British F3

PREVIEW: 2019 BRDC British F3 Round Four Donington Park – British F3 grid gears up for first Donington encounter

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Clement Novalak - Carlin - Silverstone GP circuit
Credit: BRDC British F3

The 2019 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship will now take on the challenge of the Donington Park Grand Prix circuit this weekend, which will be the first of two visits that the series takes to the East Midlands track this season as the open wheel racing series will conclude the championship campaign at Donington on 14-15 September.

As we approach the half-way stage of the season, seven drivers have taken victories in the first nine races of the season with more names aim to add themselves to that list. Despite this, Clement Novalak has a comfortable 36-point lead in the drivers standings over Johnathan Hoggard with Ayrton Simmons just nine points further behind in third as the fight for the title continues to hot up.

Carlin’s Novalak sits atop of the drivers championship table after the teenager secured his second win of the year in the opening race of the weekend at the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit. Consequently, this has meant that his points lead has stayed more a less in tact with a blossoming 36-point margin over his nearest challenger Hoggard, who is the only other driver to have claimed multiple victories in the 2019 season.

After having to serve a ten-place grid penalty in race one, Hoggard fought hard throughout the weekend and actually trimmed Novalak’s points lead by a single point. So the Fortec Motorsports driver will be hopeful of his prospects this weekend to eat into Novalak’s dominant series lead.

But the driver of the weekend at Silverstone has to be Chris Dittmann Racing star Ayrton Simmons, who secured his first win in the series as well as a two other top five finishes including a mighty surge up the field in race two from seventeenth on the grid.

Such a performance has put Simmons within striking distance of the top two in the championship as the halfway point of the campaign approaches.

Some 34-points behind the top three is Carlin racer Kaylen Frederick, who managed to secure another podium result at the home of British motorsport in order to solidify fourth in the standings ahead of his fellow compatriot Neil Verhagen.

That was in spite of the fact that the Double R Racing driver finished first on the road in race three at Silverstone, only to be given a five second time penalty for exceeding track limits which demoted him down to fifth place. Thus meaning that his pursuit of a first win of the year continues and he’ll be determined to make amends around Donington Park.

Manuel Maldonado continued to maintain his record of finishing every race inside the top ten as the Fortec Motorsports driver racked up another trio of impressive finishes around the Silverstone GP circuit. And while his rivals continue to yo-yo in their form throughout the season, the ever-consistent Venezuelan will be at the pointy end of the championship come the end of the year.

So after impressing at Snetterton, Hampus Ericsson will be looking to deliver at Donington Park as the Swede bids to return to the sharp-end of the grid after a sloppy weekend for the Double R racer at Silverstone.

Meanwhile, Belgian driver Ulysse De Pauw heads the trio of Douglas Motorsport drivers in the standings after banking a positive set of results at Silverstone, just three points ahead of reigning British F4 Champion Kiern Jewiss, who is overdue some good fortune after being the innocent bystander in a couple of incidents while running in the top half of the field at Silverstone.

While his results have been nothing much to write home about, the British teenager has shown race-winning pace this season. Behind Jewiss is American driver Benjamin Pedersen who claimed his debut victory and the team’s first win of the year during the reverse-grid race at Silverstone, which ensures that Douglas are the only team with all three of their drivers inside the top ten of the championship standings.

Outside the top ten, Malaysian driver Nazim Azman claimed another series of strong results at Silverstone and is a single point ahead of Hillspeed’s Sasakorn Chaimongkol who has had an exceptional season thus far. And after topping a session in pre-season testing, the Thai racer has the potential to impress this weekend.

Lanan Racing’s Josh Mason has made solid progress in only his second year in the series and heads to Donington, hopeful that he can repeat the positive trio of results that he secured here last year which included a podium in the reverse-grid race. He has achieved a seasons-best finish of fifth at Oulton Park, so he will be looking to build on that at the East Midlands venue.

Behind Mason in the points classification is Carlin Racing’s super Swede Lucas Peterssen, who despite winning the reverse-grid race at Snetterton has had a troubled season, so will be hoping to have a more positive outcome to proceedings at Donington Park.

Singaporean driver Pavan Ravishankar will look to build on the podium result he secured at Silverstone, while 24-year old Kris Wright continues to endure a troubled campaign. As despite only making his debut at the last round, Nicolas Varrone’s fourth-placed finish in the reverse-grid race puts him within striking distance of Wright ahead of this weekend’s proceedings.

As the 2019 BRDC British F3 grid saddles up for what should be another thoroughly entertaining weekend of open wheel action around the Donington Park Grand Prix circuit, Clement Novalak will look to consolidate his 36-point lead in the drivers championship as Johnathan Hoggard and Ayrton Simmons aim to build on their momentum from the last round to close up on the Carlin racer’s points lead as the half-way stage of the season approaches.

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