Dunne’s Zandvoort double transforms GB3 title battle

Dunne’s Zandvoort double transforms GB3 title battle

Just when he needed it the most, Hitech Pulse-Eight’s Alex Dunne claimed a double victory at Zandvoort (Saturday), not only maintaining his remarkable record of overseas victories in GB3, but also forcing his way back into title contention.


The Irishman headed to Zandvoort with a 42-point deficit to championship leader Callum Voisin, but heads into Sunday’s reverse grid encounter just six behind as the top three drivers encountered varying fortunes at the home of the Dutch Grand Prix. 

Qualifying
Dunne’s weekend was set up perfectly in qualifying this morning, as he claimed his first pole position of the season and also secured second on the grid for race two. But Voisin’s weekend aspirations changed into damage limitation mode after Michael Shin collided with him at turn one, causing floor damage that restricted him to only tenth and ninth positions for races one and two respectively.


McKenzy Cresswell was second fastest in the session, 0.154s behind Dunne, but claimed race two pole, with the grid for that contest determined by each driver’s second quickest times. 


Nico Christodoulou (Arden VRD) was third fastest, while JHR’s Joseph Loake, second in the championship heading into the event, claimed fourth and fifth for the race one and two grid respectively. 


Race one
With Dunne and Loake eyeing the opportunity to make big inroads into their championship fights, Dunne led every lap of the first contest, and won convincingly, six seconds clear of the pack.


Cresswell took second while Loake climbed to third with a last lap pass on long time podium-runner Christodoulou who was fourth. 


Hitech’s Souta Arao claimed his best result of the season in fifth, having also qualified there, with Loake’s teammate Rees sixth ahead of Voisin, who did a fine job to salvage seventh from the fringes of the top-10. Those results though meant Loake closed to within five points of Voisin at the top of the standings, and Dunne slashed his gap from 42 points to 22 in one race. 


Race two
Dunne started second, but made the best start to pass Cresswell at Tarzan. After an early safety car, he repeated his race one charge to pull away from the field once more, taking the chequered flag almost five seconds clear this time, with Cresswell second again. 


Christodoulou converted third place at the second time of asking, ahead of teammate James Hedley. But behind, an almighty scrap for fifth was unfolding between Loake and Voisin, each acutely aware that every single point was now vital. 


The pair were nose to tail for several laps before Voisin forced his way through at the banked turn three, moving into fifth at Loake’s expense on lap 10, with Loake crossing the line sixth ahead of Rees at the end of the contest.


That result put Dunne into second in the championship after his fourth win from five international races so far in 2023, having also won twice at Spa, and the top-three now covered by just seven points. 


The final race of the weekend, the reverse grid encounter, is due to commence at 11.05 local time (10.05 UK) with series newcomer Patrick Heuzenroeder provisionally on pole position. Voisin, Loake and Dunne are set to start from 15th, 21st and 24th respectively.


The results of race two remain provisional, pending further investigations.


Double race winner Dunne said: “After Brands Hatch I had the mind-set of playing catch-up, so to execute pole position and two race wins and two fastest laps is a good way to start the weekend.


“I knew in the previous race that I got a pretty good start, so I just tried to execute that again. I knew the pace was good so I just needed to get my head down and try to get good consistent laps to build a gap and I managed to do that.


“Tomorrow I think I’ll do what I normally do, so far my reverse grids have been pretty good, I’ve been coming through and making up a good amount of places, so I’ll try to do that again. Obviously I’m going to do my best to not make any silly mistakes and avoid whatever carnage there’s going to be, because I think there’s guaranteed to be some.”


GB3 Championship, partnered by the BRDC, Zandvoort qualifying top-six result:
1. Alex Dunne, Hitech Pulse-Eight, 1m30.197s
2. McKenzy Cresswell, Elite Motorsport, +0.154s
3. Nico Christodoulou, Arden VRD, +0.236s
4. Joseph Loake, JHR Developments, +0.277s
5. Souta Arao, Hitech Pulse-Eight, +0.445s
6. Matthew Rees, JHR Developments, +0.467s

GB3 Championship, partnered by the BRDC, Zandvoort, race one top-six result:
1. Alex Dunne, Hitech Pulse-Eight, 13 laps
2. McKenzy Cresswell, Elite Motorsport, +6.081s
3. Joseph Loake, JHR Developments, +9.858s
4. Nico Christodoulou, Arden VRD, +10.812s
5. Souta Arao, Hitech Pulse-Eight, +13.668s
6. Matthew Rees, JHR Developments, +15.096s

GB3 Championship, partnered by the BRDC, Zandvoort, race two top-six result (provisional):
1. Alex Dunne, Hitech Pulse-Eight, 12 laps
2. McKenzy Cresswell, Elite Motorsport, +4.884s
3. Nico Christodoulou, Arden VRD, +8.716s
4. James Hedley, Arden VRD, +9.439s
5. Callum Voisin, Rodin Carlin, +12.850s
6. Joseph Loake, JHR Developments, +13.332s


GB3 Championship, driver’s championship standings after race 20 of 24:
1. Callum Voisin, Rodin Carlin, 387pts
2. Alex Dunne, Hitech Pulse-Eight, 381pts
3. Joseph Loake, JHR Developments, 380pts
4. McKenzy Cresswell, Elite Motorsport, 334pts
5. Matthew Rees, JHR Developments, 300pts
6. James Hedley, Arden VRD, 297pts


GB3 Championship, team’s championship standings after race 20 of 24:
1. JHR Developments, 722pts
2. Rodin Carlin, 623pts
3. Arden VRD, 599pts
4. Hitech Pulse-Eight, 571pts
5. Elite Motorsport, 520pts
6. Fortec Motorsport, 400pts


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