor racing nirvana-Circuit de Spa Francorchamps. Revered by many top drivers as the ultimate Grand Prix test on earth. Who would enjoy a blissful Spa day in the Belgian countryside?
Raoul Hyman heads to Spa with a point to prove. Always rapid in qualifying and in the heats, the South African born star has made crucial errors in feature races. However, on arrival to the penultimate round, Hyman was greeted with some positive news. Championship leader, Aleix Alcaraz, was not present. Hyman needed no reminder of the opportunity this represented.
Hyman continued his qualifying superiority and clinched yet another pole position. Deltasport U4K’s terrific trio of Holland, Modoff and Herbigneaux nestled behind Hyman on the timesheets. AM class revelation, Viktor Andersson, had a new pretender to worry about. Brian Kroon edged out the Swedish star, qualifying ninth overall and fastest in class.
Hyman and Modoff lined up on the front row with sixteen Dallara F3 machines poised behind. Only twelve cars would progress to the coveted feature race. The rest would face the perilous feature race.
In trademark style, Raoul Hyman converted pole position into another imperious heat race victory. Further behind, the rest of the pack fought for the remaining podium spots. During the opening laps, Carl Modoff and Vincenzo Carchedi duked for second place. However, the tussle quickly came to a head at Les Combes on lap two. As Carchedi’s Dallara began to lose adhesion and therefore momentum, Modoff had nowhere to go and ploughed into his Italian rival. Both Modoff and Carchedi now faced a frantic dash to clinch a top twelve finish and feature race invite.
Profiting from Modoff and Carchedi’s demise, David Macdonald and AM class leader, Brian Kroon, moved into the podium spots. Eventually, Kroon overcame his American adversary for second place. A remarkable drive from the Dutch ace.
A frustratingly inseparable pair – Modoff and Carchedi – continued their duel after pit lane repairs. Modoff and Carchedi engaged in another wheel-to-wheel tussle for the final spot in the feature race. Inevitably, contact ensued at the bus stop, leaving Carchedi limping to thirteenth. Modoff eventually struggled to tenth place. Bruised, but safely in the feature.
Delta Sport U4K stablemates, David Holland and Cristophe Herbigneaux lined up on the front row of the grid for the second heat. As Holland scampered off at the front, Herbigneaux and Max Bartolotta locked into a titanic struggle for second spot. Eventually, the Belgian overhauled the Italian.
Not to be outdone by the emerging AM star Brian Kroon, Viktor Andersson sparred with Stratos Kyrlagkitsis for fourth place. Showing race craft and wiliness far beyond his years, Andersson covered every move from Kyrlagkitsis to claim fourth.
For those unfortunate enough not to possess a feature race invitation, the consolation race loomed. Matt Caruana and Kevin Kittelman started on the front row of the grid for the ten-minute dash. After a disastrous heat, Vincenzo Carchedi started eleventh. Only six drivers would progress to the feature.
An all too familiar pile up at La Source, triggered by Mark Jones, claimed several drivers. For those slipping through the wreckage unscathed, the chances of feature race qualification increased manyfold. Deploying his devastating pace, Carchedi tore off to an easy win. Kittelman, Caruana, Holding, McMullen and Ward completed the feature race roll call. The rest boarded the midnight train home.
Following a short break, a thirty-strong field poised for the twenty-minute feature race. Raoul Hyman started on pole but had the company of David Holland on the front row. Holland’s heat race pace had been electric, so Hyman had his hands full. AM class revelation, Brian Kroon, started third.
Although Raoul Hyman darted off the line, the South African couldn’t hold the lead into Les Combes. A cunning manoeuvre from David Holland gave the American ace the lead. Ever the opportunist, Cristophe Herbigneaux also pounced on Hyman, pinching second place.
However, the complexion of the race was about to be transformed. An enormous, mid pack melee at Les Combes left several wrecked Dallaras strewn across the circuit. As a result, the Porsche 911 pace car was deployed and neutralised the field.
When the safety car pulled in, the drivers faced a five-minute dash for the win. Curiously, as David Holland made his getaway, Cristophe Herbigneaux stuttered on the exit of the bus stop. Stuck immediately behind Herbigneaux, was Raoul Hyman.
On the penultimate lap, Hyman capitalised on an error from Herbigneaux exiting Stavelot and moved by at the bus stop. Sadly, for Hyman, David Holland already escaped to the win. Nevertheless, Hyman’s performance at Spa had been a welcome return to feature race form. Fending off teammate Modoff, Herbigneaux held on to the final spot on the podium.
Brian Kroon’s dream day culminated in the AM class win and fifth overall. With Viktor Andersson mired back in eighteenth, Kroon’s AM class campaign remained alive.
On the twelfth of December, the Apex Racing Academy F3 VRS Super Series heads east to a venue synonymous with dramatic finales-Suzuka. Who could forget Damon Hill clinching the 1996 F1 World Championship as the great Murray Walker gushed “I’m going to have to stop, because I’ve got a lump in my throat.” Tune in to Apex Racing TV at 8pm GMT to catch all the live action of the season finale.