Sowery grabs BRDC Formula 3 points lead as three winners split the spoils
Toby Sowery took advantage of the absence of title chaser Lando Norris to snatch the BRDC F3 points lead at Brands Hatch, but a mechanical failure in the final race left him ruing a missed opportunity.
Norris vacated his Carlin car for this weekend to instead race in the clashing Formula Renault Eurocup fixture in Spain, leaving the way open for someone else to steal a march. Sowery did so better than others with a win and a podium, but none of the early favourites could leave Kent knowing they’d had a perfect weekend. Matheus Leist and Norris’s stand-in Colton Herta claimed the other wins, but couldn’t claim much consistency.
Leist stole the early momentum by winning the first race, but then had to endure two disappointing retirements from Sunday’s outings.
Leist grabbed pole with a great lap in clean air, and held on after rain caused a late scare. Sowery felt he lost his best qualifying laps to traffic and started in fourth, as Ricky Collard and Raoul Hyman started in second and third respectively.
Collard opted to fit two fresh tyres to the left-hand side of his car, hoping the extra grip would pay dividends later in the race. Leist led away and forged an early gap, until Collard’s tyres switched on and he could attack. Sadly the fight didn’t last as Collard ran too deep into Druids and fell back again.
Sowery kept a watching brief in third as the order stabilised, until the rain began to fall three laps from home. Hyman skated off the track from fourth and fell to seventh. The top three managed to hold it together and finish in order.
“The final few turns were crazy, it was so slippery and I was the first through so was just guessing,” said Leist.
Sadly things didn’t go to plan in the other races for the Brazilian. He started eighth on the reversed grid but was thumped at Druids by Herta, which put both cars into the pits with damage.
Enzo Bortoleto enjoyed a fine drive from 17th to eighth in race one to inherit pole, but Sowery made a strong start from row three and then pulled a great move to snatch the lead on the run into Sheene. From then on he was clear. Tarun Reddy also managed to slip past Bortoleto before the Brazilian stubbornly fended off Collard for third.
Sowery was confident of a strong run in the finale too, starting from the second row by dint of his third fastest lap in the previous race. But he lost his chance before the lights went out. “I pulled first gear and the clutch just gave up,” he said. “I managed to get it going on the starter motor and get to the pits.”
The Lanan team restored pressure and Sowery got out again, but was out of the running. A similar issue hit former points-leader Enaam Ahmed, who started second but also had to visit the pits in the red flag-afflicted race. An electrical issue for Leist put him out too, leaving poleman Herta relatively unchallenged to secure a debut win ahead of the consistent Collard and Thomas Randle.
Sowery snatched the F3 points lead
Leist won first F3 outing