The second round of the 2019 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship at Snetterton saw three different winners in the three races across the weekend, with Clement Novalak’s consistency seeing the Carlin racer hold a 37-point margin over his nearest rival, Johnathan Hoggard ahead of the next round of the series at Silverstone on 7-8 June.
After trading paint in the first race of the weekend, Hoggard claimed his second win of the season after a well-executed drive from the Fortec Motorsports driver after a superb overtake at the Wilson hairpin to beat Novalak in a fair fight in Norfolk, while Kiern Jewiss took his first podium of the season in third. The win put Hoggard within five points of Novalak ahead of the reverse-grid race on Sunday morning.
The reverse-grid race was a lot more drama-filled as Lucas Petersson made good use of pole position to hold at bay the fast-starting Benjamin Pedersen and his fellow countryman Neil Verhagen in the fight for the race lead. Peterssen took a lights-to-flag win and became the second reverse-grid polesitter to convert grid position into race victory in two rounds.
Further behind, Novalak and Hoggard both made great progress throughout the incident-filled race. But after losing crucial points to his Fortec Motorsports rival in race one, Novalak claimed some ground back with Novalak finishing six with Hoggard only eighth, meaning the points margin was eight points heading into the crucial final race of the weekend.
But things went wrong immediately for Hoggard, who after starting race three from pole position, lost the lead to Hampus Ericsson on the run down into Riches, and then squeezed Verhagen on the inside of the pits straight which broke the American racer’s suspension. Simultaneously though, he had Jewiss attempting a pass around the outside; but out of nowhere, Verhagen catapulted into the pair like a missile at the Wilson hairpin which eliminated all three of them from the race. Things got worse for Hoggard post-race as he was given a 10-place grid penalty for race one of the weekend at Silverstone in three weeks time.
So with Hoggard eliminated from proceedings, Novalak was able to profit massively in the drivers standings with a big points score courtesy of a second-place finish. But after a disastrous outing at Oulton Park last month, Ericsson proved his worth and claimed his maiden win in the championship, which elevated the Swede into fourth place in the championship standings.
After an eventful weekend at Snetterton, the 2019 BRDC British F3 Championship has taken another decisive turn as in a weekend that offered so much for Fortec Motorsports driver Johnathan Hoggard has ultimately left him licking his wounds. But with six rounds and 18 races still left to contest this season, there is everything to play for. Clement Novalak heads to Silverstone GP Circuit for the third round of the championship on 8-9 June hopeful to retain a seamless charge to the championship title, but after his nearest rival Hoggard was served a vital blow to his championship challenge, will Novalak be served the same fate at Silverstone?