British Formula 3

British F3: The Championship returns to Spa

Featured Image Credit: @JakobEbrey

This weekend BRDC British F3 returned to the iconic track of Spa-Francorchamps after a year away due to COVID. With typical Spa conditions of rain, the weekend favoured Zac O’Sullivan, who was once again looking to extend his championship lead from Reece Ushijima who received a 5 place grid penalty after his collision with O’Sullivan Donington. 

Qualifying

It was Australian driver Bart Horsten who not only took pole, but took his first-ever double pole in British F3 in the last 5 minutes of qualifying, stealing the position from championship leader Zac O’Sullivan. The Carlin driver was joined by his teammate, Christian Mansel, on the second row of the grid, alongside newcomer Roman Bilinski, who joined Arden for a second weekend after moving from British F4 to British F3.

Race one Grid

  1. Bart Horsten, Hitech GP, 2m19.311s
  2. Zak O’Sullivan, Carlin, +0.045s
  3. Christian Mansell, Carlin, +0.213s
  4. Roman Bilinski, Arden Motorsport, +0.234s
  5. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, +0.320s*
  6. Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport, +0.461s
  7. Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport, +0.526s
  8. Jose Garfias, Elite Motorsport, +0.595s
  9. Sebastian Alvarez, Hitech GP, +0.606s
  10. Bryce Aron, Carlin, +0.894s
  11. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, +0.994s
  12. Hunter Yeany, Fortec Motorsports, +0.997s
  13. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports, +1.371s
  14. Mikkel Grundtvig, Fortec Motorsports, +2.286s
  15. Reema Juffali, Douglas Motorsport, +2.545s
  16. Max Marzorati, Chris Dittmann Racing, +3.184s

* Will carry a five-place grid penalty for race three incident at Donington Park

Race two Grid

  1. Bart Horsten, Hitech GP, 2m19.448s
  2. Zak O’Sullivan, Carlin, +0.084s
  3. Christian Mansell, Carlin, +0.168s
  4. Roman Bilinski, Arden Motorsport, +0.223s
  5. Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport, +0.437s
  6. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, +0.446s
  7. Sebastian Alvarez, Hitech GP, +0.617s
  8. Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport, +0.718s
  9. Bryce Aron, Carlin, +0.902s
  10. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, +0.980s
  11. Hunter Yeany, Fortec Motorsports, +1.154s
  12. Jose Garfias, Elite Motorsport, +1.218s
  13. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports, +1.240s
  14. Mikkel Grundtvig, Fortec Motorsports, +2.238s
  15. Reema Juffali, Douglas Motorsport, +2.650s
  16. Max Marzorati, Chris Dittmann Racing, +3.456s

Race three grid:

  1. Max Marzorati, Chris Dittmann Racing
  2. Reema Juffali, Douglas Motorsport
  3. Mikkel Grundtvig, Fortec Motorsports
  4. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports
  5. Hunter Yeany, Fortec Motorsports
  6. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing
  7. Bryce Aron, Carlin
  8. Sebastian Alvarez, Hitech GP
  9. Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport
  10. Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport
  11. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP
  12. Roman Bilinski, Arden Motorsport
  13. Christian Mansell, Carlin
  14. Jose Garfias, Elite Motorsport*
  15. Zak O’Sullivan, Carlin
  16. Bart Horsten, Hitech GP

*Five place grid penalty for race two incident – causing a collision

Race 1 – Round 10

After a morning of rain, the first race of the weekend started with everyone on wet tyres. Off the line, it was O’Sullivan in P2 who had the best start with Horsten behind. Both Horsten and O’Sullivan took turns leading the race before O’Sullivan took P1 and Mansell overtook Horsten to take P2, dropping the Hitech down to P3.

Lap 2 brought Mansell fighting O’Sullivan for the race lead, using the tow he got from behind, he tried to make the move stick but his teammate was too fast. Lap 3 saw Horsten lose out to Tom Lebbon for P3 and saw the battle for 1st carry on. Further down the field Javier Sagrera and Roman Bilinski were fighting it out, wheel to wheel to take P5. With Balinski being run off the track, he rejoined and the elbows came out. At the end of Lap 3, Balinski was able to use his reputation of being a hard driver to make the move stick as they went up Eau Rouge. 

After a 4 lap battle, Mansel got past O’Sullivan to take the lead of the race and immediately created a gap between the two. Balinski continued to storm through the grid, overtaking Horsten on lap 5 to take P4, the pole position setter was now down to P5. He was back to fight on lap 7, overtaking Lebbon up the Kemmel straight to take his first podium in his second weekend of British F3.  

As the flag was waved, Mansel was able to create a 4.4s gap from O’Sullivan in P2 and Bilinski rounded off the top 3.

  1. Christian Mansell, Carlin, 8 laps
  2. Zak O’Sullivan, Carlin, +4.462s
  3. Roman Bilinski, Arden, +13.575s
  4. Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport, +16.383s
  5. Bart Horsten, Hitech GP, +21.096s
  6. Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport, +21.905s
  7. Sebastian Alvarez, Hitech GP, +26.157s
  8. Hunter Yeany, Fortec Motorsports, +26.454s
  9. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, +26.974s
  10. Bryce Aron, Carlin, +27.287s
  11. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, +29.769s
  12. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports, +30.576s
  13. Jose Garfias, Elite Motorsport, +31.527s
  14. Mikkel Grundtvig, Fortec Motorsports, +32.157s
  15. Reema Juffali, Douglas Motorsport, +37.862s
  16. Max Marzorati, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1m05.515s

After the first race, Carlin’s Christian Mansell said: “It’s a pretty special feeling to win at this place. It’s such a great circuit and I’m really, really happy.

