Elite Begin Second Half Of BRDC British F3 Series Fifth Overall

July 27, 2021

2018 Season

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Elite Motorsport begins the second half of its maiden BRDC British Formula 3 Championship at Snetterton next month placed an impressive fifth in the Teams’ standings.

Javier Sagrera Pont, Tom Lebbon and José Garfias lie sixth, eighth and 15th respectively after Rounds 10, 11 and 12 following their Spa-Francorchamps débuts last weekend (24-25 Jul).

Qualifying on Friday evening at the stunning 4.352-mile track in Belgium’s Ardennes region followed on from three practice sessions earlier in the day which saw at least two Elite drivers inside the top-10 in each. In the third, Lebbon was less than a tenth of a second off P3. 

In the 25mins time trials staged in sunny and dry conditions like practice, the fastest times for Lebbon, Sagrera Pont and Garfias were covered by 0.134secs. Tom, who recorded his quickest time on his final lap and Garfias, recorded their season’s best qualifying positions in sixth and eighth, sandwiching Sagrera Pont in seventh for Race 1. 

Due to another driver’s penalty, the Elite trio each moved up a place on the 16-car grid for Saturday’s Race 1, the track wet due to earlier rain necessitating wet “treaded” tyres for the 20mins race. Lebbon and Sagrera Pont both moved up a place on the opening lap while Garfias slipped to 10th in the slippery conditions. Tom was third on lap three but dropped to fourth on the penultimate lap, Sagrera Pont fell to P6 on the third lap, a position he retained to the chequered flag while Garfias, P9 on lap two, came home 13th. 

The Elite trio’s second fastest laps from qualifying saw Sagrera Pont, Lebbon and Garfias line-up fifth (despite a lap being disallowed for exceeding track limits as in Race 1 quali), eighth and 12th respectively – all opting for “used” slick tyres – for Saturday evening’s second race staged in dry, overcast weather conditions. Lebbon, who remained eighth despite running wide at La Source and over the kerbs after the green light, recovered from P11 to eighth place – less than a second behind Sagrera Pont who ran solidly after losing places early on. Garfias looked to be heading for good result but spun out of P10 on lap four and contacted the barriers at Les Combes.

For the “reverse” Race 3 grid on Sunday morning, Sagrera Pont, Lebbon and Garfias started from ninth, 10th and 14th positions under sunny skies. In an incident packed and battle-scarred nine-lap race, Lebbon recovered from 13th to eighth at the chequered flag. He ran as high as sixth but a damaged nose cone after contact with another car, which he subsequently received a 5secs penalty for from the stewards, restricted his pace from mid-distance and was ultimately classified 12th. Garfias netted 10th – one place ahead of Sagrera Pont who impressively ran sixth before unluckily being tapped into a spin at the end of lap five.

The Spa F3 event marked only the second time Elite Motorsport had competed at Spa. The Norfolk team established by Eddie Ives at the end of 2011, contested two Ginetta G40 Cup races in 2018 with Jamie Hopkins claiming class success. The next rounds of the BRDC British F3 Championship are staged at Elite’s “home” Snetterton circuit over 7-8 August. 

Eddie Ives, Team Owner & Manager:

“Spa was an eventful weekend. The team had good pace all weekend considering we had never been there with an F3 car."
“We had strong wet weather pace in Race 1 but all three drivers had a slice of bad luck in Races 2 & 3." 
“The team did a fantastic job all weekend. We had to take the gearbox apart in Javier’s car between Races 1 & 2 and then had to repair José’s car after Race 2. Then the outcome of Race 3 was disappointing for us."
“But with every race, we as a team are learning [about F3] as are our drivers. We’re all now really looking forward and focused on our ‘home’ F3 race at Snett in 10 days’ time.”