This weekend the GB3 Grid took to Brands Hatch for the first time this year for the penultimate race weekend of this season. Leaving Silverstone in July, Joel Granfors was in the championship lead, however, he had the Hitech of Luke Browning and the Carlin of Callum Voisin to watch out for.
As we remember Her Majesty The Queen, a moment of silence was taken before the first race of the weekend to reflect on her incredible life and dedication to our country.
Tom Lebbon took double pole within the final few minutes of qualifying at Brands Hatch. However, the Elite Motorsport driver carried a 5-place grid penalty into this weekend from Silverstone so Matthew Rees took the front row for the first race of the weekend. All of the drivers were looking ready to go for the weekend with the top-15 within a second of each other, all setting great laps in qualifying.
For Callum Voisin and Mikel Grundtvig, it’s a qualifying session to forget as both drivers brought out the red flag and were not able to set second or competitive times.
Race 1 Grid:
- Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport, 1m18.721s
- Matthew Rees, JHR Developments, +0.028
- Joel Granfors, Fortec Motorsport, +0.337
- Luke Browning, Hitech GP, +0.384
- John Bennett, Elite Motorsport, +0.493
- Nico Christodoulou, Arden Motorsport, +0.526
- Max Esterson, Douglas Motorsport, +0.570
- Alex Connor, Arden Motorsport, +0.583
- Bryce Aron, Hitch GP, +0.595
- Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport, +0.643
- David Morales, Arden Motorsport, +0.702
- McKenzy Cresswell, Chris Dittmann Racing, +0.715
- James Hedley, JHR Developments, +0.770
- Roberto Faria, Carlin, +0.835
- Tommy Smith, Douglas Motorsport, +0.996
- Cian Shields, Hitech GP, +1.248
- Zak Taylor, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1.301
- Branden Oxley, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1.408
- Marcos Flack, Douglas Motorsport, +1.461
- Nick Gilkes, Hillspeed, +1.583
- Callum Voisin, Carlin, +6.480
- Mikkel Grundtvig, Fortec Motorsport, +15.094
Race 2 Grid:
- Lebbon, 1m18.813s
- Rees, +0.008s
- Granfors, +0.339s
- Browning, +0.384s
- Bennett, +0.524
- Connor, +0.527s
- Aron, +0.585s
- Sagrera, +0.603s
- Morales, +0.663s
- Christodoulou, +0.732s
- Esterson, +0.737s
- Hedley, +0.752s
- Cresswell, +0.798s
- Faria, +0.817s
- Smith, +1.098s
- Taylor, +1.293s
- Shields, +1.372s
- Flack, +1.384s
- Oxley, +1.433s
- Gilkes, +1.687s
- Voisin, no time
- Grundtvig, no time
With Matthew Rees starting on pole after Tom Lebbon took a 5-place grid penalty and the race declared wet with no rain, the lights went out for the first time this weekend. Immediately Rees took a 2-second lead off the pack with Browning behind and Granfors rounding off the top 3. With the top 13 staying in position for the first few laps, the action was happening behind with Voisin, Taylor and Faria overtaking Shields who dropped back to P17.
Lap 5 finally saw the rain and Voisin moved up the pack to P11 on lap 7. In the meantime, Browning was constantly chipping away at Rees’ lead with the gap under a second by lap 7. By Lap 9, Browning had the gap down to 0.653s and was looking to make a race-winning move. The moment never came for Browning and Rees and JHR took their maiden GB3 win.
“I’m quite happy with it. Getting that launch off the line was the best thing we could’ve done. Obviously just getting the first corner right and pulling away, we managed two or three seconds on that lap. Just controlling the tyres, controlling the race as we did, Luke was a bit faster than me but being able to control the gap, control the tyres, not fall off that peak, I think that was the reason why we won today.
“I worried a touch about the rain because in the middle of the race we did have a bit, but honestly it didn’t make much of a difference, a touch more slidey than usual but obviously it stopped and the track was dry, not really an issue I think just another a roadblock on the way to a win.
We can go for another one tomorrow, P2 is not too bad a place to start, obviously could’ve been P1 but still, same as today get a good launch, first corner and just control the race and hope we can do the same.”
Image credit: @JakobEbrey
With blue skies above, drivers lined up for the second race of the weekend at Brands Hatch on Sunday morning. After taking a grid penalty in the first race Lebbon was back in pole position ready to take the lead of the race. This would be no easy task as the lights went out and Browning was on his tail to take the front position. Rees was also having another stellar race after overtaking championship leader Granfors at Sheene. By Lap 3, Rees was producing the fastest lap times and the winner from the first race of the weekend was closing in on the top 2.
With pressure constantly on Lebbon, he had to produce a perfect race and not lose too much time so that he could take the win. The gap was consistently under 1 second and Browning was pushing from behind to overtake the Elite Motorsport car. After a stressful race, Lebbon produced the perfect laps and in turn, took the top step of the podium.
All eyes were on Luke Browning however as finishing in P2 meant that he took the lead in the championship by 1.5 points.
“This definitely makes up for Silverstone. After the decision at Silverstone meant we started sixth yesterday, struggling with pace in the race as well which was a bit surprising, taking the win today with strong pace and managed to hold off Browning with his pace at the end there and took the win.
“It’s difficult to get off the line from first here, Rees did it very well yesterday, my start yesterday was not very good but I worked on it with the data and I managed to get off the line well and hold the lead.
“The morale is definitely up at Elite, from Silverstone when we got a win and now a win here, John [Bennett] is also doing really well, he’s improving all the time.”
Image credit: @JakobEbrey
The last race of the weekend at Brands Hatch saw the reverse grid order from Qualifying with Flack, Oxley, Taylor, Shields and Smith comprising the top 5. As the lights went out Flack got a jump however a collision between Voisin and Esterston brought out a safety car. With both drivers safely out of the car, the race was red-flagged for repairs to the barriers. During this time Flack was also given a 10-second time penalty for a jump start.
With the race restart and drivers moving positions after the red flag was brought out, the rule of points for positions gained will be based on the amended grid, rather on the original was in place.
After the restart, Oxley, Shields, Taylor, Faria and Glikes made up the top 5. The first lap saw Oxley and Shields remain in P1 and P2 with Faria dropping down to P4 and Glikes and Cresswell also fell down the order. Browning had a great opening, making up 4 positions in the opening 4 laps.
The rest of the race saw all drivers stay in position and Oxley taking the race win with Shields in P2 and Faria taking P3. With Browning also finishing the race above Grandfors, he goes into the final race weekend of the season leading the championship.
Read all about the 2022 GB3 partnered by the BRDC season here.