Ahmed triumphs to leave Snetterton with British F3 points lead

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Douglas Motorsport’s Enaam Ahmed won a closely fought final race of the British Formula 3 season opener at Snetterton.

The 2015 MSA Formula rookie champion beat poleman Toby Sowery off the grid into Turn 1 and then held off the Lanan racer to win and take an early seven point lead in the championship from race one victor Lando Norris.

“I am really, really happy to progress from third in race one, second in race two and now winner in race three,” said Ahmed.

“It was not an easy race as I was struggling for pace a little bit but I controlled the gap fairly well.

“Toby and Lando were giving me a run for my money and it was hard to keep them behind as I hit a bollard down the straight and I thought that I might have broken my front wing for a second.”

Ahmed led throughout, but his victory was hard fought, with the top five cars covered by just two-seconds at the chequered flag, Ahmed winning from Sowery and Norris.

“I can’t complain with second or my weekend, as I’ve scored a good haul of points,” said runner-up Sowery.

“I was trying to attack Enaam but defend from Lando and that was really hard but it was good, competitive racing.”

Matheus Leist and Thomas Randle completed the closely covered top five, with Aleksanteri Huovinen and Sisa Ngebulana adrift in sixth and seventh respectively.

Ricky Collard fought his way from 19th on the grid to claim a distant eighth, with Thomas Maxwell and Ameya Vaidyanathan rounding out the top 10.

 

Leist wins delayed second British F3 race from 10th

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Double R Racing’s Matheus Leist stormed from 10th on the grid to win a delayed second race of the British Formula 3 season-opening weekend at Snetterton.

After a four-hour scheduling delay due to stormy weather in the morning, the second race of the weekend got underway in the late afternoon, with Enzo Bortoleto on reverse-grid pole.

Leist started down in 10th, but was up to fourth by the end of the opening lap and by the time the field crossed the start-finish line for a second time he was past a battling Enaam Ahmed and Bortoleto and into the lead.

But Leist’s chance to break away from the chasing pack was stymied by an early safety car, as Carlin’s Ricky Collard, Fortec racer Tarun Reddy and HHC’s Omar Ismail were all eliminated from the race.

The race restarted with five minutes left on the clock after a lengthy clean-up period and Leist controlled the pace to cruise home to win by 1.4s from Ahmed.

Lanan’s Toby Sowery completed the podium with a late pass on Bortoleto – scoring the fastest lap of the opening two races to secure pole for the third race of the weekend.

Aleksanteri Huovinen, who finished second in race one, passed Sisa Ngebulana on the final lap to snatch fourth, with race one winner Lando Norris in sixth.

Thomas Maxwell, fading poleman Bortoleto, Thomas Randle and Jan Jonck completed the top 10.

Norris kicks off British F3 season with dominant wet-weather win

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Carlin’s Lando Norris kicked off the 2016 British Formula 3 season with a dominant victory in a wet opening race at Snetterton on Saturday.

The 16-year-old MSA Formula champion got away cleanly from pole and romped into the distance, crossing the line 19.095s clear of closest rival Aleksanteri Huovinen in second.

“I managed to get a good start which was the main thing and then from there I controlled it pretty well,” said Norris.

“It was drying up towards the end so it wasn’t quite so slippery but overall it was a good race and a good result.”

Huovinen started strongly, jumping from sixth to fourth off the grid and quickly  dispatched Tarun Reddy and Toby Sowery to move into second on the road, but the Finn was unable to match the pace of Norris.

“It is always hard racing in the rain as you can’t see anything when you are trying to pass a car in front but I managed to get to second place quite early and manage my tyres until the end,” said the Double R racer.

“I knew it wasn’t a good idea to go trying to chase Lando so I kept calm and took the second place.”

Enad Ahmed lined up just eighth on the grid, but made steady progress through the field, sweeping past a fading Ricky Collard in the closing stages to take the final spot on the podium for Douglas Motorsport.

