Ericsson holds off championship leader Clement Novalak
There was a Swedish win double at Snetterton Sunday, as Scandinavian drivers Lucas Petersson and Hampus Ericsson claimed their first BRDC British F3 wins at the Norfolk circuit.
Starting from pole position in the morning's race two, Petersson claimed a lights to flag triumph ahead of Benjamin Pedersen and Neil Verhagen.
Then, in a dramatic final race which saw three front runners eliminated on the first lap, Ericsson claimed the lead at the first corner and then held off late pressure to claim his maiden win
Retirement in race two for Johnathan Hoggard, and a second podium of the weekend for Clement Novalak means the Carlin driver has an extended 37 point lead in the championship standings.
Polesitter Lucas Petersson claimed his first BRDC British F3 win with a lights to flag victory in race two at Snetterton this morning. He took the flag over three seconds clear of near namesake Benjamin Pedersen who soared from seventh to the podium, with Neil Verhagen climbing to third from 11th on the grid.
Kaylen Frederick claimed fourth, a second and a half away from the podium, with Nazim Azman taking his best result of the year so far with fifth. Clement Novalak climbed from 15th on the grid to take sixth ahead of Double R's Hampus Ericsson, with race one winner Johnathan Hoggard eighth from 16th. Manuel Maldonado and Pavan Ravishankar completed the top-10.
At the start, Petersson had a great getaway from the reverse grid pole, immediately building an advantage over Fortec's Kris Wright, while further behind, Ayrton Simmons ran wide at Riches and dropped to the tail of the field. Pedersen, on a lap one charge had worked his way up to second, though Petersson was already leading by over two seconds.
Behind, the majority of the rest of the field was bunched up behind Wright, and heading to Riches on lap two, Josh Mason challenged Nazim Azman for position, going around the outside but running wide and hitting the barriers lightly, bringing out the safety car and wiping out Petersson's lead. With the reverse grid format meaning yesterday's podium drivers started at the back, there were strong opening laps for Johnathan Hoggard, Clement Novalak, and Kiern Jewiss, who climbed to seventh, 10th and eighth respectively from 16th, 15th and 14th respectively.
The race resumed on lap four, and Petersson again began to build a lead, while behind there was some fierce racing as several drivers challenged Wright, including a three wide moment at Agostini between the American, Novalak and Azman.
Petersson led by three quarters of a second after the restart, while the rest of the order started to settle down, though there was more drama on lap six as Jewiss, who had climbed to sixth, pitted to repair front wing damage sustained after tapping Azman at Wilson, while Simmons endured more drama after contact with Chaimongkol sent him down the order again .
By that point, Petersson's lead was up to 1.6 seconds. The Swede extended his lead by around half a second a lap until the end of the race to take the flag by over three seconds from Pedersen, who clinched his first British F3 podium, one and a half seconds clear of Verhagen, who gained eight places on his starting position.
Frederick in fourth was another to make big gains, climbing from 10th to take fourth, while Novalak, Ericsson and Hoggard gained nine, six and eight places respectively.
The top-three drivers were presented with their trophies on the podium by BRDC member and British GT racer Bradley Ellis.
Double R Racing's Hampus Ericsson claimed a maiden BRDC British F3 win in the final race of the weekend at Snetterton, as he capitalised on first lap drama in Norfolk that eliminated three front-runners.
Carlin's Clement Novalak finished second as he extended his championship lead and applied late pressure to Ericsson, while team mate Kaylen Frederick took third, also fending off constant pressure from Chris Dittmann Racing's Ayrton Simmons.
Manuel Maldonado claimed fifth for Fortec ahead of Chris Dittmann Racing's Nazim Azman, while Douglas Motorsport duo Ulysse De Pauw and Benjamin Pedersen claimed seventh and eighth. Lanan Racing's Josh Mason and Fortec's Kris Wright completed the top-10.
At the start, Johnathan Hoggard made a decent getaway from pole, but Ericsson, brother of ex-F1 racer Marcus, made a better one and swept past the British driver around the outside of Riches. Verhagen was also in a position to challenge and pulled alongside the Fortec driver on the run up to Wilson. Hoggard and Verhagen made contact and Verhagen was forced onto the grass, cutting up the inside of the hairpin and taking out Jewiss and Hoggard as he re-joined.
