Hitech GP’s Reece Ushijima had an excellent Saturday at the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, securing a double pole position in qualifying, which he converted to victory in the opening race of the weekend.
Ushijima headed home Carlin’s championship leader Zak O’Sullivan, with Bart Horsten completing a good day for Hitech GP with third place.
Japanese-American driver Ushijima left it late in qualifying to secure his first ever British F3 pole positions. His best lap came with just 20 seconds left on the clock, and was just six hundredths of a second quicker than O’Sullivan, who claimed second on the grid ahead of Arden’s Frederick Lubin.
Horsten was fourth quickest, a quarter of a second off pole, with Javier Sagrera fifth for Elite Motorsport and Christian Mansell sixth for Carlin.
Just three quarters of a second covered the top-11 drivers on the grid, despite Silverstone being the second longest circuit on the calendar.
Ushijima’s second fastest time meant he also secured pole for race two tomorrow morning, as he headed the second fastest timesheets by almost two tenths of a second over Lubin, with O’Sullivan third.
Ushijima made a strong start from pole, cutting across the front of O’Sullivan to ensure he led on the run down to Copse on lap one.
The Japanese driver held the upper hand through the first half of the race, extending a gap of over a second to the British driver by the mid-point. But on lap seven O’Sullivan carved the gap down to half a second, and then threatened until the end of the race, with Ushijima taking his first British F3 win by just 0.382s.
Horsten was combative on the first lap to move past Lubin, and claimed third. The Australian finished less than a second further back, having been over three seconds in arrears at the end of the opening lap.
Sagrera, Faria and Dexter Patterson completed the race one top-six.
Ushijima moves up to second in the championship standings following his win, just 11 points behind leader O'Sullivan, heading into tomorrow's two races.
Ushijima commented: “It’s taken three years to get to this point, it’s been a lot of hard work but we finally got there. We started racing a bit late but I’m glad we can finally compete and get out the front, I’m happy with the result.
“It was a bit difficult towards the end, but we still got the result so I’m happy with it. We still have a lot to improve on so we’ll see what we can do overnight and try to do this again tomorrow.
“The first win is always hardest so let’s see if we can do it again!”
BRDC British F3 Championship, Silverstone qualifying top-six:
1. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, 1m55.908s
2. Zak O'Sullivan, Carlin, +0.061s
3. Frederick Lubin, Arden Motorsport, +0.133s
4. Bart Horsten, Hitech GP, +0.252s
5. Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport, +0.344s
6. Christian Mansell, Carlin, +0.347s
BRDC British F3 Championship, Silverstone race one top-six:
1. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, 10 laps
2. Zak O’Sullivan, Carlin, +0.382s
3. Bart Horsten, Hitech GP, +1.352s
4. Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport, +6.250s
5. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports, +7.306s
6. Dexter Patterson, Douglas Motorsport, +9.142s
BRDC British F3 Championship, top-six drivers' standings after race four of 24
1. Zak O’Sullivan, Carlin, 107pts
2. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, 96pts
3. Oliver Bearman, Fortec Motorsports, 74pts
4. Christian Mansell, Carlin, 62pts
5. Bart Horsten, Hitech GP, 60pts
6. Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport, 58pts
BRDC British F3 Championship, top-six teams' standings after race four of 24
1. Carlin, 170pts
2. Hitech GP, 169pts
3. Fortec Motorsports, 134pts
4. Elite Motorsport, 101pts
5. Arden Motorsport, 99pts
6. Chris Dittmann Racing, 75pts