11 Apr Positive start to the BRDC British F3 season for Fortec Motorsport.
The 2018 campaign got off to an encouraging start for Fortec Motorsport during the first round at a rain soaked Oulton Park.
After a flying start, Manuel Maldonado went on to take his maiden BRDC British F3 win in race 2 on Monday, with Tristan Charpentier joining him on the second step of the podium. Tom Gamble finished the weekend off with a strong second place in very tricky conditions in race 3 on his debut weekend in British F3.
In his first race in British F3, 2017 Ginetta Junior Champion Tom Gamble came home in a very respectable 4th place after starting P6 on the grid, with Maldonado finishing in P11 and Charpentier slipping to the back of the pack after a mechanical issue.
Race 2 saw the introduction of the new reverse style grid format for the very first time, with Tristan Charpentier starting from Pole Position. After two green flag laps due to the changeable weather conditions, it was Manuel Maldonado who made a lightening start off the line and was leading the race within the first few corners from starting P6, followed closely by team-mate Charpentier. Pavan Ravishankar brought out the first of two safety car periods of the race with a trip into the gravel. Maldonado stayed firm at the front, fending off a constant challenge from Charpentier to take his first win of the season, and the first of his single seater racing career as the race was red flagged while under the second safety car of the race. Gamble was able to take advantage of the situation that was ensuing around him, making up an impressive 7 places from P13 on the grid to finish P6.
Speaking about his remarkable start, Maldonado said “I’m very pleased, that’s what really won me the race, it’s hard to overtake on this track so you need to make sure you’re right at the front at the start.”. Talking about the conditions, the 17-year old confessed “It was really tricky, every lap I was having a few moments and just surviving really.”
Commenting on his second place, Charpentier felt his start could have been better, “I made a really bad start which put me into second, Manuel had a fantastic start.”
The rain started to come down again just as the cars made their way to the grid for the 3rd and final race, making for very difficult track conditions. As the green flag lap got underway, Maldonado came into the pits with a suspected electrical issue, and therefore had to start from the end of pit lane. Gamble made a great start off the line from the second row of the grid in P3 to overtake Lundqvist on the first lap and claim P2. Gamble kept Kjaergaard honest with a race long challenge for P1 and finished only 0.814s behind the winner. Charpentier drove a clean race to come home in P7, and after starting at from pit-lane, Maldonado fought his way back up the field to round out the top-10.
Reflecting on the weekend as a whole, Charpentier said “It wasn’t the weekend we expected but we managed to get a podium during the weekend and a quite good race 3.”
Gambles’ views on the weekend were quite positive despite the weather, “Not great conditions all weekend, and then to round it out with a podium was really good.” On the rest of the season, Gamble commented: “Looking forward to the rest of the championship and try to get a win at some point.”
The next round of the BRDC British F3 will take place at Rockingham on the 28-29 April.