Sowery Dominates, Leist Claims Championship with Solid Drive

Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

In what was one of the most untouchable drives of the season, Toby Sowery took the 35 points in the final round of the season. The big news came from further back though, as Matheus Leist won the inaugural BRDC British F3 Championship.

As for Leist, his championship success builds on his strong performance from 2015 in MSA Formula. It’s his first major single-seater title, ending the season with a 27 point gap to Ricky Collard in second.

The first start was abandoned after Ben Hingeley stalled on the grid. His car was awkwardly pushed onto the grass, where it got beached, instead of into the pits. After a second formation lap, the race got underway.

Sowery easily broke away from pole and never looked back, building a 3 second gap by the end of the second lap. He would set a number of fast laps, as he cruised away from the field.

It was the championship battle that everyone focused on though, with Leist going into the race with a 20 point cushion over his rival.

As for Collard, he started seventh two places behind. The Carlin driver needed to finish ahead to stand any chance of winning the championship. On the opening lap, Collard made a strong start, going wheel-to-wheel into the Esses with his rival. Despite being separated by mere inches, the two kept it clean as Leist stayed ahead.

Enaam Ahmed had benefited from the clean air at the start, taking second with the field tussling behind. His team-mate was no slouch either, as Thomas Randle nudged his way past Harrison Scott to take the final podium position.

Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography
Matheus Leist becomes the 2016 BRDC British F3 Champion. Becoming the first Brazilian since Felipe Nasr to claim the honour. (Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography)

Collard needed to finish in the top five to stand any realistic chance, though after a few failed overtakes, mellowed out. He remained on the tail of Leist throughout the race, but could only hope for a shock retirement that would never come.

Scott failed to keep up with the Double R Racing drivers as Leist and Collard joined the train for fourth. Although Scott didn’t get involved for the remainder of the race, he had already got caught up in controversy having edged Leist onto the grass off the start line.

Sowery eventually took the flag by a dominate 4.4 seconds with Ahmed and Randle rounding out the podium. Scott kept out of trouble in order to cross the line in fourth, with new champion Leist in fifth ahead of Collard.

Tarun Reddy had been alongside Collard into the first complex, but eventually fell back. He benefited from the retirement of Eugene Denyssen to take seventh as rookie James Pull recovered to take eighth.

Despite Denyssen’s retirement though, it wasn’t a wash out for Sean Walkinshaw Racing as Thomas Maxwell was ninth and Jeremy Wahome took his first top ten of the year in the final race.