British F3

Lights-to-flag victory for Simmons in British F3 Race 1

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Credit: Jakob Ebrey

Ayrton Simmons picked up where he left off at Brands Hatch on Saturday, adding to his two wins last year and double pole position by winning the first race of the 2021 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship.

The CDR man won twice in a wildcard appearance at Brands last season, so his pace this weekend did not come as a surprise to many.

Simmons secured pole for both Race 1 and 2 in the dying minutes of Qualifying on Saturday morning, and led the field by a second at the end of the first tour around the Grand Prix loop.

Max Marzorati (CDR), Reema Juffali (Douglas Motorsport) and Mikkel Grundtvig (Fortec Motorsports) overtook Elite Motorsport‘s José Garfias on Lap 2, while the rest of the order remained relatively unchanged in the first few minutes of the 20.

Hitech GP‘s Sebastian Alvarez slipped five places to 13th on Lap 3, overtaken by Alex Fores, Tom Lebbon, Christian Mansell, Bryce Aron and Roberto Faria.

Oliver Bearman (Fortec) had closed the gap to Simmons to three-quarters of a second at the end of Lap 3, while Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan kept a watching brief half a second behind one of the Championship’s last-minute entries.

Simmons found a tenth on Lap 4 and set the fastest lap, pulling away a little from Bearman in the process, with O’Sullivan, Bart Horsten and Reece Ushijima (both Hitech) rounding out the top five.

The two Hitechs of Horsten and Ushijima had fallen off the back of O’Sullivan by Lap 5 as Simmons extended his lead to a second, with Horsten two seconds behind the Carlin and Ushijima over a second behind his team-mate.

Christian Mansell (Carlin) moved past Tom Lebbon in the Elite Motorsport car for ninth place on Lap 7, while Bearman set a personal best to close the gap to Ayrton Simmons to less than a second again.

The podium challengers had isolated themselves from the Hitech pair behind by Lap 9, with Horsten 3.6 seconds behind O’Sullivan and Ushijima a further 2.6 seconds back.

After dispatching with Lebbon, Mansell went after Alex Fores in the #90 Chris Dittmann Racing entry, getting past him for ninth going into Lap 11, while Lebbon also got through for P10.

Meanwhile, Roberto Faria moved ahead of Bryce Aron for P11, but Alex Fores and Faria dropped off the timing screens on the final lap.

Simmons took the win on the Brands Hatch GP circuit as he did twice last year, by 1.2s from Oliver Bearman, with Zak O’Sullivan a further four tenths back for Carlin.

2021 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship Brands Hatch Race 1 Results:

118Ayrton SimmonsGBRChris Dittmann Racing16:21.696
287Oliver BearmanGBRFortec Motorsports+1.207
351Zak O’SullivanGBRCarlin+1.644
450Bart HorstenAUSHitech GP+6.872
513Reece UshijimaJPNHitech GP+10.579
678Frederick LubinGBRArden Motorsport+11.388
727Alex ConnorGBRArden Motorsport+14.997
821Christian MansellAUSCarlin+23.346
934Tom LebbonGBRElite Motorsport+24.437
1023Bryce AronUSACarlin+27.274
1112Sebastian AlvarezMEXHitech GP+27.868
123Javier SagreraESPElite Motorsport+28.401
1355Dexter PattersonGBRDouglas Motorsport+30.337
1481Max MarzoratiGBRChris Dittmann Racing+30.865
1510Reema JuffaliSAUDouglas Motorsport+42.101
1643Mikkel GrundtvigDENFortec Motorsports+42.355
1790Alex ForesGBRChris Dittmann RacingDNF
187Roberto FariaBRAFortec MotorsportsDNF
1999José GarfiasMEXElite MotorsportDNF

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Stickler for track limits, covering BRDC British F3 and the British GT Championship. Twitter: @FutbolCallander
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