Fortec Motorsport's Johnathan Hoggard claimed his second BRDC British F3 win of the season so far, with a commanding performance in race one at Snetterton this afternoon (Saturday).
Starting from second on the grid, the British driver applied constant pressure to pole sitter and early race leader Clement Novalak, and moved into the lead at Wilson hairpin on lap five. From there, he pulled out a margin of 2.7 seconds to claim his second successive triumph, and move to within five points of Novalak in the early championship standings.
Novalak claimed second, while reigning British F4 champion Kiern Jewiss clinched his first podium result in third for Douglas Motorsport.
Novalak and Hoggard claimed pole positions for races one and three in qualifying at Snetterton this morning (Saturday).
Novalak's time of 1m43.533s was 0.044s quicker than Hoggard's in the session and secured him race one pole, though Hoggard's second best time was enough to secure him pole for Sunday's race three.
Novalak's time came at the mid point of the session, with no drivers able to better his time after that. Hoggard came closest while Douglas Motorsport's Jewiss claimed third, just over a tenth of a second further behind.
Double R Racing's Hampus Ericsson enjoyed his best qualifying session of the year so far to take fourth on the grid for race one, less than a tenth clear of American team mate Neil Verhagen.
Ayrton Simmons, Friday's testing pace setter, was sixth fastest in qualifying for Chris Dittmann Racing, a tenth clear of Carlin's Kaylen Frederick who was 0.044s ahead of Fortec's Manuel Maldonado.
Carlin's Lucas Petersson claimed ninth on the grid for race one, and was the last driver within a second of the fastest time. Hillspeed's Sasakorn Chaimongkol, another very quick driver yesterday, secured 10th on the race one grid, 0.004s quicker than Douglas Motorsport's Benjamin Pedersen.
With the grid for race three decided by each driver's second fastest times in qualifying, Hoggard will start at the front of the grid for the last race of the weekend with his second best effort being 0.274s quicker than Ericsson.
Verhagen will start third with his time 0.073s ahead of Jewiss, while Novalak will only start fifth, with his second best time over half a second away from Hoggard's.
Simmons, Frederick, Maldonado and Petersson will all start from the same positions as they did for race one, while Pedersen will complete the top-10.
Fortec Motorsport's Hoggard claimed his second consecutive BRDC British F3 win, with an excellent drive in the first race of the weekend at Snetterton, that included a mid-race pass on early leader and pole sitter Novalak.
Novalak and Hoggard made good starts from the front row, but with Hoggard on new tyres and Novalak on used rubber, Hoggard was able to keep the pressure on the Carlin driver in the early stages. He then made a pass stick at the Wilson hairpin on lap six and then pulled away comfortably to take the win.
Jewiss claimed his first British F3 podium with third place, while Double R's Ericsson claimed fourth after applying late pressure on the British driver. Simmons made a flying start to take fifth ahead of Double R's Verhagen.
Carlin's Frederick claimed seventh ahead of Maldonado, who was just three tenths behind at the flag. Chaimongkol and Pedersen completed the top-10.
At the start, there were strong getaways from the first four drivers, while Simmons made a rapid start to pass Verhagen off the line and then challenge Jewiss on the run down to Riches. With the majority of the top-10 holding position, Lucas Petersson, who started ninth, plummeted down the order to the tail of the field, promoting Chaimongkol and Pedersen into the top-10.
Novalak led by just over two tenths of a second at the end of the first lap, with the Fortec tucked under the rear wing of the Carlin machine crossing the line. Novalak trebled his advantage to six tenths of a second on lap two, and maintained the advantage on lap three.
From there, Hoggard began to bring the gap down, with 0.427s covering the pair after lap four. Novalak was struggling with braking at the Wilson hairpin, and Hoggard capitalised on a moment on lap five to move into the lead. He immediately pulled away, holding a 1.347s lead after less than a lap at the front, and increased that to over two seconds at the end of lap six.
