Hitech GP's Kush Maini has an extended lead in the 2020 BRDC British F3 Championship, after taking a fighting second win of the year in race three at Donington Park today (Sunday). The Indian driver went wheel to wheel with title rival Kaylen Frederick in the final race of the weekend, and was victorious ahead of Ulysse De Pauw and Nazim Azman.
In this morning's race two, Double R Racing's Louis Foster surged from sixth on the grid to secure his second triumph of the year ahead of Josh Mason and Manaf Hijjawi, who became the first Jordanian driver to claim a British F3 podium result.
The reverse grid format saw Fortec Motorsports newcomer Roberto Faria start on pole, but it was Lanan Racing's Mason who shot into the lead at Redgate corner. Foster had made a similarly impressive start to run third by turn one, but passed Faria at the Old Hairpin and then capitalised on an error from Mason at the Fogarty's chicane to claim the lead at the end of the first tour.
Foster built a gap of 2.2 seconds by the halfway point, but Mason had slightly better pace towards the end and halved the gap on the penultimate lap, eventually finishing just under a second behind at the chequered flag. Douglas Motorsport's Hijjawi moved into the podium places at the end of lap one, but had to hold off a determined charge from Hitech GP's Reece Ushijima, who was fourth and just four tenths of a second behind at the end of the race. Faria and Chris Dittmann Racing's Josh Skelton completed the top-six.
Carlin's Frederick made a good start from pole position, secured in qualifying yesterday, but Maini got a good run on him exiting Redgate and lunged up the inside at the Old Hairpin. Frederick refused to give way, and the title contenders went wheel to wheel through Starkey's Bridge and Schwantz curve, with Maini on the outside line but then taking the inside at McLeans, where he finally made the move stick.
Maini was able to pull away to take a comfortable victory, but behind there was drama as Frederick made an error at the chicane, allowing front row starter De Pauw back up into second by the end of lap one. Frederick threatened for the duration of the race, finishing just under De Pauw's wing at the chequered flag. But the American was handed a time penalty post race for exceeding track limits, handing teammate Nazim Azman the final podium spot and relegating Frederick to fourth. Sasakorn Chaimongkol (Hillspeed) and Reece Ushijima (Hitech) completed the top-six.
Maini now holds an advantage of 54 points over Frederick at the top of the championship, ahead of a quartet of races at Snetterton on 3-4 October.
Race two winner Foster said: "We were in a good position at the start and I got a good start and made a few places up. By the end of lap one we were in the lead, Josh made a mistake going into the chicane and I gained the lead from there.
"It's a reverse grid win but we're happy with the points and everything but ultimately the pace isn't where it should have been this weekend. We should be fighting for race one and race three wins, not for second race wins. But I'm happy to pick up a win, get the points in the bag and take home another trophy."
Race three winner Maini said: "I knew I had to get him [Frederick] on the first lap because it's too hard to follow around here. I got a good start thankfully and put him under pressure into turn one, which messed up his run down to the Old Hairpin. I got a run on him, lunged him into the Old Hairpin, he kept around the outside and then wheel to wheel to McLeans. I braked really late and he had nowhere to go, so I got the move done and I'm really happy.
"When you have fresh air it's a lot easier to drive, and I just put my head down and enjoyed the drive. I didn't really push to pull away, I literally just wanted to enjoy the drive and it was really nice.
"There's still way too many races left [to think about the championship] so we're just going to keep up this form."
BRDC British F3 Championship, Donington Park race two top-six:
1. Louis Foster, Double R Racing, 12 laps
2. Josh Mason, Lanan Racing, +0.998s
3. Manaf Hijjawi, Douglas Motorsport, +1.950s
4. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, +2.337s
5. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports, +5.256s
6. Josh Skelton, Chris Dittmann Racing, +5.820s
BRDC British F3 Championship, Donington Park, race three top-six:
1. Kush Maini, Hitech GP, 11 laps
2. Ulysse De Pauw, Douglas Motorsport, +2.771s
3. Nazim Azman, Carlin, +7.303s
4. Kaylen Frederick, Carlin, +8.130s
5. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +8.291s
6. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, +11.669s
BRDC British F3 Championship, top-six standings after race 14 of 24:
1. Kush Maini, Hitech GP, 296pts
2. Kaylen Frederick, Carlin, 242pts
3. Louis Foster, Double R Racing, 224pts
4. Ulysse De Pauw, Douglas Motorsport, 220pts
5. Nazim Azman, Carlin, 213pts
6. Kiern Jewiss, Douglas Motorsport, 211pts
Image credit: Jakob Ebrey