Fortec Motorsports driver Johnathan Hoggard claimed his third BRDC British F3 win of the season in race one at Donington Park, after holding off a race long challenge from Ayrton Simmons.
Hoggard started from pole and led every lap. He created a small gap after a safety car period, and trimmed Clement Novalak's championship lead in the process.
Simmons in second also made up ground in the championship battle, while Kiern Jewiss secured his second podium of the season after being elevated to third place post race.
Hoggard secured pole position for races one and three at Donington Park in a thrilling qualifying session at the East Midlands circuit this morning.
Hoggard's best lap with a few minutes remaining was enough to see off a late flying effort from Carlin's Kaylen Frederick, while on second best times, Hoggard also secured pole for race three on Sunday afternoon.
Hoggard claimed race one pole by 0.062s from Frederick, while Chris Dittmann Racing's Simmons secured third with another late effort. Championship leader Novalak was fourth quickest for Carlin, 0.189s off the overall pace and 0.063s faster than yesterday's testing pace setter Ulysse De Pauw in his Douglas Motorsport car.
Sasakorn Chaimongkol, battling with the flu, was sixth quickest for Hillspeed, half a tenth clear of Fortec Motorsports man Manuel Maldonado, while Kiern Jewiss claimed eighth, with his time just 0.005s off Maldonado's effort.
Double R's Neil Verhagen and and Douglas Motorsport's Benjamin Pedersen completed a top-10 separated by 0.573s.
Just over seven tenths of a second covered the top-14 drivers on the race one grid.
Maldonado was the first driver to set a true representative lap time, but it wasn't long until the championship contenders came into play, with Novalak and Hoggard both taking turns at the top of the times. With over half the session gone, Simmons was another to take over at the top of the times, with the top four drivers at one point separated by just 0.044s. Jewiss was another driver to enjoy a spell at the top of the timesheets as lap times continued to drop before Hoggard set what would be his overall best time with six minutes to go, and at that point over four tenths clear of the field.
Frederick, Simmons and Novalak all chipped away over the next few laps, but were ultimately unable to quite match the Fortec driver at the top.
With the race three grid decided by each driver's second fastest times, Hoggard's next best effort of 1m25.168s was 0.091s faster than De Pauw, who will enjoy his first front row start in British F3.
Frederick will again be at the sharp end with third place, with the top-three covered by a tenth of a second. Clement Novalak will be fourth again, ahead of Simmons and Jewiss in fifth and sixth.
Chaimongkol drops one place from his race one starting position and will start seventh ahead of Verhagen, while Nazim Azman and Hampus Ericsson complete the race three top-10.
Second fastest times were just as close, with 0.576s covering the top-10 and 0.742s covering the top-14.
Hoggard held off Simmons to claim his third win of the season in race one at Donington Park this afternoon, with Jewiss completing the podium.
Frederick had claimed third on the road, but was was given a 10 second post race penalty after the race for a false start, dropping him to 10th in the final result. Championship leader Novalak claimed fourth, with Ulysse De Pauw taking fifth for Douglas Motorsport. Neil Verhagen climbed from ninth to take sixth for Double R, ahead of Fortec's Manuel Maldonado. Hampus Ericsson made up three places on his start position to take eighth ahead of Douglas Motorsport's Benjamin Pedersen who was ninth, and ahead of Frederick on the amended result.
Hoggard made a good start from pole and fended off a first corner challenge from Frederick, before the Carlin driver was picked off by Simmons at McLeans. The Fortec driver held a lead of 1.4 seconds at the end of lap one, though Simmons in second place had trimmed a couple of tenths off the lead before the safety car was deployed on lap five to recover the car of Lucas Petersson, who was stranded in the gravel at the Melbourne Hairpin.
The race resumed on lap seven and Hoggard maintained a lead of between six and nine tenths for the remainder of the race, with Simmons able to get close but not quite close enough, allowing Hoggard to take the flag by 0.6s and close the gap to Novalak in the championship.
Frederick finished third on the road but dropped down the order with his penalty, handing the final spot on the podium to Jewiss. The Douglas Motorsport driver was the big improver of the race, making up four places on the opening lap, including an opportunistic move past two cars at the Fogarty Esses, and demoting Novalak down to fifth in the process. Jewiss ultimately finished just 1.2 seconds shy of the podium, but claimed the trophy post race. He was six tenths ahead of Novalak who dropped to fifth on lap one and was left in a race long battle for position with Jewiss and De Pauw immediately behind.
Verhagen was another to make progress on the opening lap to claim two positions, finishing at the tail of the Jewiss/Novalak and De Pauw battle.
Maldonado was a second further back and almost two seconds clear of Ericsson, who was another driver firmly embroiled in scraps throughout, finishing a couple of seconds clear of Pedersen.
The top-three drivers on the podium were presented with their trophies by BRDC member Lewis Williamson. The second race of the weekend commences at 10.35 UK time on Sunday.
Race winner Johnathan Hoggard
"It may have looked a bit easier than it was. It was a case of managing the gap to Ayrton behind me. When he pushed on a bit and got closer I put my head down and pushed a bit harder as well. When he dropped away it was a case of just managing the gap and relaxing a little bit but not too much so that I didn't make a mistake and go off. It was quite a challenging race with the safety car restart as well, making sure I got the jump on them, but all in all it was a good race.
"Frederick was alongside me at the start but I don't think it was too much of an issue because I don't think you can get around the outside of Redgate unless I ended up braking early, which I wasn't going to do in that position. It may not have been the best of starts, but it was enough.
"It shows how quickly things can change, I've managed to pull the gap to Novalak down quite a bit in that race. It's a long weekend still and a long year so you never know what could happen. Qualifying has set the tone for this weekend and I'm more upbeat about our pace compared to yesterday. The car has been working really well today and qualifying and race one have shown that."
"Once we both checked out ahead of the pack it was a case of trying to catch up, but each time I got close it was really hard to follow through the chicane so we struggled a bit there. It's still good though, we had good pace and P2 is really good points for the championship.
"We're always hunting for the win and we're P4 on the grid for race three tomorrow, starting a bit further back for race two on the reverse but last time out on the reverse grid we climbed from 17th to fifth so we've got a lot to look forward to tomorrow."
BRDC British F3 Championship, Donington Park qualifying top-10:
1. Johnathan Hoggard, Fortec Motorsports, 1m25.007s
2. Kaylen Frederick, Carlin, +0.062s
3. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, +0.166s
4. Clement Novalak, Carlin, +0.189s
5. Ulysse De Pauw, Douglas Motorsport, +0.252s
6. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +0.339s
7. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +0.393s
8. Kiern Jewiss, Douglas Motorsport, +0.398s
9. Neil Verhagen, Double R Racing, +0.528s
10. Benjamin Pedersen, Douglas Motorsport, +0.573s
Click here for full result.
BRDC British F3 Championship, Donington Park amended race one result:
1. Johnathan Hoggard, Fortec Motorsports, 12 laps
2. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, +0.618s
3. Kiern Jewiss, Douglas Motorsport, +3.643s
4. Clement Novalak, Carlin, +4.263s
5. Ulysse De Pauw, Douglas Motorsport, +4.994s
6. Neil Verhagen, Double R Racing, +5.759s
7. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +6.903s
8. Hampus Ericsson, Double R Racing, +8.756s
9. Benjamin Pedersen, Douglas Motorsport, +10.695s
10. Kaylen Frederick, Carlin, +12.345s*
*10 second penalty for false start