Hitech GP’s Luke Browning and Fortec Motorsport’s Mikkel Grundtvig were the two winners on Monday at Oulton Park, as the first event of the season came to an entertaining conclusion.
Browning, winner of the first race of GB3’s new era by over 10 seconds on Saturday, delivered another supreme display in race two, this time winning by nearly nine seconds as he demonstrated his championship credentials.
Grundtvig meanwhile won the reverse grid third contest from pole position, his third such victory of his GB3 career. Browning retired from the final event, but still holds a seven point lead in the early championship standings.
From his second pole of the weekend, Browning again made the most of his starting position to lead by 1.6 seconds at the end of the first lap alone. The gap had stabilised at around three seconds at the midpoint of the contest, but then a string of consistent fast laps enabled him to again build a big lead, and headed home Carlin’s Roberto Faria by 8.924 seconds.
Faria was relatively comfortable in second place, his second successive podium, while Granfors withstood race-long pressure from JHR’s Matthew Rees to claim a first GB3 podium.
Rees missed out on a second podium by just four tenths of a second, and was over three seconds ahead of Elite’s John Bennett, who took his second top-five result of the weekend, finishing 0.409 seconds clear of teammate Tom Lebbon.
From reverse grid pole position, formed by the inverse of the qualifying result, Grundtvig dominated proceedings to finish 5.8 seconds ahead of Douglas Motorsport’s Tommy Smith, who took his first GB3 podium finish with second.
David Morales ended his first GB3 weekend with a podium, which included a late move on Hillspeed’s Nick Gilkes at Shell Oils bend, with Gilkes settling for fourth place, the best result of his debut weekend.
Branden Oxley was another driver to get his elbows out and claimed fifth courtesy of a daring move on Fortec’s Zak Taylor, who completed the race three top-six.
Championship leader Browning commented: “It’s amazing to come away with two wins, it’s exactly what we wanted. Unfortunately in the last race there was nothing I could do about it, and that was mirrored in the Clerk’s office as well. It is what it is unfortunately but we’re coming away with the championship lead which is good. Not every weekend is like this, and it wasn’t easy either as a lot of preparation went into it. It’ll be hard to stay at the top but we’re going to try!”
Race three winner Grundtvig said: “We had a very tough start to this race weekend, so to finish it like this is just incredible. When everything goes as plan, I just don’t know what to say. Happy. Overwhelmed. I just kept my head down and focused on myself, kept looking forward and just focused on my lines. Then suddenly after seven or eight laps I looked in the mirror and couldn’t see a car and I was like ‘okay!’”
The GB3 Championship season resumes at Silverstone on 7-8 May.
GB3 Championship, partnered by the BRDC, Oulton Park race two top-six:
1. Luke Browning, Hitech GP, 14 laps
2. Roberto Faria, Carlin, +8.924s
3. Joel Granfors, Fortec Motorsports, +10.305s
4. Matthew Rees, JHR, +10.736s
5. John Bennett, Elite Motorsport, +14.583s
6. Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport, +14.992s
GB3 Championship, partnered by the BRDC, Oulton Park race three top-six:
1. Mikkel Grundtvig, Fortec Motorsports, 14 laps
2. Tommy Smith, Douglas Motorsport, +5.841s
3. David Morales, Arden Motorsport, +6.208s
4. Nick Gilkes, Hillspeed, +7.743s
5. Branden Oxley, Chris Dittmann Racing, +8.490s
6. Zak Taylor, Fortec Motorsports, +11.796s
GB3 Championship, standings after race three of 24:
1. Luke Browning, Hitech GP, 70pts
2. Roberto Faria, Carlin, 63pts
3. John Bennett, Elite Motorsport, 47pts
4. Matthew Rees, JHR Developments, 45pts
= Joel Granfors, Fortec Motorsport, 45pts
= McKenzy Cresswell, Chris Dittmann Racing, 45pts
GB3 Championship, Teams’ standings after race three of 24:
1. Hitech GP, 99pts
2. Fortec Motorsport, 95pts
3. Carlin, 83pts
4. Elite Motorsport, 76pts
5. Chris Dittmann Racing, 71pts
6. Douglas Motorsport, 59pts