Prior powers to maiden BRDC British F3 victory in Oulton Park race two
Lanan Racing's Piers Prior took a controlled win in the reversed grid second race of the weekend at Oulton Park. The polesitter led every lap despite sustained pressure from Hitech GP's Kush Maini, who claimed the team's maiden BRDC British F3 podium on their first weekend, with F4 graduate Bart Horsten completing a 1-3 for the Lanan team. The top three finished a long way ahead of fourth place finisher, Double R Racing's Benjamin Pedersen.
Chris Dittmann Racing's Nico Varrone headed a train of cars that pursued Pedersen throughout the race, finishing half a second behind the American, and half a second ahead of Hitech GP's Reece Ushijima in sixth.
Hillspeed's Oliver Clarke was just three tenths behind at the flag, and in turn three tenths ahead of teammate Sasakorn Chaimongkol. Carlin's Guilherme Peixoto was just over a second further back in ninth, with Chris Dittmann Racing's Josh Skelton completing the race two top-10.
Prior started on pole after damaging his front wing in race one held earlier this afternoon, and finishing last in that contest. He benefited from the reverse grid for race two, and took full advantage with a strong start that ensured he kept the lead on the way down to Old Hall, while second place starter Maini moved across the track to defend his position from Horsten, who started third.
The top-three immediately began to operate in their own race, lapping closely together and exchanging fastest laps throughout the race, while building a big gap to Pedersen. Prior's lead was just under eight tenths at the end of lap one, though Maini trimmed two tenths off that gap on lap two. Maini's charge continued to gain momentum in the early stages, with less than four tenths covering the pair at the end of lap four, with Horsten only 0.366s further back.
That was to be as close as Maini got though, as Prior was able to pull out a further three tenths on lap five, with the gap hovering between five and eight tenths for the remainder of the race, with the winning margin being 0.639s, while Horsten dropped back a little, finishing 1.2 seconds behind Maini.
The lead trio finished over seven seconds clear of Pedersen, who had to contend with immense pressure for the entire race, as Argentinean Varrone looked to find his way past, with seemingly the rest of the field following by with small gaps between each car.
Despite the close running, the only incident of note came on lap seven as Manaf Hijjawi dropped from ninth to 16th, and then retiring, promoting his pursuers up a position.
Two more races follow this weekend, with race three due to start at 12.30 tomorrow (Sunday) and the final contest at 15.30. Both races will be streamed live on the official BRDC British F3 website and Facebook page.
Winner - Piers Prior, Lanan Racing:
"I'm absolutely buzzing! My first weekend in the BRDC British F3 Championship and I was not expecting a win. It's a reverse grid race so it's obviously not completely on merit but I'm absolutely going to take it. It's given me and the team a boost, we were pretty disappointed after qualifying and race one, the whole team were disappointed with our results because we'd been quick and failed to put it together. But that race, I said to myself and the guys that if I'm leading at turn one, I'm not giving that up! Kush pushed me all the way, it was really close and he didn't let me make one mistake and Bart was right behind him as well. It's really good for the team as well, a 1-3 for Lanan so I'm absolutely ecstatic and lets hope for more podiums and wins throughout the year, maybe in race one or race three at some point. We need to chip away at the pace to get that but I'm sure that we can get there eventually."
Second - Kush Maini, Hitech GP:
"After being the quickest driver in the majority of the test sessions, obviously after qualifying we were really disappointed as I went off and damaged the car, and didn't really put a lap in. So we had to start race one at the back but in race two we had good pace and I think Bart and Piers both had four new tyres and we were the only ones with two new, and we could match their pace. The car is back, the car is fast and I'm sure tomorrow we will get some more podiums."
Third - Bart Horsten, Lanan Racing:
"I was trying my best, it's obviously a really tricky track to make any kind of progress in terms of overtaking people, but I did my best and fair play to Kush and Piers because they did a very solid race and didn't do anything that made them lose a position. More than anything I'd like to thank Graham [Johnson] and the team because the car has been awesome all week and it's only now that we're starting to see the benefits from that. I think it's just really great for the team and me and Piers to get on the podium, and it's just been an amazing experience driving this F3 car that Lanan has given me around this amazing track at Oulton Park."
BRDC British F3 Championship, Oulton Park race two provisional result:
1. Piers Prior, Lanan Racing, 13 laps
2. Kush Maini, Hitech GP, +0.639s
3. Bart Horsten, Lanan Racing, +1.934s
4. Benjamin Pedersen, Double R Racing, +9.441s
5. Nico Varrone, Chris Dittmann Racing, +10.019s
6. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, +10.592s
7. Oliver Clarke, Hillspeed, +10.899s
8. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +11.219s
9. Guilherme Peixoto, Carlin, +12.413s
10. Josh Skelton, Chris Dittmann Racing, +13.240s
11. Ulysse De Pauw, Douglas Motorsport, +14.308s
12. Nazim Azman, Carlin, +15.116s
13. Kiern Jewiss, Douglas Motorsport, +16.569s
14. Kaylen Frederick, Carlin, +16.979s
15. Josh Mason, Lanan Racing, +20.005s
DNF. Manaf Hijjawi, Douglas Motorsport, 6 laps completed
DNF. Louis Foster, Double R Racing, 6 laps completed
Photo credit: BRDC British F3 and British GT