Debutant Cane victorious as Ahmed takes two more wins at Snetterton
Championship leader Enaam Ahmed bounced back from his Rockingham defeats to win his fifth and sixth races of the 2017 BRDC British Formula 3 season at Snetterton.
In between victories for Ahmed, series rookie Jordan Cane won his second race in the championship, just five days after celebrating his 16th birthday.
Ahmed won his fifth race of the year in the opening encounter, which took place in dry conditions, in stark contrast to the damp qualifying session. When the lights went out, pole-sitter Pull headed off to Riches in the lead, but fellow front row starter Ahmed moved to the inside hoping to exit the first corner in front. Instead he was passed by Sowery, who ran round the outside of the points leader to take second place. The Lanan driver was unable to complete the lap in this place, however, and Ahmed retook second at Murray's as the field headed into lap two.
Having dispatched with Sowery, Ahmed grabbed the lead from Pull on the Bentley Straight, having got a better exit out of Williams on lap two, Pull running slightly wide, whilst Das moved up to sixth place ahead of Chadwick. Further back, Omar Ismail spun at the Esses, which brought out the safety car.
The race got back underway on lap five, and having established the lead, Ahmed began to extend his advantage over Pull, who ran in a group with Sowery and O'Keeffe for the remaining laps. This left Hingeley in fifth place fending off the attentions of Das, Chadwick and Cane.
Ninth place became hotly-contested, with Kjaergaard and Maldonado battling for the place, which benefitted both Chase Owen and Aaron Di Comberti as they moved up the order and into the top ten.
At the start of Sunday morning's race, Cane, who finished in eighth place on his British F3 debut, made the most of his partial reverse-grid pole position to lead into Riches. Meanwhile fellow front-row-starter Jamie Chadwick made a slow getaway, losing several places, and Das shot through from third place to challenge for the lead. Cane and Das ran side-by-side through Riches, but it was the pole-sitter who led onto the Bentley Straight. As the field completed the opening lap, Cane headed Das, O'Keeffe, Ben Hingeley and Sowery. Chadwick's start lost her five places, and she lost another to Ahmed, who used the opening part of the race to post the fastest lap of the weekend so far, taking pole position for race three.
Further back, seventh-place starter and race one pole-sitter James Pull dropped back through the field, certain that he had picked up some debris on his way to the grid. He pitted on lap three with a shredded rear tyre, so his Carlin mechanics bolted on a new one, and he set a lap good enough to start race three on the front row alongside team-mate Ahmed.
Back at the front of the action, Cane was controlling the gap to Das, even pulling away a little from his rival. Cane's mission was helped in part by Douglas team-mate O'Keeffe, who was keeping the Carlin driver honest, and ready to pounce should an opportunity present itself. Eventually the top three drivers cleared the rest of the field, leaving fourth place to be disputed by Hingeley and Sowery.
In sixth place, Ahmed ran a relatively lonely race as Chadwick defended seventh from Nicolai Kjaergaard. The top ten was completed by Chase Owen and Guilherme Samia.
Taking the chequered flag over a second clear of Das, Cane was a jubilant winner, whilst O'Keeffe completed the podium, where trophies were handed out by Le Mans and GT racing BRDC member Martin Short.
Having set the fastest lap of the weekend so far to take pole position for the final race of the weekend, Ahmed got away well to lead as the lights went out, but behind, Sowery got off to a flyer, and challenged Pull into Riches, successfully taking the place in a repeat of his race one performance. This time, however, he stayed ahead of the Carlin car and chased after Ahmed, making good progress in the early laps.
Once his tyres to come up to temperature, Ahmed maintained a safe gap to Sowery and with Pull keeping the Lanan driver in check, the top three began to pull away from the rest of the field. Behind, the Douglas cars of race two winner Cane and O'Keeffe raced in tandem and chased by Das, whom O'Keeffe had demoted in the early laps.
Das was unable to get on terms with the Douglas pair, but ran ahead of Fortec's Hingeley. Behind, Kjaergaard lost ground defending from an intense midfield pack that included Ismail, Di Comberti, Maldonado, Chadwick and Owen. Samaia had headed this group, but retired from the race on lap six.
Ahmed managed to stretch his lead over Sowery to just over two seconds at the chequered flag, winning his sixth race of the season and establishing a commanding 44-point lead over team-mate Das. Pull finished a second behind Sowery, completing the podium.
BRDC British F3 Championship standings after nine of 24 rounds
1. Enaam Ahmed, Carlin, 241pts
2. Cameron Das, Carlin, 197pts
3. Ben Hingeley, Fortec Motorsports, 186pts
4. James Pull, Carlin, 179pts
5. Callan O'Keeffe, Douglas Motorsport, 175pts
6. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, 155pts
7. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, 99pts
8. Chase Owen, Hillspeed, 95pts