Hoggard's margin was over three seconds at the end of the penultimate lap, and claimed the flag by 2.769s to take his second win of the year and close up the gap in the championship to five points.
Jewiss was unable to close down the gap to the leaders but still claimed his first British F3 podium, but had to withstand late pressure from Ericsson, who lapped within a second of the Douglas driver in the final few tours.
The top three drivers were presented with their trophies on the podium by BRDC member and British GT driver Dino Zamparelli. The second race of the weekend at Snetterton takes place tomorrow morning (Sunday) at 9.55am, and will be live streamed on the BRDC British F3 website.
Winner, Johnathan Hoggard:
"It was a case of putting on the pressure when I was behind Clement. I almost got past him on lap one, he went a bit deep into turn two and I didn't manage to get the place. It was just a case of following him which is really hard to do in these cars, especially around this track as well with the dirty air, and then just wait for a mistake which luckily for me, came quite early on. He again went wide at turn two and then I managed to get the place and pull away from there.
"It's very close, this weekend is about being as consistent with the points. For race three, Clement is P5 and I'm P1 so again that's a good chance to make up some more points."
Second, Clement Novalak:
"We had some issues with the braking. The initial peak on the brakes wasn't as good as we thought it would be, so I kept locking up going into turn two on practically every lap. I pushed a little bit too hard on that one and went wide and he took advantage of that. We didn't really have an amazing pace so I think P2 is a good job for what we had.
"I moved the bias towards the rear half way through the race and it helped, but we still were a little surprised by how slow the track was as well, so we've got some ground to make up tomorrow."
Third, Kiern Jewiss:
"It's been about time! It was a hard Oulton Park for us but we've been pretty fast here so we had a good first race. We were never going to catch Johnathan, he had four new tyres compared to a lot of the grid only using two so it was always going to be hard work. I didn't get the best of starts but at the end of the day I just had to bring it home.
"We'd like to think we might have an advantage with tyres tomorrow but who knows, it could rain and then it could be a whole waste of time but it's the intention to have a little bit left in the bag [new tyres] for later on. It's pretty easy in these cars to drive normally and they can't get anywhere near you because of the downforce, so I was kind of saving my tyres a bit because I knew I didn't have the pace to get to Novalak, so I saved the tyres and we'll see what we can do later on in the weekend."
BRDC British F3 Championship, Snetterton qualifying top-10:
1. Clement Novalak, Carlin, 1m43.533
2. Johnathan Hoggard, Fortec Motorsports, +0.044s
3. Kiern Jewiss, Douglas Motorsport, +0.154s
4. Hampus Ericsson, Double R Racing, +0.322s
5. Neil Verhagen, Double R Racing, +0.403s
6. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, +0.602s
7. Kaylen Frederick, Carlin, +0.715s
8. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +0.759s
9. Lucas Petersson, Carlin, +0.844s
10. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +1.064s
BRDC British F3 Championship, Snetterton race one top-10:
1. Johnathan Hoggard, Fortec Motorsports, 10 laps
2. Clement Novalak, Carlin, +2.769s
3. Kiern Jewiss, Douglas Motorsport, +4.997s
4. Hampus Ericsson, Double R Racing, +5.975s
5. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, +6.806s
6. Neil Verhagen, Double R Racing, +9.954s
7. Kaylen Frederick, Carlin, +11.086s
8. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +12.099s
9. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +13.637s
10. Benjamin Pedersen, Douglas Motorsport, +15.527s
Click here for full results
BRDC British F3 Championship standings after race four of 24:
1. Clement Novalak, Carlin, 110pts
2. Johnathan Hoggard, Fortec Motorsports, 105pts
3. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, 72pts
4. Kiern Jewiss, Douglas Motorsport, 71pts
5. Neil Verhagen, Double R Racing, 62pts
6. Ulysse De Pauw, Douglas Motorsport, 60pts
7. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, 57pts
8. Kaylen Frederick, Carlin, 52pts
9. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, 49pts
10. Hampus Ericsson, Double R Racing, 48pts