- Dan Mason
Christian Mansell Scores Sensational Win On BRDC British F3 Debut
Christian Mansell kicked off his maiden BRDC British F3 Championship campaign with a stunning victory in the season opener at Brands Hatch this past weekend (22/23 May) to underline his early potential for the 2021 season.
The 16-year-old from Newcastle, New South Wales, showed a mix of overtaking prowess and strong pace on his maiden British F3 foray with last year's champions, Carlin, before a spectacular race three start catapulted him to victory as the final act.
2020 British F4 rookie champion Mansell - supported by AJM Transport, Castrol, Vawdrey Trailers and VISA Global Logistics - started by showcasing his wet weather abilities with front-running speed throughout the heavily rain-affected Friday testing outings; topping one of the day's four sessions and proceeding to take that form into Saturday by heading the times again in free practice.
The weather took a different turn later in the morning and by qualifying it was a dry circuit greeting the drivers for the 20-minute session. Mansell was unfortunately hindered by traffic twice in his runs, limiting him to 13th place on the grid for the opening contest.
Under sunny skies, the opening race was one highlighted by a recovery drive by the Australian, who charged up the order with a number of bold overtaking moves.
The Rush Performance, Infinity Sports Management, Locker 27, IOR Petroleum and AMSL Diabetes-backed rookie dispatched five cars on his path towards the top ten, diving inside three of his rivals decisively under braking for the tight Graham Hill Bend left-hander to emerge from a stream of cars as the biggest gainer in the race in eighth.
Starting 12th in the second race the following morning, Mansell could only gain two spots in a race that proved quiet for overtaking across the grid, but his reversed grid position of seventh gave him a new opportunity in race three.
A sensational launch when the lights went out allowed him to sweep to the outside into Paddock Hill Bend, entering the corner third before out-pacing the lead duo to grab the lead as they headed towards Druids.
Two safety car interruptions made it a longer wait, but the Carlin driver controlled the pace and brought it home to grab a fine victory in only his third BRDC British F3 race - coincidentally at the same circuit on which he scored a breakthrough overall win in his fifth British F4 race last year.
Christian Mansell:"It's just a surreal experience to be winning races already and I couldn't be any happier really. I'm already really happy with the team, and I'm still buzzing!
"It does give you a bit of a confidence boost but with the rain or dry - it doesn't really matter for me. I'm just happy to be showing promising pace, and being a race winner always helps you mentally.
"In race three I thought 'oh my God - I've got to keep my foot in here!' and it paid off, because after the GT race there was a lot of marbles. The most Australian thing went into my head; 'ah, she'll be right'. I was buzzing after that, and the safety car helped us out.
"I had to do some overtaking early in the weekend too and the first race was a great battle with a lot of people. After qualifying I really wanted to make it up to the boys, and we're looking forward to Silverstone now."
Mansell next heads to the home of British Motorsport, Silverstone, next month (26/27 June) hoping to continue his great start.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.