This weekend, the GB3 championship took to Donington Park for a weekend of racing. Ready for rounds 7,8 and 9 of the championship and the sun shining, it was time for qualifying at the Derby-based track.
It was a tight battle between Joel Grandfors and Matthew Rees to take pole position in race 1, with just 0.019s between the two, but it was Grandfors who took the fastest time and the first space on the grid. However, the Fortec driver had to settle for P3 in race 2.
Securing P3 in race 1, Callum Voisin took P2 in the second race of the weekend with his second fastest time. Max Esterson had to settle for P4 in the first race, but secured pole position for the second race on Sunday morning.
Race 1 Grid:
- Joel Granfors, Fortec Motorsport, 1m22.745s
- Matthew Rees, JHR Developments, +0.019s
- Callum Voisin, Carlin, +0.142s
- Max Esterson, Douglas Motorsport, +0.147s
- Alex Connor, Arden Motorsport, +0.168s
- Luke Browning, Hitech GP, +0.204s
- Roberto Faria, Carlin, +0.290s
- James Hedley, Elite Motorsport, +0.478s
- Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport, +0.519s
- Nico Christodoulou, Arden Motorsport, +0.539s
- Javier Sagrera, Carlin, +0.653s
- McKenzy Cresswell, Chris Dittmann Racing, +0.848s
- Marcos Flack, Douglas Motorsport, +0.852s
- Cian Shields, Hitech GP, +1.004s
- John Bennett, Elite Motorsport, +1.030s
- Zak Taylor, Fortec Motorsport, +1.062s
- David Morales, Arden Motorsport, +1.073s
- Tommy Smith, Douglas Motorsport, +1.230s
- Branden Oxley, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1.357s
- Mikkel Grundtvig, Fortec Motorsport, +1.426s
- Bryce Aron, Hitech GP, +1.454s
- Nick Gilkes, Hillspeed, +2.514s
Race 2 Grid:
- Esterson, 1m22.893s
- Voisin, +0.046s
- Granfors, +0.060s
- Rees, +0.079s
- Connor, +0.097s
- Browning, +0.102s
- Hedley, +0.358
- Lebbon, +0.378s
- Faria, +0.410s
- Christodoulou, +0.516s
- Sagrera, +0.527s
- Flack, +0.706s
- Cresswell, +0.721s
- Bennett, +0.988s
- Smith, +1.111s
- Shields, +1.157s
- Taylor, +1.228s
- Grundtvig, +1.286s
- Morales, +1.302s
- Aron, +1.322s
- Oxley, +1.412s
- Gilkes, +6.438
Race 3 Grid:
- Bryce Aron, Hitech GP
- Mikkel Grundtvig, Fortec Motorsport
- Branden Oxley, Chris Dittmann Racing
- Tommy Smith, Douglas Motorsport
- David Morales, Arden Motorsport
- Zak Taylor, Fortec Motorsport
- John Bennett, Elite Motorsport
- Cian Shields, Hitech GP
- Marcos Flack, Douglas Motorsport
- McKenzy Cresswell, Chris Dittmann Racing
- Javier Sagrera, Carlin
- Nico Christodoulou, Arden Motorsport
- Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport
- James Hedley, Elite Motorsport
- Roberto Faria, Carlin
- Luke Browning, Hitech GP
- Alex Connor, Arden Motorsport
- Max Esterson, Douglas Motorsport
- Callum Voisin, Carlin
- Matthew Rees, JHR Developments
- Joel Granfors, Fortec Motorsport
- Nick Gilkes, Hillspeed
Lap 1 started with Voisin leading Faria and Esterton moving up to P3 with Rees dropping down the order. However, as the pack arrived at McLean’s corner, championship leaders Grandfors and Browning collided, with one car losing one of its front wheels and the other part of the front wing and both drivers out of the competition. Sagrera was the next to lose out and his race ended early.
With the cars residing at the side of the track, racing was back on with Voisin leading by 2.2s. If things hadn’t been bad enough for Rees, he was then handed a 10-second penalty for a false start whilst Esterston was holding out for third.
Glikes was the next driver to drop out of the race on lap 8. The next lap saw Esterson closing in on Faria and was only 0.3s behind on lap 10. As the checkered flag was waved for the first time at Donington Park for the weekend, Voisin took his first GB3 win alongside teammate Faria and Esterton also took his maiden GB3 podium.
“I’m pretty speechless right now. I got a decent start, but the other two in front – Rees managed to get just alongside Granfors – but then they collided at McLeans and I managed to slip through without any problems.
“From then on it was just managing the tyres and managing that gap. I’m over the moon. [The incident ahead] all happened quite quickly. It was one of their fault, but I don’t know who but we’ll see later I guess.”
Image credit: @JakobEbrey
On the second day of the race weekend, the cars lined up for the start of the second race of the weekend at Donington Park. After taking his first GB3 podium the day before, Esterton started at the front of the grid with Voisin and Grandfors starting behind. The challenge started immediately for Esterston as Voisin had a great start and challenged the American driver before going wide, giving Esterston the advantage. He lead on the first lap from Browning and Grandfors with Morales having to pit for a new front wing.
Lap 4 saw Connor sticking a move and moving around Sagrera to take P9 in the race. Going wide at the old hairpin, Voisin lost out on P7 to rees on lap 7 at Donington Park. Oxley was the first car of the race to be given a 5 second time penalty for track limits.
After a fiery battle between Esterston and Browning to take the race win. Esterson maintained his lead and won his maiden GB3 race at Donington Park, the same weekend that he achieved his first podium. Browning had to settle for second with Grandfors taking P2.
“This feels great, I mean it was a pretty straightforward race. I got a decent launch off the line and had a bit of a battle into the Old Hairpin but managed to hold on. From there I was just looking forward as it’s very difficult to pass unless the leader makes a mistake, so as long as I didn’t make a mistake I knew it would be pretty easy.
“Once you get the start and you’re in the lead, it’s pretty hard to lose it unless you make a big mistake, and that was the key to it all.”
Image credit: @JakobEbrey
For the final race of the weekend at Donington Park, Hitech GP’s Bryce Aron started at the front of the grid and was joined by Mikkel Grundtvig in P2 and Branden Oxley in P3. Off the line Oxley took P2 and Smith followed him up into third with Faria losing his front wing and having to pit on the first lap after running over a chicane. Lap 3 saw Browning lose out to Connor and Lebbon sliding off into the gravel trap at Coppice but soon re-entered the track.
Lap 5 saw positions 5 – 11 all with less than a second between the driver in front, with battles coming in left, right and centre. Finally, a few laps later, the grid began to settle down for the second half of the race.
On lap 8 Shields lost his front wing on the approach to Schwantz, causing yellow flags in that sector of the track. Creswell was the next driver to pick up damage to his front wing, but the incidents were not over yet. Taylor pushed Morales into the pit lane exit boards, causing another front wing to be damaged and the American to be stuck in the Redgate gravel trap. As the checkered flag was waved for the final time at Donington Park, Bryce Aron took the top step of the podium and was joined by Branden Oxley and Mikkel Gruntavig.
Read all about the 2022 GB3 partnered by the BRDC season here.