Chadwick makes history at Brands Hatch
Douglas Motorsport’s Jamie Chadwick and Carlin’s Nicolai Kjaergaard were the two winners at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit today, on a historic day for the BRDC British F3.
Chadwick’s victory was the first for a female driver in the long history of the championship, and came in the second race of the weekend. Kjaergaard then claimed his first win since the third weekend of the year, with a controlled drive in the final event of the day, and narrowed Linus Lundqvist‘s championship lead to 111 points.
In race two Chadwick – who is the 2015 British GT4 Champion – finished second behind Double R Racing’s Pavan Ravishankar, with the Singaporean climbing from third to first at the start, but was adjudged to have made a false start and was handed a 10 second time penalty. Krishnaraaj Mahadik soared from ninth on the grid to claim second, with Kush Maini following suit to claim a podium from 10th on the grid.
Sasakorn Chaimongkol was fourth for Hillspeed, ahead of Douglas Motorsport’s Arvin Esmaeili, who looked on course to claim a podium early on before being passed after a safety car period, and eventually finished just 0.062s ahead of Hillspeed’s Jusuf Owega. Fortec duo Manuel Maldonado and Tom Gamble claimed seventh and eighth, with Kjaergaard ninth having started 13th. Ravishankar was eventually classified 10th after picking up his penalty.
At the start, Ravishankar made a speedy get away from third on the grid to take the lead before Paddock Hill Bend, with Chadwick also making a decent start to climb to second. Almost immediately, a penalty was handed to Ravishankar, with the Singaporean still leading on the road, with himself and Chadwick almost two seconds ahead of the rest of the field at the end of lap one, with Esmaeili holding third early on from pole sitter Ben Hurst. The safety car was dispatched at the end of the second lap, with Hurst off in the gravel at Clearways, and eliminating the comfortable gap the lead duo had at the front. Race one winner Jamie Caroline, who had climbed from 15th on the grid to 11th at the end of lap one, also suffered a difficult lap and dropped to the tail of the field.
The safety car pitted at the start of lap seven, with Ravishankar leading them across the line with Chadwick following closely. The lead two began to eke out an advantage again, while Esmaeili tried to fend off a pack of several cars behind him as he aimed for his first podium. The podium pursuit didn’t last too long as he was shuffled back on lap nine, with Mahadik’s impressive rise through the order continuing by blasting by into what was effectively second place, with Maini and Chaimongkol also moving past. At the front, Chadwick was operating around half a second behind Ravishankar, with the win looking comfortable, but Mahadik was charging, and eventually finishing just 0.439s behind at the chequered flag, with Maini only a further 0.288s behind.
Mahadik’s race was particularly impressive, gaining two places on lap one, another place on lap two, and then continued his charge after the safety car, taking fourth on lap seven before finally passing Esmaeili. Maini’s race was similarly busy. He held his 10th place on lap one, but frantic action on lap two saw him surge to fifth before the safety car. He dropped to sixth after being passed by Mahadik on the first lap after the safety car, but was up to fourth by lap nine, and claimed his podium after Ravishankar’s penalty was applied. Further back, Kjaergaard trimmed Lundqvist’s championship lead by finishing ninth and gaining four places, while Lundqvist enjoyed a three place gain to take 11th. Race one winner Caroline pitted and retired on lap eight.
In race three Carlin’s Kjaergaard returned to the top step of the podium with a controlled victory in the final race of the weekend at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. Taking his first victory since the Snetterton round, Kjaergaard finished ahead of team mate Caroline who shadowed him throughout, while championship leader Lundqvist claimed third, his second podium of the weekend.
Gamble secured his best result of the event with fourth, holding off a prolonged challenge from Carlin’s Billy Monger who took fifth. Maini claimed seventh ahead of Maldonado, who held off a queue of cars including Mahadik, Owega and Sasakorn Chaimongkol.
At the start, Kjaergaard made a decent getaway to hold the lead from his pole position, while Caroline slipped past Lundqvist to take second place on the run to Paddock Hill Bend. The Danish driver built a margin of half a second over Caroline on the first lap, and then looked to hold the advantage as he pursued his first win since the end of May. Caroline though set out to keep him under constant pressure, with the lead gap bouncing around throughout the race. Caroline trimmed the lead to 0.372s on lap two, though Kjaergaard rebuilt the margin to over eight tenths on lap three. The gap was chipped away again over the next few laps, falling back down to around four tenths, before a string of fastest laps enabled Kjaergaard to push the lead to just shy of a second by lap 11. Caroline wasn’t done though, and closed the gap once more, with the pair finishing 0.414s apart at the chequered flag.
There were times when Lundqvist looked to make it a three way fight at the front, but the Swede didn’t quite have the pace to keep up the fight, though third place ensures he still leaves Brands Hatch with a healthy margin at the top of the standings, despite his first win-less weekend of the season. Yang looked on course to take fourth early on, but an incident on lap six dropped him to the back of the field. That promoted a squabbling Gamble and Monger to fourth and fifth, the pair separated by fractions for much of the race, with Monger finishing just half a second behind. Maini found a way past Maldonado crossing the line to start lap four, and closed right up on the Gamble/Monger battle, finishing well clear of the Venezuelan, who was occupied for much of the latter periods of the race. The Fortec Motorsports driver was forced to keep an eye on his mirrors, with Mahadik right behind for the final laps, with Mahadik in turn holding off Owega and Chaimongkol, the quartet separated by 1.2 seconds at the flag.
BRDC British F3 Championship standings after race 18 of 24:
1. Linus Lundqvist, Double R Racing, 473pts
2. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Carlin, 362pts
3. Kush Maini, Lanan Racing, 321pts
4. Tom Gamble, Fortec Motorsports, 302pts
5. Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Double R Racing, 261pts
6. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, 240pts
7. Billy Monger, Carlin, 227pts
8. Jamie Chadwick, Douglas Motorsport, 204pts
9. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, 192pts
10. Sun Yue Yang, Carlin, 187pts