Hitech GP’s Luke Browning was unbeatable on Saturday at Spa-Francorchamps, as the championship leader powered to two victories at the home of the Belgian Grand Prix.
He beat main championship rival Joel Granfors in both contests, with the Swede taking second each time, the pair going wheel to wheel on both occasions, while there were also podiums for Branden Oxley and Max Esterson.
Starting from pole position, earned in yesterday’s qualifying session, Browning lost the lead on the first lap to Granfors at Les Combes, but fought back after an early safety car period to blast back into the lead at the same corner.
He then showed supreme pace, lapping over a second quicker than his rivals at times to take the chequered flag over six seconds clear of Fortec’s Granfors, earning his fourth victory of the season in the process.
Meanwhile, Chris Dittmann Racing’s Oxley enjoyed his strongest drive of the season so far to claim the final spot on the podium having started seventh, after Cian Shields had been handed a five second track limits penalty post-race.
Esterson was fourth, Elite’s Tom Lebbon fifth and Carlin’s Javier Sagrera sixth. Shields dropped from third to seventh after his penalty was applied.
Browning again started from pole, this time courtesy of his second best effort in qualifying, but was slower away from the front of the grid, allowing fellow front row starter Oxley to lead down to La Source.
But trouble was to follow, as Oxley was passed exiting Eau Rouge by Granfors and Browning. While Granfors squeezed Browning on the inside, Oxley attempted to regain the lead at Les Combes but skipped across the kerbs through the run off area, clattered into the back of the Swede and was forced into retirement.
Granfors somehow avoided damage but Browning was able to copy his race one move to blast back into the lead on lap two at Les Combes, and rebuffed a challenge at the same spot a lap later. From there, he was able to stretch a lead by a couple of tenths a lap, winning by 1.5 seconds this time, with Granfors second again.
Esterson took his first podium of the weekend in third, clear of Chris Dittmann Racing’s McKenzy Cresswell, who was fourth despite being delayed in the first lap drama. Marcos Flack (Douglas) and John Bennett (Elite) completed the top-six.
Double winner Browning said: “What a dream! It’s phenomenal, the team has done an amazing job, and it shows with all three drivers up there in qualifying. The car has been absolutely phenomenal to drive today, it really felt special.
“It was very close at the start, but that’s the nature of this track, it’s going to happen on the long straight before Les Combes. Luckily I just managed to get out unscathed, it was close, but regardless it’s a good result, a nice day and I’m looking forward to going home and celebrating with the team.”
GB3 Championship, partnered by the BRDC, Spa-Francorchamps, race one top-six:
1. Luke Browning, Hitech GP, 8 laps
2. Joel Granfors, Fortec Motorsport, +6.095s
3. Branden Oxley, Chris Dittmann Racing, +9.347s
4. Max Esterson, Douglas Motorsport, +9.584s
5. Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport, +9.986s
6. Javier Sagrera, Carlin, +10.822s
GB3 Championship, partnered by the BRDC, Spa-Francorchamps, race two top-six:
1. Luke Browning, Hitech GP, 9 laps
2. Joel Granfors, Fortec Motorsport, +1.531s
3. Max Esterson, Douglas Motorsport, +10.105s
4. McKenzy Cresswell, Chris Dittmann Racing, +11.441s
5. Marcos Flack, Douglas Motorsport, +14.973s
6. John Bennett, Elite Motorsport, +15.604s
GB3 Championship, standings after race 14 of 24:
1. Luke Browning, Hitech GP, 309pts
2. Joel Granfors, Fortec Motorsport, 286pts
3. Max Esterson, Douglas Motorsport, 226pts
4. Roberto Faria, Carlin, 197pts
5. Callum Voisin, Carlin, 196pts
6. Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport, 182pts
GB3 Championship, Teams’ standings after race 14 of 24:
1. Hitech GP, 477pts
2. Carlin, 464pts
3. Fortec Motorsport, 431pts
4. Elite Motorsport, 394pts
5. Douglas Motorsport, 370pts
6. Chris Dittmann Racing, 276pts
Image: The Hitech driver leads the field to La Source at the start of race one