Toby Sowery has won his first race of the 2017 BRDC British F3 season, dominating ahead of Carlin drivers Enaam Ahmed and James Pull in the opening round of the weekend at Silverstone.
Making the most of his pole position, Sowery assumed an immediate lead and spent the opening laps fending off the attentions of Ahmed, whilst behind the championship leader, Ben Hingeley, James Pull and Callan O'Keeffe battled over third place. Pull managed to hold onto his qualifying position, but Hingeley was less fortunate, losing a place to O'Keeffe. Behind, the main losers in the opening lap skirmishes were Cameron Das, who fell to seventh place between the Fortecs of Manuel Maldonado and Nicolai Kjaergaard, and Jordan Cane, who dropped to the tail of the field. Meanwhile Chase Owen's race ended before the lap was complete.
As the race progressed, Sowery began to pull clear of Ahmed, who was having to fend off the attentions of his team-mate, with O'Keeffe remaining in touch with the podium fight and Hingeley dropping back.
Whilst the top five remained in this order until the chequered flag, sixth place became an intense fight between Das and the Fortecs of Maldonado and Kjaergaard. Carlin's Das was determined to pass the Venezuelan and tried several manoeuvres, which proved successful as he cleared the two cars, and Kjaergaard also passed his team-mate. Whilst this meant that Maldonado fell to eighth place, this result means he'll start race two from pole position.
Ninth place was taken by Jamie Chadwick, who was the main beneficiary of the opening lap battles. She fell back from the battle for sixth place, and ended the race just clear of a fight between the Chris Dittmann cars of Jeremy Wahome and Omar Ismail. Wahome was running in tenth place, but lost out to team-mate Ismail at the end of the race, despite trying his best to regain the place.
A delighted Sowery finished the race over five seconds clear of Ahmed and this moves him to within six points of O'Keeffe in fifth place in the standings. Ahmed's second place means that he extends his title lead over team-mate Das, the gap now 56 points.
On the podium, where trophies were presented by GT racing BRDC member Stuart Hall, Sowery said: "Enaam got a really good getaway again, put a lot of pressure on for the first two laps, but we managed to maintain a gap and eventually come out with the win."
BRDC British F3 Race One
1. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, 10 Laps
2. Enaam Ahmed, Carlin, +5.265s
3. James Pull, Carlin, +5.779s
4. Callan O’Keeffe, Douglas Motorsport, +7.949s
5. Ben Hingeley, Fortec Motorsports, +12.089s
6. Cameron Das, Carlin, +14.813s
7. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Fortec Motorsports, +19.068s
8. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +20.701s
9. Jamie Chadwick, Double R Racing, +31.713s
10. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, +32.276s
11. Jeremy Wahome, Chris Dittmann Racing, +32.525s
12. Aaron Di Comberti, Lanan Racing, +35.022s
13. Nick Worm, Hillspeed, +47.440s
14. Guilherme Samaia, Double R Racing, +1:43.516s
15. Jordan Cane, Douglas Motorsport, +1 Lap
16. Chase Owen, Hillspeed, DNF
Toby Sowery has won his second race of the weekend with a lights-to-flag victory in race three, whilst Carlin team-mates James Pull and Enaam Ahmed completed the podium after a tense battle for the runner-up position.
When the lights went out, pole-sitter Sowery didn't hesitate to take the lead into Copse corner, and whilst fellow front-row-starter Callan O'Keeffe tried to fight for the lead into the esses, he soon came under attack from Pull, and the Carlin man quickly slotted into second place. This left the South African under attack from race two winner Ben Hingeley and as they exited the Wellington straight at the end of the opening lap, the pair battled side-by-side. Hingeley was forced wide at Brooklands, and into Luffield the pair collided, O'Keeffe out on the spot.
A delayed Hingeley rejoined behind Ahmed, Chase Owen, Jordan Cane and Cameron Das, but continued to fall down the order, his car clearly affected by the clash. Meanwhile Das passed Cane and the race began to settle as the top three pulled away from fourth-placed Owen.
Race leader Sowery continued to clear his immediate pursuers, and as Ahmed closed in on Pull, the two Carlin drivers began a race-long battle for the final podium place. In the late stages, Ahmed stalked Pull, and made a couple of attempts to pressure him, even trying to pass at Stowe corner. On the final lap he got a good exit onto the Wellington Straight, but Pull defended into Brooklands corner and held onto the second step of the podium.
Owen finished in fourth position, fending off Das for the place, the pair a second ahead of Cane, who ended the race a couple of seconds up on Guilherme Samaia, who was given a 10-second post-race penalty for a false start, and Nicolai Kjaergaard.
Ninth overall was Jeremy Wahome, with Hingeley recovering from his earlier incident to finish in tenth place.
After accepting the winners' trophy from BRDC Sporting Director Stuart Pringle, an ecstatic Sowery said: "It's almost a perfect weekend; I couldn’t have asked any more from the team, I’ve been really happy with how it has gone. James and Enaam kept up for the first few laps and we managed to slowly eke a gap, but it wasn’t easy out there."
BRDC British F3 Race Three
1. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, 10 Laps
2. James Pull, Carlin, +3.935s
3. Enaam Ahmed, Carlin, +4.475s
4. Chase Owen, Hillspeed, +9.245s
5. Cameron Das, Carlin, +9.859s
6. Jordan Cane, Douglas Motorsport, +10.579s
7. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Fortec Motorsports, +12.850s
8. Guilherme Samaia, Double R Racing, +22.632s
9. Jeremy Wahome, Chris Dittmann Racing, +23.230s
10. Ben Hingeley, Fortec Motorsports, +24.643s
11. Aaron Di Comberti, Lanan Racing, +24.927s
12. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, +25.329s
13. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +27.528s
14. Nick Worm, Hillspeed, +30.752s
15. Jamie Chadwick, Double R Racing, +1:56.512s
DNF. Callan O'Keeffe, Douglas Motorsport, +10 Laps
Photo credit: BRDC British F3 and British GT