Leist beats Collard to Top Nail-Biting Qualifying at Brands Hatch

Matheus Leist claimed pole ahead of the opening round of the BRDC British Formula 3 weekend at Brands Hatch. After an intense session the final few minutes eventually came down to a two-way fight between Ricky Collard and the Brazilian, with Leist eventually coming out on top.

The second BRDC British F3 Qualifying session of the season started with a bang as Colton Herta, the replacement for Lando Norris, was forced to pull off after technical issues brought his session to a halt. This brought out the red flag, but it wouldn’t be the only time they’d be used.

A few minutes after the restart, championship contender Aleksanteri Huovinen lost control of his car at Westfields deep in the forest, beaching his car on the curb. He eventually got help to get the car moving but not before the session was aborted once again.

Collard had been one of the quickest just before the second red flag and was fortunate to keep the momentum going forward after the restart, quickly going straight to the top. He would have a challenge to stay there though as Leist turned up the pace with a few minutes to go.

A last minute change has seen experienced BRDC F4 driver Raoul Hyman jump into the HHC Motorsport car for this weekend and the race winning South African was quick to prove his ability, taking third in the closing stages despite having only a few days to adapt to the new car.

Three other drivers had also impressed throughout the session with fourth placed Toby Sowery remaining a threat throughout the closing minutes. Enaam Ahmed and another South African, Sisa Ngebulana, rounded out the third row, with both having taken their time at the top early in the session.

With Huovinen and Herta starting at the back and Australian Thomas Randle continuing to struggle, the race will be an opportunity for the midfield drivers to prove themselves towards the front and for Leist and Collard to take the initiative in the championship.