Nazim Azman wins reverse-grid race at Donington Park as Novalak claims BRDC British F3 crown after lap one clash

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Clement Novalak wins BRDC British F3 Championship
Credit: Carlin

Clement Novalak has won the 2019 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship after the reverse-grid race at Donington Park despite a first lap clash with his championship rival Johnathan Hoggard. The Carlin driver was able to finish in twelfth position while his Fortec Motorsports rival had to pit after grass got into the radiators which cost him all chances of keeping the title alive.

Meanwhile, Nazim Azman took the victory in the reverse-grid race as the Malaysian racer headed a Chris Dittmann Racing 1-2 after sustaining race-long pressure from his team-mate Ayrton Simmons.

The pair battled for two laps in a row with Simmons making two ambitious dives at the infamous Melbourne Hairpin, but to no avail with the Malaysian racer holding on to secure his second win of the season after emerging victorious in the equivalent race at Brands Hatch last month.

The race got underway with Kris Wright losing the lead immediately to Azman on the run down into Redgate as the other Chris Dittmann Racing driver Simmons made immense progress on the opening lap, slicing his way through the pack from seventh to third position.

But all eyes were on the action at the rear of the field as after making a good start, Hoggard was boxed in at the Craner Curves and as Novalak made a bad start, he was stuck between a rock and a hard place. The Carlin racer defended and squeezed the Fortec Motorsports driver when the pair made contact and were acquainted with the Donington Park scenery before rejoining several seconds behind the rear of the pack.

The fight for the title was seemingly coming to a head once more as Josh Mason was holding up Novalak for twelfth place which allowed Hoggard to close up on the Carlin driver. But after his grassy moment, the Spalding racer was unable to get on terms with his title rival. Then at the end of lap five, he was forced to pit with grass stuck in the radiators of his F3 racing car.

Further up the field, just like in other reverse-grid races, Wright started to fall through the field like a lead drum and went from third to ninth place in just three laps with the Melbourne Hairpin being the most common place for his rivals to navigate past the American. He ultimately finished in eleventh place from pole position.

But at the front of the order, despite the best efforts of Simmons in seizing the lead from Azman, the Malaysian held on to claim his second win of the year from his British team-mate. Neil Verhagen finished a fighting third for his sixth podium of the year.

This race was about Clement Novalak and the fact that the British-Swiss racer sealed the 2019 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship. As despite the soimewhat controversial circumstances in which he did it, he was the much more consistent driver throughout the season and deserves to be this season’s champion.

Round 23 of 2019 BRDC British Formula 3 (Donington Park) Race Results:

POSDriver NameNATTeam
1Nazim AzmanMASChris Dittmann Racing
2Ayrton SimmonsGBRChris Dittmann Racing
3Neil VerhagenUSADouble R Racing
4Sasakorn ChaimongkolTHAHillspeed
5Kiern JewissGBRDouglas Motorsport
6Lucas PeterssonSWECarlin
7Manuel MaldonadoVENFortec Motorsports
8Kaylen FrederickUSACarlin
9Ulysse De PauwBELDouglas Motorsport
10Hampus EricssonSWEDouble R Racing
11Kris WrightUSAFortec Motorsports
12Clement NovalakGBRCarlin
13Josh MasonGBRLanan Racing
14Pavan RavishankarSGPDouble R Racing
15Johnathan HoggardGBRFortec Motorsports
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NCTJ Graduate and nominated finalist for Sir William Lyons Award in November 2018. Formula E and Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy TCF correspondent.
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