- Dan Mason
Douglas Motorsport Show Their Speed In GB3 Season Finale At Donington
Douglas Motorsport rounded out the 2021 GB3 Championship season with a fighting display in the final meeting of the year at Donington Park, battling among the front-runners in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
The GB3 squad headed to Leicester for a second visit of the season to Donington Park to round out their latest championship assault, bringing back Australian Tommy Smith to join regular driver Reema Juffali in a two-pronged effort.
Douglas also drafted in the young talent of another Australian in British F4 racer Marcos Flack during two days of testing across Thursday and Friday, and the team showed strong pace to sit within half a second of the fastest times ahead of the weekend.
Qualifying arrived on Saturday morning, and the pace of the Douglas duo on cold tyres was instantly impressive as both cars sat within the top 10, Juffali briefly topping the times in the early minutes as times dipped below the lap record. A late red flag stymied the chance for both to improve their times, with Smith finishing the best of the pair.
Race one took place later that afternoon, and a frenetic first lap initially played right into the hands of the Douglas duo. A multi-car scuffle at McLeans corner scattered the field, moving Smith and Juffali onto the fringes of the top 10 before both sadly fell victim to further skirmishes in the final sector.
The second race of the weekend was a much wetter affair, but certainly much more fruitful for the team as both drivers aimed to make up ground from the latter half of the field. Smith and Juffali made good starts to move inside the points paying positions, the former eventually finishing 16th and two spots ahead of Juffali after a spirited charge in the early laps.
The reverse grid gave both drivers a huge chance to end the season in style, with Douglas cars' starting second and third. A tense opening lap kept Juffali inside the top four, after which she settled into a good rhythm towards the sharp end of the field with experienced drivers in her wake.
Looking to add to a brilliant fourth place at Silverstone earlier in the season, Juffali held off the attentions of several drivers in the second half of the 12-lap contest, and grimly fought back at Old Hairpin when challenged by Tom Lebbon for fourth. The drying track meant she slid slightly wide, losing grip at the bottom of the hill and falling to eighth. Both drivers fought hard to the flag, Juffali the best of the pair on the road but hindered by a time penalty, while Smith claimed 17th on another learning outing for the youngster.
Wayne Douglas - Team Principal: “The season has been very much a learning season for our drivers, and Reema has shown glimpses of what she can really do with a fourth place this year and another fighting performance here at Donington. It has been a pleasure working with the drivers we have, and for Tommy it has been very much a big change for him to learn the UK circuits and these cars. We look forward to next season and what the future holds for us as a team."
Reema Juffali: “I felt so much happier in the dry on this track. The start was tricky on the hill and that resulted in wheelspin, but following that I had a good rhythm and some good wheel to wheel action. Everything I've learned this season has 100% made me a better driver; competitive racing, weather changes, and even the mishaps. These UK tracks push you hard, it’s been a great experience."
Tommy Smith: “It was a difficult day on Sunday as we struggled in the wet which meant we went backwards a bit. But it's my first time here and in the wet, so it was a learning experience. We used that well, and then in the last race it was a bit frustrating - if we had a clean couple of laps I'd have settled in. It was a pleasure racing for Douglas Motorsport this season as they're a great team and the opportunity is one I couldn't turn away from."
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.