13 Sep Strong Series Finale for Fortec Motorsports BRDC British F3 team at Donington Park
18-year-old Tarun Reddy concluded his first BRDC British Formula 3 season with Fortec Motorsport in style by clinching sixth in the overall Drivers’ Championship standings and taking home the Sonoco ‘Driver of the Weekend’ accolade from Donington Park.
Grey and overcast skies greeted the BRDC British F3 field at the Donington Park Circuit in Leicestershire ahead of what was set to be a thrilling Championship title decider weekend of action to close the season. #TeamFortec #14 driver Tarun Reddy showed consistent pace throughout the Thursday practice sessions, setting the ninth and seventh fastest lap times. Team mate Al Faisal Al Zubair in the sister #7 Fortec Motorsports Tatuus-Cosworth made another solid start to the weekend before a day of rest on Friday and a turn in the weather conditions.
Early morning rain left the Donington Park track sodden as the 20-minute qualifying session got underway on Saturday morning. There was a queue to leave the pit lane as the green light signalled the beginning of the action with all 18 drivers keen to get out on circuit and get a feel for the conditions. The difficulty of the conditions became clear almost immediately as Al Zubair spun at Goddards, but fortunately for the Omani he was able to keep his engine running and get back pointing in the right direction. An S.W. Racing car succumbed to the tricky conditions, this time leading to an outing for the red flag whilst the vehicle was rescued from the gravel. That left a 15-minute shootout and a rush of cars re-joining the track when the session got back underway. Al Zubair concluded the session in P17, with his Indian team mate, who had been getting quicker when the red flag was deployed, having to settle for fourteenth at the chequered flag.
A dry track greeted the field for the scheduled 14-lap contest in the afternoon and the Fortec Motorsports team took full advantage of the more favourable conditions. Reddy and Al Zubair kept their noses clean during the incident filled Round 22, taking the chequered flag in P12 and P13 respectively.
The penultimate race on Sunday morning saw the Fortec pair line up in the sunshine on the sixth and seventh rows of the grid ahead of the 13-lap battle. From lights out, Reddy made his move and was soon a willing participant in a fantastic mid-field challenge with the Championship title contenders. The young Indian driver showed his ever improving race craft as he held his own and mustered all the pace he could out of his Fortec car. He had made up an impressive five positions when he crossed the finish line in P7, with Al Zubair maintaining position in thirteenth.
The final race of the British F3 weekend brought another strong performance from the Daventry based squad. The mixed starting grid, with title contenders once again scattered throughout the mid-field, ensured a sensational season finale. Reddy and Al Zubair started from P11 and P13, however there was drama before the race could even begin as Ben Hingeley (HHC Motorsport) stalled waiting for the lights and was pushed off track and into retirement. A second formation lap shortened the race to 13 laps, heightening the tension of the ‘Donington Decider’ as the lights went out. Once again, Reddy carved his way through the mid field, keeping his driving clean and sure, to take the chequered flag in P7 once again, earning himself the Sonoco ‘driver of the Weekend’ trophy as a result.
Tarun Reddy, #14 Fortec Motorsports:
“I didn’t have the best qualifying on Saturday, so we were on the back foot from the start, but I made up a couple of positions in the first race and today I was also on a bit of a mission. From twelfth to seventh and then eleven to seventh and to get Sonoco “Driver of the Weekend” as consolation trophy to take home from the weekend isn’t so bad!
“I think sixth place in the Championship is not a bad place to be in either. Obviously, at the start of the season I had high expectations as we were very fast in the test, but I had a bit of bad luck and an up and down season. However, to have four podiums and finish constantly up at the front has been positive and it was good to finish the way the season the way we did. I am looking forward to carrying this momentum on to whatever I do next year.”
Russell Dixon, team manager, Fortec Motorsports British F3 Team:
“It was a good, but tough season for Tarun and Faisal as the learning curve was steep at the beginning of 2016. They have both coped admirably and worked extremely hard, so we have to thank them for that. The team of guys working in our British F3 team have been a credit to Fortec again this season also – now we are looking forward to testing and 2017.”