“At the start of the race I was just biding my time, seeing where he [O’Sullivan] was stronger or weaker, and then he made a mistake at Bruxelles and I capitalised on that. It was really good for me.

“I do enjoy a bit of rain, it’s quite nice to me and I enjoy it a lot.”

Image credit: @JakobEbrey

Race 2 – Round 11

Once again it was O’Sullivan and Mansell who were best off the line as soon as the lights went out, with the majority of the grid running wide Horsten led from the first lap. After gaining a double tow, Balinski gained 2 places to take P2 on the opening lap and managed to take the lead of the race on lap 2. 

On lap 3, race winner from the morning, Mansell had dropped down to P5 after being overtaken by Ushijima. Both fighting to make the move stick, they took turns claiming P4. However, before Horsten could make another move on Mansel who had got in front, Jose Garfias’ race ended early after going airborne and ending in the barriers with a broken rear wing. 

By Lap 5 the top 3 were covered by only a second and it was all to play for between Bilinski, Horsten and O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan continued to put pressure on Horsten and by the start of lap 6 managed to make a move and caused the Australian to have a big lock-up and inherit P3. On lap 8 of the race, Ushijima received a 5 second time penalty for track limits but after the race, it was decided that this decision was no longer in place.

O’Sullivan continued to push Balinski to take the lead of the race lap 8, with Balinski weaving to break any tow. The battle had also been back on between Mansell and Horsten with Mansell finally being able to make the move stick on the last lap of the race. As they crossed the finish line Balinski took his first BRDC British F3 win in his second weekend in the series, O’Sullivan had to settle for P2 and Mansell rounded off the podium places to take P3, with pole setter Horsten finishing in P4.

  1. Roman Bilinski, Arden Motorsport, 9 laps
  2. Zak O’Sullivan, Carlin, +0.866s
  3. Christian Mansell, Carlin, +2.686s
  4. Bart Horsten, Hitech GP, +3.424s
  5. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, +7.017s
  6. Sebastian Alvarez, Hitech GP, +8.157s
  7. Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport, +8.727s
  8. Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport, +9.725s
  9. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports, +12.909s
  10. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, +13.352s
  11. Bryce Aron, Carlin, +19.067s
  12. Reema Juffali, Douglas Motorsport, +27.368s
  13. Mikkel Grundtvig, Fortec Motorsports, +30.911s
  14. Max Marzorati, Chris Dittmann Racing, +55.305s
  15. Hunter Yeany, Fortec Motorsports, +1m24.184s

DNF. Jose Garfias, Elite Motorsport, 3 laps completed

On his first BRDC British F3 win, Roman Bilinski has said: “I’m lost for words, thank you so much to the team, the car was absolutely amazing. I can’t really describe how I’m feeling right now, a lot of hard work has gone in to this and it makes that win a lot sweeter.

“It maybe didn’t look like I was under much pressure, but I can tell you for sure I’ve never felt pressure like that before, it was unreal. I was kind of hoping the race would end sooner just so it could be over!”

Image credit: @JakobEbrey

Race 3 – Round 12

As the lights went out for the final time of the weekend at Spa, Reema Juffali who started in P2 had the better lead off the line and took control of the race over Max Marzorati. But it wasn’t long before Mickel Grundtvig took advantage of the slipstream behind the Douglas and took over P1. Championship leader O’Sullivan started the race in P15 and ended the first lap in P9. 

On lap 5, the fight was between Ushijima and Juffali for P3. As they rounded the corner side by side, Ushijima was able to make the move stick, but ultimately Juffali ended up in the tyre wall at Fagnes. Ending her race prematurely. But the drama was not over as on the final corner of the circuit Sagrera was spun around with damage to his car. 

Lap 9 saw the change in the race lead with Faria breaking deeply to get past Grundtvig and immediately breaking ground and creating a gap. At the same time, the fight for the last podium place was between Ushijima and Yeany. With Ushijima looking to add more championship points, he swiped right across the front of Yeany with the help of a tow. Championship leader O’Sullivan and CDR Driver Marzorati received a 5 second time penalty for track limits. 

As the checkered flag was waved for the final time of the weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, Faria took the top step of the podium for the first time in his British F3 career Grundtvig taking P2 and Ushijima taking the fastest lap of the race and P3.  

  1. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports, 9 laps
  2. Mikkel Grundtvig, Fortec Motorsports, +1.605s
  3. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, +2.336s
  4. Hunter Yeany, Fortec Motorsports, +2.987s
  5. Roman Bilinski, Arden Motorsport, +5.024s
  6. Christian Mansell, Carlin, +6.226s
  7. Zak O’Sullivan, Carlin, +11.778s
  8. Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport, +11.988s
  9. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, +12.099s
  10. Bart Horsten, Hitech GP, +12.419s
  11. Jose Garfias, Elite Motorsport, +14.935s
  12. Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport, +16.220s
  13. Max Marzorati, Chris Dittmann Racing, +23.871s
  14. Bryce Aron, Carlin, +1m03.160s
  15. Sebastian Alvarez, Hitech GP, +2m18.542s

DNF. Reema Juffali, Douglas Motorsport, 4 laps completed

Image credit: @JakobEbrey

BRDC British F3 continues at Snetterton 300 from 7th to 8th August.

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