Browning, Bilinski win at Oulton Park
Luke Browning and Roman Bilinski were the two GB3 Championship winners at Oulton Park, as Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan came within five points of wrapping up the title a weekend early. Browning, making his series debut, triumphed in a chaotic race two which saw several drivers encounter trouble, while Bilinski claimed his third victory of the season in soaking wet conditions in the reversed grid race three.
In the second race of the weekend, Browning started second on the grid, formed by each driver’s second fastest qualifying times, but led every lap after passing pole-sitter O’Sullivan at the start. But what had been a relatively normal race burst into life on lap 10. Firstly, O’Sullivan tried to pass Browning for the lead at the Hislops Chicane, but misjudged the manoeuvre and crashed into retirement, which would ultimately scupper his chances of taking the championship an event early. Browning emerged unscathed from that incident, but his teammate Roberto Faria was the next to attack, the pair crossing the line side-by-side at the end of lap 11. Faria went for the move at Old Hall, but both cars left the circuit, Faria spinning into the barriers while Browning also spun, but was able to resume, potentially handing the victory to Bart Horsten. But with cars now stranded in various locations around the circuit, the red flags were shown and the race result was counted back to lap 10. With Browning crucially managing to keep his car running, he was awarded the victory, 1.5 seconds ahead of Horsten with Carlin’s Christian Mansell third, and eating into O’Sullivan’s championship advantage. Ayrton Simmons also gained ground in the championship battle with fourth place, ahead of Reece Ushijima and Frederick Lubin.
In race three was held in very wet conditions, but Bilinski controlled the contest after taking the lead on lap one having started fourth on the reverse grid, determined by the inverse qualifying order. While Bilinski marched into the lead and won by over eight seconds from pole-sitter Mikkel Grundtvig, eyes turned to O’Sullivan, who needed a big points swing in his favour to steal the title a weekend early. He very nearly did it, by climbing from 16th on the grid to sixth in the race. But crucially, Simmons in seventh and Mansell in 11th scored just enough points to give them a slim mathematical chance of taking the title themselves at Donington. Lubin claimed his first podium of the season in third place, four tenths of a second clear of Javier Sagrera, with Sebastian Alvarez fifth.
The field now heads to Donington Park on 16-17 October, where O’Sullivan will most likely be crowned champion.
GB3 Championship, Championship standings after race 20 of 24
1. Zak O’Sullivan, Carlin, 454pts
2. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, 342pts
3. Christian Mansell, Carlin, 339pts
4. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports, 316pts
5. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, 308pts