Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan claimed the 2021 GB3 in association with the BRDC Championship title in fine style at Donington Park yesterday.
The 16-year-old broke the qualifying lap record this morning to take his fifth pole position of the year, and then claimed a lights to flag victory in the first race of the weekend to put the title beyond all doubt.
O’Sullivan set the fastest time moments before the red flags brought the session to an early conclusion. His time of 1m24.176s broke the existing record by 0.225 seconds to not only take his fifth pole, but also claim the 2021 Jack Cavill Pole Position Cup and the end of year £1,000 prize.
O’Sullivan was just 0.033s faster in the session than Hitech’s Bart Horsten, with Reece Ushijima 0.021s further back in third.
With the race two grid decided by each driver’s second quickest times, Ushijima’s next best effort secured him pole for race two, which will take place Sunday morning. Horsten will again start second with O’Sullivan third.
O’Sullivan got a slight bit of wheelspin off the line, allowing the Hitech pair of Ushijima and Horsten to draw alongside on the run to Redgate. Ushijima went wheel to wheel with O’Sullivan through the Craner Curves but O’Sullivan held his nerve by holding the inside line at the Old Hairpin.
Drama behind the pair ruined Horsten’s race as he was involved in a multiple car melee at McLeans that wiped out Sebastian Alvarez and brought out the safety car.
The race resumed at the start of lap four, with O’Sullivan holding off Ushijima for the entirety of the race. The pair were separated by as little as four tenths of a second at times, before O'Sullivan pulled out a small gap, claiming victory and the title by just under a second. Bilinski in third was six seconds further back.
Branden Oxley claimed the best result of his GB3 Championship stint so far with fourth for Chris Dittmann Racing, with Tom Lebbon and Bryce Aron completing the top-six for Elite Motorsport and Carlin respectively.
O'Sullivan's win adds to his successes at Brands Hatch, Donington Park (2), Silverstone and Oulton Park, two more than any other driver, while also taking seven other podiums. He's led the championship since the opening weekend at Brands Hatch, and has steadily increased his margin across each event.
Newly-crowned GB3 Champion Zak O’Sullivan commented:
“It’s awesome, there’s been four or five weeks of waiting since the last round! It’s been an awesome year. My engineer and myself have improved on what we did wrong last year in F4 where I missed out on the championship. So it’s great to get my first championship with the boys and girls in blue, and it all kind of went swimmingly!
"In the early phase of the championship we were able to build a bit of a lead. In the second phase I’ve been a bit unlucky with a few DNFs and its been championship management mode since then.
“I had a bit of wheelspin at the start, it was initially a good launch but the second phase wasn’t quite as good. I think Bart had a better one and then Reece again had an even better one. We were three wide into turn one again! It was a similar situation [to last time] and I was wondering if he would try something different, but he tried the same thing. It was a bit closer on the run up to McLeans but I managed to hold on and slowly pull a gap throughout the race. I think he came quite close in the middle phase as he was a bit stronger under braking for the hairpins, so he was definitely filling my mirrors! But I managed to pull a tiny gap at the end to clinch the win.
“I can have some fun now, it could be wet, and then we’ll have the last race live on Sky Sports as well which should be good fun trying to carve through the field!”
GB3 Championship in association with the BRDC, Qualifying result (race one grid):
1. Zak O’Sullivan, Carlin, 1m24.176s
2. Bart Horsten, Hitech GP, +0.033s
3. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, +0.054s
4. Sebastian Alvarez, Hitech GP, +0.157s
5. Roman Bilinski, Arden Motorsport, +0.204s
6. Christian Mansell, Carlin, +0.272s
GB3 Championship in association with the BRDC, Donington Park, race one result:
1. Zak O’Sullivan, Carlin, 12 laps
2. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, +0.961s
3. Roman Bilinski, Arden Motorsport, +6.733s
4. Branden Oxley, Chris Dittmann Racing, +7.222s
5. Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport, +7.991s
6. Bryce Aron, Carlin, +9.215s
GB3 Championship, Championship standings after race 22 of 24
1. Zak O'Sullivan, Carlin, 489pts
2. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, 352pts
3. Christian Mansell, Carlin, 347pts
4. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, 337pts
5. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports, 325pts
6. Bart Horsten, Hitech GP, 298pts