Azman arrows to first win of 2020 after flying start
Carlin's Nazim Azman made a great start and then withstood major pressure from Hitech GP's Reece Ushijima to claim his first win of the 2020 season in race two at Brands Hatch.
Azman jumped from fourth on the grid to first at Paddock Hill Bend to lead the entire race, taking the flag by 0.699s from Ushijima, with Lanan Racing's Bart Horsten claiming a podium in third.
Hillspeed's Oliver Clarke secured fourth from sixth on the grid, ahead of Douglas Motorsport's Kiern Jewiss, who gained five places from 10th on the grid. Double R's Benjamin Pedersen and Douglas Motorsport's Ulysse De Pauw claimed sixth and seventh, With Josh Skelton (Chris Dittmann Racing), Josh Mason (Lanan) and Sasakorn Chaimongkol (Hillspeed) completing the top-10.
The race was all about the start, with Malaysian Azman making a near perfect getaway from the second row. He blasted past Manaf Hijjawi and then cut inside Horsten before diving up the inside of Paddock Hill Bend to grab the lead from Ushijima. He led by almost half a second at the end of the first lap, and stretched that to over eight tenths on lap two.
But from that moment on, he was forced to withstand big pressure from the Japanese contender, with the Hitech driver regularly within four tenths of a second but not quite being able to force a way through. Despite nearly doubling his lead advantage to just shy of seven tenths of a second on lap 10, Ushijima had the gap to as little as 0.340 seconds as they started the final lap.
Azman hung on though to take his third career BRDC British F3 victory, while Ushijima collected his second runners-up spot in two weekends.
Horsten in third stayed with the lead duo throughout, and was within a second of the leader for the majority of the race, without quite managing to force a way through. Horsten also had to contend with Hillspeed's Oliver Clarke, who forced his way past Manaf Hijjawi on lap four and then quickly closed on the Australian He was as close as four tenths behind the Lanan driver on lap nine, before Horsten gradually pulled away.
Douglas Motorsport's Jewiss kept Clarke for company, finishing three tenths behind in fifth after an impressive charge from his mid grid starting position. He gained three places on the first lap, and then spent time in a lengthy train of drivers behind Hijjawi in the early stages. He passed Pedersen for sixth on lap four, and then capitalised on Hijjawi's slip through the field on lap five to gain another spot, holding that position until the end of the race.
Pedersen finished seven tenths behind and four tenths clear of De Pauw, who snatched the fastest lap honours on the final lap of the race, adding to his fastest lap from race one and potentially putting him in a strong position on the race four grid.
De Pauw was 2.5 seconds clear of Skelton at the flag, with the Chris Dittmann Racing driver holding off the very close attentions of Mason with the pair separated by two tenths of a second at the end of the race. Chaimongkol in 10th was three tenths further back and seven tenths clear of Kush Maini, who gained two places in the race.
Kaylen Frederick rose from 15th to 12th to just about hold onto his championship lead, with the American and Maini scoring exactly the same amount of points in the race, and remaining level in the championship standings.
Piers Prior claimed 13th from 16th on the grid for Lanan Racing, a place ahead of Double R's Louis Foster, with race one winner Ayrton Simmons claiming the final point having operated in clear air in the pursuit of a fastest lap time, with Hijjawi the final finisher for Douglas Motorsport.
The third race of the weekend starts at 10.25 tomorrow morning (Sunday), with the grid determined by each driver's second fastest time in qualifying, and Simmons starting on pole.
BRDC British F3 Championship, Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, Race two provisional result:
1. Nazim Azman, Carlin, 14 laps
2. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, +0.699s
3. Bart Horsten, Lanan Racing, +1.142s
4. Oliver Clarke, Hillspeed, +2.807s
5. Kiern Jewiss, Douglas Motorsport, +3.136s
6. Benjamin Pedersen, Double R Racing, +3.856s
7. Ulysse De Pauw, Douglas Motorsport, +4.328s
8. Josh Skelton, Chris Dittmann Racing, +6.868s
9. Josh Mason, Lanan Racing, +7.153s
10. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +7.460s
11. Kush Maini, Hitech GP, +8.246s
12. Kaylen Frederick, Carlin, +8.728s
13. Piers Prior, Lanan Racing, +9.030s
14. Louis Foster, Double R Racing, +9.206s
15. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, +12.394s
16. Manaf Hijjawi, Douglas Motorsport, +18.033s
Photo credit: BRDC British F3 and British GT