Caroline secures his second win
Jamie Caroline claimed a flag to flag victory from pole position at Brands Hatch in the sixth round of BRDC British F3. The 19-year-old Carlin‘s driver, who already won on his main season debut weekend at Spa Francorchamps, took his second victory in three races. The British driver headed home championship leader Linus Lundqvist, who extended his lead in the standings to 125 points over Nicolai Kjaergaard, who returned to the podium with third place.
Caroline claimed his maiden BRDC British F3 Championship pole position in a thrilling qualifying session, despite a late spin exiting Clark Curve that brought out the red flags with seconds remaining. He improved his time by fractions on each lap, with the eventual margin being just 0.062s from team mate Kjaergaard, who posted his fastest effort right at the end of the session, and just as the red flags came out. Kjaergaard’s final lap pipped Billy Monger to the front row spot by just 0.011s, with Carlin taking a qualifying 1-2-3.
Lundqvist was also in the fight for pole, but could only manage the fourth quickest time and just over a tenth of a second away from Caroline’s best effort. Sun Yue Yang continued his promising weekend with the fifth fastest time, 0.020s ahead of Lanan Racing’s Kush Maini, who was sixth quickest. Krishnaraaj Mahadik claimed seventh for Double R Racing, with Tom Gamble and Manuel Maldonado eighth and ninth for Fortec Motorsports. Sasakorn Chaimongkol rounded out the top-10 for Hillspeed.
Caroline converted his pole position into a dominant victory in race one, as the Carlin supersub delivered the goods again. He had a great first lap and built a big gap of over three seconds in the first half of the race, and headed home championship leader Lundqvist. The Swede gained two positions off the line to claim second and therefore extended his championship lead over Kjaergaard who claimed third. On his home circuit, Monger secured fourth place ahead of Carlin team mate Yang in fifth. Maini claimed sixth ahead of Mahadik, with Maldonado eighth. Gamble and Chaimongkol completed the top-10.
Caroline’s strong opening lap meant he held a lead of almost two seconds after the first tour, while Lundqvist starting fourth threaded his way through Monger and Kjaergaard on the run to Paddock Hill to hold second place. Lundqvist came under heavy pressure from the Carlin pair in the opening laps, allowing Caroline to build his sizeable lead.
In the second half of the race though, Lundqvist, on older tyres than the Carlin quartet, was still able to demonstrate his pace, setting a number of fastest laps and trimming the lead slightly in the process, with the gap down to around two and a half seconds on the penultimate lap. Kjaergaard was always close behind though, and the Dane ended the race with the fastest lap on the final tour, potentially giving him pole for race three on Sunday afternoon, and finishing just half a second behind the championship leader. Monger in fourth kept the lead trio honest in the opening exchanges, but faded slightly as the race went on and came under heavy pressure from Yang, with the Chinese driver just 0.374s behind at the chequered flag.
Maini in sixth was nearly six seconds behind at the end of the race, but comfortably clear of Mahadik, who had Maldonado for close company for much of the race, the Venezuelan driver surviving a lurid slide exiting Graham Hill Bend on lap one. Gamble lost a place compared to his grid position to claim ninth on his first visit to the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit in a single seater, but finished well clear of Chaimongkol, who had to fend off his team mate Jusuf Owega for the final spot in the top-10, the pair separated by half a second at the end of the race.