That brought out the safety car for several laps, while also promoting the remaining drivers up the order, with Novalak rising to second from fifth in the grid, and Frederick up to third from seventh.
The safety car was out for several laps as the cars were cleared, with the race only restarting on lap five.
Ericsson immediately created a gap, with a lead of just under a second at the end of lap five. He increased the gap to a fraction over a second on lap six, but from then on Novalak came back at him, reducing the margin to just under half a second.
The Swedish driver started the final lap with just eight seconds remaining, with the field just squeezing in the full race distance despite the lengthy safety car period. Ericsson's winning margin was 0.672s, with Novalak unable to force a way past on the last lap.
Frederick in third had a race long battle from Simmons to contend with, the duo separated by just a few car lengths in the laps after the restart, and the top four covered by less than two seconds at the chequered flag.
Maldonado and Azman held their positions throughout the race, while there was a five second gap to De Pauw, who climbed from 11th on the grid to take seventh, with a similar gap back to Pedersen in eighth, who fought back after being pitched off the road during safety car conditions.
Lanan's Mason recovered from a first lap pit stop to claim a top-10 result in ninth ahead of Fortec's Wright, who claimed his maiden British F3 top-10.
The top three drivers in the race were presented with their trophies on the podium by BRDC Member Mike Newman. Novalak's podium and Hoggard's retirement means that Novalak holds a 37 point lead heading to Silverstone, with Simmons in third a point ahead of Ericsson.
Race two winner Lucas Petersson:
"It was good, a decent start helped a lot and I kept it consistent after that. The safety car made me a little nervous but I kept it together which is good.
"The car felt great, we showed that we had the pace throughout practice and at Oulton, but even more so here. So to just to lead the race the whole time showed what we are capable of. It was a great feeling crossing the line and I can get used to this!"
Race three winner Hampus Ericsson:
"I think Clement had great speed behind me but at this track it's so hard to pass. So I was a bit lucky with the safety car and in the end I kept Clement behind so I'm happy with that.
"He was a bit too close for comfort, and for sure he was trying to force me into a mistake but I kept my head cool and finished first, so I'm happy."
Championship leader Clement Novalak:
"A double podium again following on from Oulton Park so we are carrying great momentum. We were a bit lucky in race three with the crash at the start, I didn't really see what happened. But we showed good pace at least in the last one, because we've been struggling a lot more than we were at Oulton. But to come away with a double podium I couldn't ask for more."
BRDC British F3 Championship, Snetterton race two top-10:
1. Lucas Petersson, Carlin, 10 laps
2. Benjamin Pedersen, Douglas Motorsport, +3.100s
3. Neil Verhagen, Double R Racing, +4.726s
4. Kaylen Frederick, Carlin, +6.140s
5. Nazim Azman, Chris Dittmann Racing, +7.633s
6. Clement Novalak, Carlin, +9.985s
7. Hampus Ericsson, Double R Racing, +10.343s
8. Johnathan Hoggard, Fortec Motorsports, +12.155s
9. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +12.582s
10. Pavan Ravishankar, Double R Racing, +13.548s
BRDC British F3 Championship, Snetterton race three top-10:
1. Hampus Ericsson, Double R Racing, 10 laps
2. Clement Novalak, Carlin, +0.672s
3. Kaylen Frederick, Carlin, +1.545s
4. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1.952s
5. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +6.300s
6. Nazim Azman, Chris Dittmann Racing, +7.906s
7. Ulysse De Pauw, Douglas Motorsport, +13.215s
8. Benjamin Pedersen, Douglas Motorsport, +17.983s
9. Josh Mason, Lanan Racing, +24.908s
10. Kris Wright, Fortec Motorsports, +26.335s
BRDC British F3 Championship standings after race six of 24:
1. Clement Novalak, Carlin, 158pts
2. Johnathan Hoggard, Fortec Motorsports, 121pts
3. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, 99pts
4. Hampus Ericsson, Double R Racing, 98pts
5. Kaylen Frederick, Carlin, 95pts
6. Neil Verhagen, Double R Racing, 85pts
7. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, 83pts
8. Ulysse De Pauw, Douglas Motorsport, 76pts
9. Kiern Jewiss, Douglas Motorsport, 75pts
10. Benjamin Pedersen, Douglas Motorsport, 68pts