Double R Racing’s Matheus Leist took a controlled win in race one of the weekend at Brands Hatch having led the field away from pole position, coming home ahead of Carlin’s Ricky Collard and Lanan Racing’s Toby Sowery, who now assumes the championship lead with his third-place finish. There was plenty of drama behind the podium finishers however as a late race rain shower made the Grand Prix circuit slick, catching out a number of drivers and jumbling up the order.
A dry track greeted the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship in association with Duo field for the 20-minute qualifying session, but two early red flags caused by offs for Colton Herta and Aleksanteri Huovinen, disrupted the rhythm and effectively left a 10-minute shootout for pole.
South African Sisa Ngebulana held provisional pole with five minutes remaining but Collard soon jumped to the top of the timing screens with a 1m21.083s, just 0.079s ahead of Douglas Motorsport’s Enaam Ahmed. Collard improved yet further on his next lap but Matheus Leist saved his best till last and posted a 1m20.416s, just 0.191s clear of Collard, but good enough to give him pole position. HHC Motorsport’s Raoul Hyman, making his BRDC British F3 debut this weekend, took third ahead of Sowery, and Ahmed in fifth.
Overcast conditions prevailed at the start of race one and as the lights went out, Leist made a clean getaway to lead into Paddock Hill, with Collard getting excessive wheelspin off the line which left him defending from those behind. Toby Sowery made a strong start to jump Hyman and move into third through the first corner, but couldn’t get past Collard for second.
After three laps, the leading quintet of Leist, Collard, Sowery, Hyman and championship leader Enaam Ahmed had broken away from the rest of the pack, as sixth-placed man Sisa Ngebulana had an excursion through the gravel at Sheene, but held on to his position.
Having endured problems in qualifying and started at the back, Finnish racer Aleksanteri Huovinen and Carlin’s Colton Herta began making good progress through the field but Huovinen would soon come to grief as he ran wide at the exit of Stirlings and spun across the track, into the barrier and into retirement.
Enaam Ahmed, the championship leader heading into the race, pulled off the track as he ran fifth and retired, whilst up front Collard closed on Leist but couldn’t find a way past. As the field headed on to the final lap, rain began to fall and that caught out the HHC Motorsport pairing of Hyman and Ngebulana, with both skating off the track at Surtees, dropping Hyman down to seventh and Ngebulana 12th. That promoted Ameya Vaidyanathan up to fourth but he would run into trouble, crashing out on the final corner at Clearways and retiring just a few hundred metres short of the finish.
Matheus Leist took the chequered flag ahead of Collard and Sowery, with Douglas Motorsport’s Thomas Randle the biggest beneficiary of all the carnage to take fourth. Fortec Motorsports Tarun Reddy finished fifth ahead of his team-mate Al Faisal Al Zubair, Hyman claimed seventh, with Enzo Bortoleto taking eighth and reverse-grid race two pole position. Sean Walkinshaw Racing’s Thomas Maxwell was ninth with Colton Herta completing a strong recovery drive to finish 10th.
The top-three were presented with their trophies on the podium by Alex Moss, Chief Executive of BRDC British F3 associate sponsor Duo, and Leist commented: “It was a really difficult race. The first laps were tricky and the whole race was difficult as Ricky Collard was really quick behind me. I managed to have a great race though and take first position. The last lap was very slippery due to the rain but I managed to get it home so I’m really happy.”
With his third place finish, Toby Sowery moves into the championship lead on 94 points, with Leist just two points further back in second. With his retirement, Enaam Ahmed drops down to third on 81 points.
BRDC British Formula 3 – Brands Hatch GP – Qualifying Top-10
1. Matheus Leist, Double R Racing, 1m20.416s
2. Ricky Collard, Carlin, +0.191s
3. Raoul Hyman, HHC Motorsport, +0.218s
4. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, +0.557s
5. Enaam Ahmed, Douglas Motorsport, +0.621s
6. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, +0.819s
7. Ameya Vaidyanathan, Carlin, +0.934s
8. Ben Hingeley, HHC Motorsport, +0.988s
9. Thomas Randle, Douglas Motorsport, +1.115s
10. Tarun Reddy, Fortec Motorsports, +1.234s
Click here for full results.
BRDC British Formula 3 – Brands Hatch GP – Race One Top-10
1. Matheus Leist, Double R Racing, 16 Laps
2. Ricky Collard, Carlin, +1.748s
3. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, +2.591s
4. Thomas Randle, Douglas Motorsport, +22.169s
5. Tarun Reddy, Fortec Motorsports, +24.536s
6. Al Faisal Al Zubair, Fortec Motorsports, +29.647s
7. Raoul Hyman, HHC Motorsport, +29.979s
8. Enzo Bortoleto, Double R Racing, +31.930s
9. Thomas Maxwell, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +32.288s
10. Colton Herta, Carlin, +32.537s
Click here for full results.
2016 BRDC British Formula 3 Standings after race four of 24
1. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, 94 points
2. Matheus Leist, Double R Racing, 92 points
3. Enaam Ahmed, Douglas Motorsport, 81 points
4. Lando Norris, Carlin, 74 points
5. Aleksanteri Huovinen, Double R Racing, 64 points
6. Ricky Collard, Carlin, 61 points
7. Thomas Randle, Douglas Motorsport, 53 points
8. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, 52 points
9. Enzo Bortoleto, Double R Racing, 49 points
10. Thomas Maxwell, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, 48 points
Click here for full championship standings.
For more information on the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, visit www.britishf3.com.