Lanan Racing’s Toby Sowery and Carlin’s Colton Herta took their first BRDC British Formula 3 Championship in association with Duo wins on Sunday at Brands Hatch, with victory in races two and three of the weekend (16/17 April) respectively. Sowery now leads the championship from Ricky Collard, who enjoyed a consistent day to move into second in the overall standings.
Brands Hatch basked in glorious sunshine as the BRDC British F3 field lined up for the first race of the day, and second of the weekend on the demanding Grand Prix circuit. Double R Racing’s Enzo Bortoleto started on pole position with HHC Motorsport’s Raoul Hyman for company on the front-row. The Brazilian made a good getaway to lead into Paddock whilst Hyman suffered an issue which led to his retirement. Toby Sowery took advantage of that to shoot around the outside of a number of drivers to find himself in second on the run-up to Druids, having started sixth. Collard also made up good places as he rose from seventh to fourth.
As the field headed on to the Grand Prix loop, Sowery closed on leader Bortoleto and a brave move down the inside on the run to Sheene secured him the lead. The Lanan Racing driver was soon streaking away into the distance as he led the field across the line at the end of lap one. Indian driver Tarun Reddy was in no mood to hang around and he was soon up to second, overtaking Bortoleto and putting him in the clutches of Collard behind.
A string of fastest laps helped Sowery ease away from Reddy, whilst he in turn managed to build a comfortable advantage over Bortoleto and the chasing pack, which now contained Douglas Motorsport’s Thomas Randle behind Collard, as the half-way stage approached.
The order up front remained the same as the race headed into its final moments but both Collard and Randle looked racy as they attempted to claim the final podium spot. Bortoleto defended well however and despite Randle showing his nose to Collard into Paddock on a number of occasions, he had to settle for fifth, with Sowery coming home 9.413s clear of Reddy to take the win.
Race three of the weekend saw Colton Herta line up on pole position, having posted the fastest lap from across the first two races. He had Enaam Ahmed for company on the front-row whilst Sowery, who had qualified third, came into the pits at the end of the green flag lap, leaving a space clear on the grid behind Herta and Ahmed. Ricky Collard used that to his advantage when the lights went out as he rose from seventh on the grid to fourth through the first corner, as Herta maintained his advantage.
Collard soon set about making up further places and he was quickly past Double R Racing’s Matheus Leist for third, with HHC Motorsport’s Raoul Hyman also following him through. Sisa Ngebulana found his way into sixth as the fast-starting Thomas Randle claimed seventh spot.
There was to be yet another shuffle on lap three as Australian Randle showed great pace to overtake both Ngebulana and Leist, with the Brazilian dropping all the way down to 11th. At that stage it looked like the race was about to settle down into a rhythm but that changed as fourth-placed man Hyman ran wide at Westfields and spun back across the track, hitting the barrier hard. As his car bounced back across the circuit, Tarun Reddy in eighth made contact with the HHC car and sustained heavy damage. Thankfully, with the FIA F3-safety standards in-built in the carbon-fibre Tatuus chassis, both drivers were able to get out of their cars as the red flags flew.
Once the debris was cleared, the race was restarted with five laps remaining and Colton Herta was challenged into Paddock by Collard, but managed to resist his team-mate and keep the lead. Randle was comfortable in third and the order stayed the same with Herta taking the chequered flag 0.573s clear of Collard, with Randle a further 0.755s back in third. Sowery mounted a strong recovery drive to claim 13th, and eight valuable points in the championship battle.
Last year’s British GT4 Champion Ross Gunn presented the trophies on the podium to the top-three and Herta commented: “My weekend started off with tears in qualifying but ended in smiles and I am really happy to be standing on the podium with victory. My race two issues were perhaps a blessing in disguise as it let the guys at Carlin get the car fixed in the pit lane, which was amazing, and then to set the fastest lap which got me pole for race three was awesome. Ricky got a good start at the restart but luckily I managed to hold him off as he was charging hard.”
Toby Sowery now leads the championship standings on 127 points with Collard up to second with 108 points. After his stunning drive in the final race of the weekend, Randle is in third on 93 points, just one ahead of Matheus Leist and Enaam Ahmed.
BRDC British Formula 3 – Brands Hatch GP – Race Two Top-10
1. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, 14 Laps
2. Tarun Reddy, Fortec Motorsports, +9.413s
3. Enzo Bortoleto, Double R Racing, +12.985s
4. Ricky Collard, Carlin, +13.169s
5. Thomas Randle, Douglas Motorsport, +13.328s
6. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, +13.981s
7. Al Faisal Al Zubair, Fortec Motorsports, +14.856s
8. Thomas Maxwell, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +15.469s
9. Eugene Denyssen, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +16.537s
10. Quinlan Lall, Chris Dittmann Racing, +17.288s
Click here for full results.
BRDC British Formula 3 – Brands Hatch GP – Race Three Top-10
1. Colton Herta, Carlin, 5 Laps
2. Ricky Collard, Carlin, +0.573s
3. Thomas Randle, Douglas Motorsport, +1.328s
4. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, +2.213s
5. Aleksanteri Huovinen, Double R Racing, +3.166s
6. Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Chris Dittmann Racing, +6.726s
7. Thomas Maxwell, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +6.827s
8. Quinlan Lall, Chris Dittmann Racing, +8.015s
9. Akhil Rabindra, Lanan Racing, +9.946s
10. Al Faisal Al Zubair, Fortec Motorsports, +10.106s
Click here for full results.
2016 BRDC British Formula 3 Standings after race six of 24
1. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, 127 points
2. Ricky Collard, Carlin, 108 points
3. Thomas Randle, Douglas Motorsport, 93 points
4. Matheus Leist, Double R Racing, 92 points
=. Enaam Ahmed, Douglas Motorsport, 92 points
6. Aleksanteri Huovinen, Double R Racing,91 points
7. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, 88 points
8. Thomas Maxwell, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, 76 points
9. Enzo Bortoleto, Double R Racing, 75 points
10. Lando Norris, Carlin, 74 points
Click here for full championship standings.
For more information on the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, visit www.britishf3.com.