Manuel Maldonado made a storming start from sixth on the grid to claim his first victory in the BRDC British F3 Championship, in a dramatic race two at Oulton Park this morning (Monday). The cousin of F1 race-winner Pastor, fended off race long pressure from Fortec team mate and pole sitter Tristan Charpentier, with Jamie Chadwick rising from ninth on the grid to take her second podium in F3.
With very tricky conditions and constant rain, the race was red flagged while under a second safety car period, with race results taken from the end of lap seven.
Nicolai Kjaergaard surged from 15th on the grid to secure fourth place ahead of Lanan Racing's Kush Maini. Tom Gamble ensured there were three Fortec cars in the top-six, with Clement Novalak (from 17th and last on the grid) recovering well from Saturday's DNF, to claim seventh ahead of Linus Lundqvist (from 16th) and Billy Monger (from 14th) finishing ninth and also setting fastest lap, with Arvin Esmaeili completing the top-10 for Douglas Motorsport.
This was the first race run under BRDC British F3's new race two regulations, which uses a full reverse grid of finishers from race one, as well as points earned for positions gained. With lots to gain, it was always likely to be an exciting race, and with the rain adding further drama, British F3's new format delivered in style at Oulton Park.
As the lights went out, Maldonado made a brilliant start from the third row of the grid, slicing right through the middle of his rivals as if they weren't moving to take the lead before the pack filtered through Old Hall corner. With treacherous conditions as the field tip toed around the first corner, Jordan Cane was the first casualty, ending up lightly in the barriers on the outside of the corner.
As the field completed the first lap, Maldonado held the lead from Charpentier, while Chris Dittmann Racing's Chia Wing Hoong made a good start to hold third at the end of the opening tour, but with Jamie Chadwick, who had climbed from ninth on the grid to be swarming all over the Malaysian in fourth place. Further back, a lightning start from race one winner Lundqvist saw him climb from 16th to seventh inside the opening lap, while Kjaergaard and Novalak were also inside the top-10 despite starting from the back two rows.
Maldonado stretched his lead to over a second at the end of lap two, while Chadwick made a move on Wing Hoong to move into the podium positions. The top three then began to compress together, with just a second covering all three by the end of lap four.
The safety car was brought out for the first time on lap six, with Pavan Ravishankar stranded in the gravel and requiring assistance to move him from a dangerous position. With conditions proving a constant challenge, the order was changing frequently with Kjaergaard continuing his charge, climbing up to fifth while Lundqvist slipped to ninth.
With Ravishankar quickly back on track, the safety car pitted at the end of lap seven, with Maldonado leading the field across the line. But offs for Kush Maini and Chia Wing Hoong immediately afterwards quickly brought out another safety car, while Krish Mahadik spun while challenging Jamie Chadwick for third, and ended up facing the wrong way at Old Hall with the remainder of the pack doing well to avoid him. The Safety Car eventually became a red flag with just over a minute remaining on the clock. The results were therefore taken from the end of lap seven with Maldonado's margin of victory being 0.393s.
With points awarded in this race for positions gained, Maldonado's climb from sixth to first earned him an additional five points on top of the 20 for the race win. The biggest improvers were the Carlin drivers Nicolai Kjaergaard and Clement Novalak, who gained 11 and 10 positions respectively, with Kjaergaard securing a total of 24 points from the race. Maldonado, Charpentier and Chadwick received their trophies on the podium from GT racer and BRDC member Darren Turner.
The final race of the weekend is scheduled to start at 14.40, with Nicolai Kjaergaard starting on pole.
BRDC British F3 Championship, Oulton Park race two result:
1. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, 7 laps
2. Tristan Charpentier, Fortec Motorsports, +0.393s
3. Jamie Chadwick, Douglas Motorsport, +0.750s
4. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Carlin, +2.469s
5. Kush Maini, Lanan Racing, +2.849s
6. Tom Gamble, Fortec Motorsports, +3.283s
7. Clement Novalak, Carlin, +3.557s
8. Linus Lundqvist, Double R Racing, +4.016s
9. Billy Monger, Carlin, +5.115s
10. Arvin Esmaeili, Douglas Motorsport, +11.779s
11. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, Hillspeed, +13.026s
12. Ben Hurst, Hillspeed, +1 lap
13. Sun Yue Yang, Carlin, +1 lap
14. Pavan Ravishankar, Double R Racing, +1 lap
DNF. Krish Mahadik, Double R Racing
DNF. Chia Wing Hoong, Chris Dittmann Racing
DNF. Jordan Cane, Douglas Motorsport
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