Azman claims debut BRDC British F3 race win at Brands Hatch as top two suffer first turn blunder

by Nathan Hine
Top three after the reverse-grid race at Brands Hatch GP circuit

Chris Dittmann Racing secured a 1-2 finish in the reverse-grid race at the Brands Hatch GP circuit after Malaysian racer Nazim Azman claimed his debut victory in the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship. This was after the top two on the grid, Kris Wright and Pavan Ravishankar, ran into each other at the very first corner of the race, and after a lengthy Safety Car period, he managed to keep his team-mate Ayrton Simmons behind to secure a well-deserved race victory.

The race began with American Kris Wright on pole position, but as Singapore’s Pavan Ravishankar made a good start, the pair were side-by-side heading into Paddock Hill bend for the very first time. But as they tried to lean on each other through the corner, it ultimately resulted in contact and meant that they eliminated themselves from the race as both cars ended up beached in the gravel on the exit of the corner. This required a Safety Car intervention in order to recover the stranded single-seater racers.

Malaysian racer Nazim Azman inherited the lead after he decided to hang back from the top two heading into the first corner which paid dividens for the Chris Dittmann Racing driver. His team-mate Ayrton Simmons had moved into second position after a demon start from the Epping-bred star saw him move his way from sixth on the grid, while Josh Mason was able to gain a place from the first corner crash to run third.

As for the championship protaginists, Clement Novalak made his way up to eleventh position while Johnathan Hoggard was only able to gain the two places gifted from the top two crashing out of the race to run in fourteenth position.

The Safety Car intervention was a lengthy affair, with racing only getting back underway at the end of lap four due to the scale of incident. A good restart from Azman saw him string the field out on the restart with nobody able to capitalize to vault up a few places. The Malaysian driver had a good first lap to hold a 0.258 s margin over his team-mate Ayrton Simmons at the end of the first racing lap with the chasing pack close behind as a watching brief.

Things soon settled down, with the next significant piece of track action coming on lap seven when Hampus Ericsson overtook Benjamin Pedersen for fifth place while the American driver was trying to find an opening while battling his fellow countryman Neil Verhagen. But too close behind the Double R Racing driver, the Douglas Motorsport racer tried to open up the line which left him exposed to Ericsson as the Swede pounced through the middle sector.

On lap ten, Kaylen Frederick’s inconsistent season continued as the Carlin driver crashed out at Paddock Hill bend all on his own while in a comfortable eighth place. This saw the championship contenders Novalak and Hoggard gain another place and a point in the process.

But at the end of a thirteen lap encounter, it was Nazim Azman who scored his first BRDC British F3 victory in the reverse-grid race at the Brands Hatch GP circuit by beating his Chris Dittmann racing team-mate Ayrton Simmons by 0.388 s. Josh Mason did not have the pace to keep up with the leading duo and finished a distant third in another weekend where the British driver scored another reverse-grid race podium. As for the championship challengers, Novalak finished tenth with Hoggard in thirteenth and the last classified finisher. This meant that Novalak extended his points margin to 48 points heading into the final race of the weekend this afternoon at 1545.

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