- Dan Mason
Douglas Motorsport Close On British F3 Points Lead With Brands Hatch Podiums
Douglas Motorsport grabbed a brace of podium finishes and a strong points haul across the latest four BRDC British F3 Championship races at Brands Hatch last weekend (29/30 August) to close in on the series lead. The Corby-based team entered the latest four races of the season off the back of a second win in as many meetings most recently at Donington Park, and took to the Kent circuit hoping to add further silverware to the collection. Kiern Jewiss showed his local knowledge with strong testing pace, as did Donington Park winner Ulysse De Pauw who headed the times before a dramatic Friday downpour. Qualifying the following morning was held in wet, but drying conditions, during which all three Douglas Motorsport cars battled for the top spot. A late flurry of laps bumped De Pauw up the order to third place for the day’s opening race later that Saturday afternoon, with Jordanian Manaf Hijjawi pumping in an excellent lap to start fourth ahead of Jewiss, who had chopped and changed the top spot for much of the session. When the lights went out for race one, De Pauw maintained his third place before the safety car made an appearance, while Jewiss moved ahead of Hijjawi who ran wide at Druids in the shuffle for places on the first lap. De Pauw gave chase to the leaders on the restart on his way to a third podium finish of the season. Jewiss came home a solid fifth to close on the championship lead on a poor meeting for former leader Kaylen Frederick. Hijjawi finished 12th after his opening lap troubles, but that gave him a chance to shine in the second race of the day as the reverse grid moved him up to a starting position of third. A light shower mid-race made it difficult for the whole field, but it did not stop the Douglas cars from charging through the field as both Jewiss and De Pauw picked off their rivals in the first half of the race. Jewiss collected more crucial points by moving up from 10th to fifth place, while De Pauw carved his way through from 12th to seventh with a similarly inspired show of overtaking, also setting the fastest lap of the race at the final time of asking. Running as high as fourth early on, Hijjawi finished 16th after losing ground in the battle raging behind. Jewiss continued to rack up points with another top-five finish in the third race the following day, briefly moving into third place in the restarted race with a brave lunge around the outside of two cars at Paddock Hill Bend, only to be squeezed back down to fifth at Druids where he would finish. De Pauw and Hijjawi did not finish, the latter cruelly eliminated by a collision occurring behind him. De Pauw saved his best performance until last meanwhile as he picked up the team's best result of the weekend in the fourth and final race from third on the grid. The Belgian youngster jumped up to second spot at the start and remained there until the flag for a second podium of the weekend, Jewiss moving up two places to fourth while Hijjawi failed to finish. The weekend in Kent moves Jewiss up to second in the BRDC British F3 Championship standings as the series next heads back to Donington Park for three races around the Grand Prix circuit (19/20 September). Team Principal Wayne Douglas: "This may prove to be a very important weekend for us in terms of our push for the the BRDC British F3 title. With some of those ahead of us having a bit of an 'off' weekend, we kept racking up the points and looked consistently fast throughout testing, qualifying and the races. "All three drivers showed their pace in tricky conditions in qualifying to be in the top five, and Ulysse looks very confident after his Donington Park win as shown by another two podium finishes here. "Both he and Kiern were the stars on Saturday when they made up ground in the reverse grid race very cleverly, and it now means we're right in the title hunt as we hoped we would be. Manaf enjoyed his best qualifying and was in contention for pole position which was important for him as he's getting to grips with the car, and he was very unlucky on Sunday. "We've done plenty of testing at Donington Park and all three have experience under their belts, so I'm confident we can go there fighting for wins again."
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.