Championship leader Enaam Ahmed made it four wins from the first four races of the 2017 BRDC British Formula 3 season, as a barnstorming opening lap saw him charge from the second row to the lead and onwards to victory in race one of the weekend (29/30 April) at Rockingham.
Pole-sitter Cameron Das held the lead through the first two corners but lost out to Ahmed at turn three, and despite closing on his Carlin team-mate on occasions, had to settle for second. South African Callan O’Keeffe completed a strong performance to round out the podium in third.
Just as at Oulton Park, reigning US Formula 4 champion Das lined up on pole position for race one of the weekend but as the lights went out, it was his fellow front-row starter Omar Ismail who made the better getaway and he challenged for the lead into the turn two hairpin. Being on the outside would prove Ismail’s undoing however as he was pushed out of the line and dropped to fifth, whilst fourth place starter Ahmed had rocketed up to second, and switched back down the inside of Das on the run to turn three to take the lead.
Another fast starter was O’Keeffe, who jumped from fifth to third, just ahead of Fortec Motorsports’ Ben Hingeley who dropped one place to fourth. Carlin’s James Pull meanwhile was making up for a disappointing qualifying session and he climbed three places on the opening lap to run in sixth, before dispatching Ismail in swift fashion to move up to fifth.
With all the frantic action across the first lap, Ahmed was able to open up a healthy lead approaching two seconds over the first two circuits. Das meanwhile was forced into fending off heavy pressure from O’Keeffe, who was determined to seize second from his rival. Further back, Dane Nicolai Kjaegaard pulled off a great move around the outside of Jamie Chadwick at the Deene hairpin to take seventh, putting her into the clutches of her Double R Racing team-mate Guilherme Samaia.
Das soon regrouped though and, with a succession of fastest laps, cut the lead down to just over half-a-second but Ahmed was able to respond as the race moved past its halfway mark and edge out the gap once more. Meanwhile, Jamie Chadwick was involved in a fierce battle with Samaia for the all important eighth place which gives pole position for race two, fending off a number of lunges from the Brazilian into the Deene hairpin.
As the race headed into its closing stages, Ahmed pushed his lead to over one second and after 14 laps, was greeted with the chequered flag to continue his perfect start to the 2017 season. Das came home second ahead of O’Keeffe in third with Hingeley fourth and Pull fifth.
Omar Ismail took sixth with Kjaergaard seventh and Chadwick holding off Samaia to claim eighth and pole position for race two at Rockingham tomorrow morning. Samaia was ninth and Lanan Racing’s Toby Sowery completed the top-10.
The partially-reversed grid race two at Rockingham gets underway at 09:50 tomorrow with Jamie Chadwick on pole position. You can, as always, follow all the action through live timing and updates on the official British Formula 3 website.
BRDC British Formula 3 – Rockingham – Race One
1. Enaam Ahmed, Carlin, 14 Laps
2. Cameron Das, Carlin, +1.011s
3. Callan O’Keeffe, Douglas Motorsport, +2.028s
4. Ben Hingeley, Fortec Motorsports, +3.618s
5. James Pull, Carlin, +7.339s
6. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, +8.517s
7. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Fortec Motorsports, +11.366s
8. Jamie Chadwick, Double R Racing, +17.207s
9. Guilherme Samaia, Double R Racing, +17.524s
10. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, +17.840s
11. Chase Owen, Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing, +18.299s
12. Harry Hayek, Double R Racing, +21.861s
13. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +23.261s
14. Nick Worm, Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing, +29.032s
15. Aaron di Comberti, Lanan Racing, +34.585s
16. Jeremy Wahome, Chris Dittmann Racing, +57.059s
22 January 2018 - Donington to host British F3 and GT Media Day on Thursday 8 March
18 January 2018 - George Russell graduates to F2 with ART GP
12 January 2018 - Kush Maini to race in BRDC British F3 with Lanan Racing in 2018
11 January 2018 - Stratton Motorsport joins BRDC British F3 from 2018
11 January 2018 - BRDC British F3 drivers to be eligible for Sunoco Whelen Challenge prize