Foster holds off Mason for second win of the season at Donington
Double R Racing's Louis Foster held off a late charge from Lanan Racing's Josh Mason to claim his second win of the season at Donington Park in the reverse grid race two at the East Midlands circuit. Foster blasted from sixth on the grid to take the lead towards the end of the opening lap and then built a lead, only to see it whittled down by the Lanan driver in the final couple of laps.
Mason secured his first podium of the year with second, with Douglas Motorsport's Manaf Hijjawi claiming his maiden podium with third, just holding off a charging Reece Ushijima.
Fortec's pole sitter Roberto Faria salvaged fifth in only his second British F3 race after enjoying several wheel to wheel scraps, with Chris Dittmann Racing's Josh Skelton claiming sixth.
Lanan's Piers Prior was another to get his elbows out on his way to seventh, half a second ahead of Hillspeed's Oliver Clarke who pulled off several strong overtakes. Yesterday's podium finishers Ulysse De Pauw (Douglas Motorsport) and championship leader Kush Maini (Hitech GP) completed the top-10, having started 15th and 14th respectively.
At the start, Faria made a decent getaway while fellow front row starter Alex Fores (Chris Dittmann Racing) made a slower one, but it was Mason from row two that made the quicker launch and he led into Redgate. Foster shot from sixth to third at the first turn, with a lock-up preventing him from passing around the outside of Faria, while further back, championship contender Kaylen Frederick ran wide and slipped to the tail of the field.
Foster moved past Faria at the Old Hairpin to take second place, and then capitalised on a mistake from Mason at the Esses to hold the lead at the end of lap one, with Hijjawi diving up the inside of Faria to move into the podium places at the Melbourne Hairpin.
Foster led by nearly seven tenths of a second at the end of the first lap, and extended that gradually, holding a 2.2 second margin at the halfway point. Mason though began to close the gap, initially tenth by tenth, but then nearly halved the gap on the penultimate lap, as he eyed a first win of the year. Foster had him covered though to take victory by 0.998 seconds.
After moving into the podium positions on the first lap, Hijjawi kept Mason firmly in his sights with the gap between the two being no more than a second throughout, and as small as half a second, before turning his attentions to defence as Hitech's Ushijima closed in rapidly.
The Japanese driver started ninth, but was sixth at the end of lap one and moved into fifth on lap three with a move on Faria. Fores was his next victim on lap six as he moved into fourth, and then closed down a gap of nearly two seconds to finish right under Hijjawi's rear wing at the end of the race. Hijjawi's podium means he's the first Jordanian to finish inside the top three of a British F3 race, with Ushijima just 0.387s behind at the flag.
Fifth for Faria came after a battle royale with the Chris Dittmann Racing pair of Fores and Skelton. Faria and Fores went wheel to wheel on lap seven as the Brazilian eyed a move past at Goddards. The British driver held firm though, resulting in a wheel to wheel dice through Redgate and down the Craner Curves on lap seven which saw Skelton join in the fun. Faria moved past at the Old Hairpin with Skelton following suit at McLeans, while Clarke attempted to move through as well. Wheel to wheel contact between Fores and the Hillspeed driver saw Fores go off into the gravel and delayed Clarke, allowing Prior to move into seventh. Fores got going again, but damage meant he parked up but in a position of safety avoid a safety car intervention.
Skelton, Prior and Clarke held their positions to the flag, with Clarke finishing 1.3 seconds clear of De Pauw with Maini half a second further back. The championship leader had an up and down race, moving into the top-10 by lap two, before slipping back to 12th on lap three, and finally finishing inside the top-10.
Hillspeed's Sasakorn Chaimongkol was 11th, just two tenths ahead of championship contender Frederick who recovered to 12th after his first lap off. Lanan Racing's Bart Horsten started and finished in 13th, ahead of Carlin's Nazim Azman, who was another driver to go off track on the opening lap.
Double R's Benjamin Pedersen slipped from 11th on the grid to finish in 15th, ahead of Fortec's Frank Bird, who claimed his first BRDC British F3 points thanks to a position gain of two places compared to his starting berth.
Championship contender Kiern Jewiss failed to score after finishing in 17th, with Fores the only driver not to finish. The third race of the weekend starts at 16.05, with live streaming and timing available on the BRDC British F3 website.
BRDC British F3 Championship, Donington Park race two provisional result:
1. Louis Foster, Double R Racing, 12 laps
2. Josh Mason, Lanan Racing, +0.998s
3. Manaf Hijjawi, Douglas Motorsport, +1.950s
4. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, +2.337s
5. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports, +5.256s
6. Josh Skelton, Chris Dittmann Racing, +5.820s
7. Piers Prior, Lanan Racing, +6.752s
8. Oliver Clarke, Hillspeed, +7.287s
9. Ulysse De Pauw, Douglas Motorsport, +8.661s
10. Kush Maini, Hitech GP, +9.180s
11. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +9.849s
12. Kaylen Frederick, Carlin, +10.136s
13. Bart Horsten, Lanan Racing, +11.935s
14. Nazim Azman, Carlin, +12.678s
15. Benjamin Pedersen, Double R Racing, +13.474s
16. Frank Bird, Fortec Motorsports, +14.147s
17. Kiern Jewiss, Douglas Motorsport, +15.068s
DNF. Alex Fores, Chris Dittmann Racing, 7 laps
Photo credit: BRDC British F3 and British GT