Collard had started alongside Carlin team-mate Norris on the front row, but after being swamped at the start and losing out to Ahmed, had to settle for fourth spot, ahead of Sowery.

However, a post-race three-second time penalty for an unfair on the Lannan racer reversed those positions.

Formula Jedi graduate Ben Hingeley charged from 14th on the grid to claim sixth, ahead of Jan Jonck, Enzo Bortoleto and Sisa Ngebulana.

Double R’s Matheus Leist competed the top 10.

Red Bull confirms GT Academy star Mardenborough for GP3 with Arden in 2014

Red Bull Racing has signed Nissan GT Academy graduate Jann Mardenborough in a deal which will see the 22-year-old race for Arden in GP3 this year. 

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Mardenborough, who won the 2011 Nissan GT Academy programme, which offers video gamers the opportunity to become professional racing drivers, split his time in 2013 between single-seaters and endurance racing, finishing sixth overall in British Formula 3, while taking a podium on his debut at Le Mans, with third for Greaves Motorsport in the LMP2 class.

Mardenborough will join Robert Visoiu and Patric Niederhauser at Arden this year, as the team looks to take a third straight title, having run Mitch Evans and Toro Rosso F1 graduate Daniil Kvyat to the titles in 2012 and 2013.

“I feel ready for GP3,” said Mardenborough. “I’ve prepared well and I have all the right people around me to help my development so I can fully focus on my racing.

“F3 has taught me so many things, both in the car and out of the car, both mentally and physically. It was a great stage in my development and I’m sure the skills I’ve learnt there will help me in GP3 and beyond.

‘I’m excited to work with Arden. My initial impressions of them are excellent; they have a lot of experience and great success over the years. I’m looking forward to working with my race engineer Sean [McGill].”

“I haven’t raced the GP3 car yet,” he added. “But going on initial testing, I prefer the GP3 car to an F3 car. The power is very addictive! This season is my opportunity to impress more people in the sport who make the decisions on who makes it into F1 and who doesn’t and I’m going to give it my best shot.”

Andy Damerun, Red Bull Racing’s driver development manager, who will oversee Mardenborough’s progress, believes that Nissan’s GT Academy could signal a shift in the current state of affairs in the way young hopefuls progress up the motorsport ladder.

“We’re delighted to welcome Jann onto our programme,” said Damerum. “We have been tracking Nissan’s innovative approach to motorsport and in particular GT Academy that challenges the status quo of motorsport. The traditional route to F1 of karting and single-seaters is a tried and tested success but Nissan and PlayStation have gone down a very different road and started to find some very talented drivers who have been doing all their practicing on a games console.

“I’m very interested to see how Jann fares on our programme and in GP3 this season and I look forward to taking him under the Infiniti Red Bull Racing wing to further progress his career.”

Johnny Herbert, who oversaw the finalists of the 2011 GT Academy, of which Mardenborough was the winner, has applauded the 22-year-olds recent progress, and asserts that his success will only lead to more hopefuls following this new route into motorsport.

“I have been mightily impressed with what Jann has achieved since winning GT Academy,” said Herbert. “For someone with Jann’s experience doing so well is very rare to see.

“Last year he raced in the European F3 series which is hell of a tough challenge during your first season; the fact that it was Jann’s first season in any kind of single-seaters is incredible.

“Whilst he has had a very successful first year in GT racing and he has now got an amazing result at Le Mans 24 Hours under his belt, he is competing against drivers that have grown up with seasons of karting and single-seater experience behind them.

“His talent has not only impressed me, but has now got experienced figureheads in motorsport talking about what Jann, Nissan and GT Academy is achieving.

“The world of motorsport is recognising that GT Academy is helping bring talented young blood into the sport,” he added. “The success of Jann and other GT Academy winners is also inspiring a new legion of gaming and motorsport fans by giving them a new route to becoming a professional racing driver. The only question that remains unanswered is ‘Can a gamer make it all the way to F1?’”