Ricky Col­lard does the dou­ble to stretch his Bri­tish F3 points ad­van­tage

Motor Sport News - - British Gt Report - Tom Er­ring­ton

Car­lin’s Ricky Col­lard strength­ened his hold at the top of the BRDC Bri­tish F3 Cham­pi­onship, tak­ing two wins, two poles and two fastest laps in a dom­i­nant show­ing.

Col­lard was con­sis­tently the quick­est driver through­out the week­end, with his most im­pres­sive dis­play com­ing in the fi­nale.

Bal­anc­ing a clutch prob­lem, Col­lard was able to make a rea­son­able start go­ing into Old Hall cor­ner and made him­self wide enough to hold off the fastap­proach­ing Thomas Ran­dle.

Once through the open­ing cor­ners, the Car­lin driver eased his way into a com­mand­ing lead and took vic­tory.

“I knew I had to make it through the first few cor­ners,” he said. “The clutch made for a dif­fi­cult start.”

His abil­ity to over­come is­sues was also shown in his other vic­tory, the open­ing sprint on Satur­day.

With con­di­tions con­stantly fluc­tu­at­ing on the first day of the event, Col­lard’s tyres weren’t at the op­ti­mum pres­sures.

“We were caught out by the weather for sure,” he said. “I think the tyre pres­sure was too low and it showed as it took five laps for the tyres to come in to be able to push.”

Those five laps would prove to be the ma­jor­ity of the open­ing race. Col­lard re­tained his lead, again de­fend­ing from Ran­dle early on.

Just one lap later, the race was aban­doned af­ter a size­able crash be­tween Sisa Nge­bu­lana and Ameya Vaidyanathan. The two came to­gether on the ap­proach to Cas­cades, launch­ing the lat­ter into a som­er­sault and de­stroy­ing the car.

Vaidyanathan was un­harmed and, with no time to ac­com­mo­date a restart later in the day, Col­lard was de­clared the win­ner.

The only race Col­lard didn’t win was the sec­ond re­versed-grid race. He lined up eighth on the grid and, with Oul­ton Park a dif­fi­cult track to over­take on, the pri­or­ity be­came set­ting a time for pole.

There was to be lit­tle move­ment through­out the field, with all aim­ing for lap times.

A back-and-forth bat­tle over the top time be­tween Car­lin men Col­lard and Colton Herta dom­i­nated the end of the race, with Col­lard com­ing out on top.

The early part of the sec­ond sprint pro­vided a good bat­tle be­tween Toby Sow­ery and Enaam Ahmed.

Ahmed led through the open­ing laps, but Sow­ery had the bet­ter run into Lake­side on the sec­ond lap. Ahmed at­tempted to de­fend his po­si­tion and the pair made con­tact, dam­ag­ing Sow­ery’s brakes.

With his brak­ing ref­er­ence points gone, the Lanan Rac­ing man was un­able to dis­place Ahmed. Post-race, Ahmed was handed a six-sec­ond penalty that de­moted him to sec­ond be­hind Sow­ery.

“I think the de­ci­sion was jus­ti­fied,” said Sow­ery. “I think we would have got the place if there wasn’t con­tact and they just re­versed the po­si­tions so I think it is right.

“I am not over the moon but it is more points in the bag.”

Ahmed added: “The race went pretty well for me but I made a mis­take de­fend­ing my po­si­tion which led to the penalty.”

While Sow­ery took his first win since round two at Brands Hatch, the week­end was Col­lard’s. He was only eighth in the sec­ond race, but it would se­cure the pole po­si­tion that be­came the bedrock of his win in the fi­nale.

“It’s been ab­so­lutely sur­real,” said Col­lard. “The F3 dream is be­com­ing a re­al­ity more and more by the sec­ond. I’m con­fi­dent and re­laxed and I’m in a great po­si­tion in the cham­pi­onship.”

Clutch is­sues couldn’t stop Col­lard’s streak

John­ston/adam couldn’t break records with three con­sec­u­tive wins, but do lead the Bri­tish GT3 points

Col­lard net­ted two wins

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