Bilinski bounces back to dominate at Oulton Park, O’Sullivan on brink of GB3 title

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Credit: Jakob Ebrey

Roman Bilinski took his third win of the 2021 GB3 Championship season in Race 3 at a sodden Oulton Park on Sunday.

Having given up two rounds’ experience of the car to his rivals, only joining Arden Motorsport from Donington Park onwards, replacing Frederick Lubin in the first instance during a spell of illness, then taking Alex Connor‘s seat from the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps round which saw him take his first win.

The Polish driver recently announced he would no longer be racing in the F4 British Championship, leaving Carlin and committing to the rest of the GB3 season with Arden, the team he ran with in British F4 in 2020.

His 2020 campaign saw him finish eighth in the final standings, while he sat 13th at the time of his departure in August.

Bilinski received a ten-second time penalty after Race 2 for gaining a position after exceeding track limits at Old Hall corner to get past Sebastian Alvarez into Cascades on Lap 2.

That put him 13th in the final result, but didn’t affect his starting position for Race 3, the grid being derived from the reverse of Saturday’s qualifying order.

The Arden driver started fourth, taking the lead through Cascades, and didn’t look back as he cleared off to eventually take the win by over eight seconds from polesitter Mikkel Grundtvig (Fortec Motorsport).

Grundtvig held second, ahead of Frederick Lubin, who took his first podium of the season to complete a double-podium for Arden.

Hillspeed‘s Jonathan Browne sat third in the early stages, before spinning at Hislop’s, surrendering the final podium place and fourth to Branden Oxley (Chris Dittmann Racing) and Alvarez (Hitech GP).

Alvarez found a way past Oxley on Lap 4, before Lubin and Race 2 retiree Javier Sagrera (Elite Motorsport) mugged the Hitech driver on Lap 6.

Alvarez’ Hitech team-mate Reece Ushijima went grass-tracking on Lap 4 at Cascades as he chased Oxley, dropping to 16th and last.

Race 2 winner Luke Browning spun with Bart Horsten at Shell Oils on Lap 1, with Browning the first retiree alongside Reema Juffali, who skidded into the inside wall at Old Hall on Lap 7, getting onto the wet kerb while trying to move around the outside of Horsten.

Bilinski took the win by over eight seconds, from Grundtvig and Lubin.

Javier Sagrera missed out on a podium by less than a second, while Alvarez held Championship leader Zak O’Sullivan behind in sixth in a race where the Gloucestershire driver might have expected to take the title and take the pressure off the Championship’s visit to Donington Park in October.

As it was, title challenger and seventh-place finisher Ayrton Simmons only surrendered four points to O’Sullivan in Race 3, but gained 11 across the weekend to keep his Championship push alive going into the final meeting of the season.

Tom Lebbon took eighth, leading early spinner Browne home in ninth, while Fortec Motorsport‘s Roberto Faria rounded out the top ten.

The final potential champion ahead of Donington, Christian Mansell, shot up from 13th to 11th on the final lap in Race 3 to keep his title hipes alive heading to Donington.

The Australian has, with Simmons, been Mr Consistent this season, finishing every single race to date, while Simmons’ only retirement came in Race 2 at Brands Hatch when his Chris Dittmann Racing car mounted Horsten’s Hitech at Druids.

Simmons has four wins, three of which coming at Silverstone GP, as against Mansell’s two at Brands Hatch and Spa.

Those records put Simmons and Mansell 112 and 115 points behind O’Sullivan respectively, going into the final triple-header of the first ever GB3 Championship campaign with a total of 116 still available.

Though you would likely get the longest of odds on either taking the title from O’Sullivan, who can almost take the title just by finishing Race 1 at Donington, stranger things have happened in motorsport.

Just last year, Carlin’s uber-consistent eventual champion, Kaylen Frederick had a self-styled “nightmare weekend” at Brands Hatch, taking just 17 points after two collisions with Lanan Racing‘s Piers Prior in the first two races.

That said, it took until the penultimate race of the 24-round campaign for Frederick to wrap the title up against Hitech’s Kush Maini, whereas O’Sullivan might well have taken the pressure off himself by securing the title four races early had he finished Race 2 on Sunday afternoon at Oulton Park.

2021 Oulton Park Race 3 Results

14Roman BilinskiPOLArden Motorsport12 laps
243Mikkel GrundtvigDENFortec Motorsport+8.150s
378Frederick LubinGBRArden Motorsport+11.200s
43Javier SagreraESPElite Motorsport+11.638s
512Sebastian AlvarezMEXHitech GP+18.086s
651Zak O’SullivanGBRCarlin+18.550s
718Ayrton SimmonsGBRChris Dittmann Racing+18.985s
834Tom LebbonGBRElite Motorsport+24.531s
95Jonathan BrowneROIHillspeed+25.052s
107Roberto FariaBRAFortec Motorsport+31.014s
1121Christian MansellAUSCarlin+31.528s
1268Branden Lee OxleyGBRChris Dittmann Racing+33.585s
1323Bryce AronUSACarlin+34.174s
1450Bart HorstenAUSHitech GP+34.417s
1513Reece UshijimaJPNHitech GP+1:35.610s
1610Reema JuffaliSAUDouglas MotorsportDNF (crash)
178Luke BrowningGBRFortec MotorsportDNF (damage)
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Stickler for track limits, covering the GB3 Championship and the FIA Formula 3 Championship. Twitter: @MCallanderMedia
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