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  • Dan Mason

John Bennett Bags More GB3 Points In Snetterton Battles

Single-seater racing talent John Bennett picked up more crucial points on a topsy-turvy weekend in the 2023 GB3 Championship’s latest visit at Snetterton last weekend (17/18 June).

The 19-year-old from Salisbury returned to Blighty having last battled with his competitors abroad in Belgium when the championship visited Spa-Francorchamps, with Bennett well within the top 10 in the Drivers’ standings heading to Norfolk.

The J5C Management Limited, StreetSharp Ltd, The Accounting Centre Ltd and Khan Thornton Ltd-backed driver hoped to return to the form that took him to the podium at Silverstone in May, setting about two days of testing in preparation for the weekend’s latest trio of races - the fourth meeting of the season.

While testing times were extremely tight, it therefore made the weekend’s pecking order a perennial lottery with nobody able to predict what would follow on Saturday. Qualifying arrived in the morning under scorching summer skies with Bennett intent on grabbing a strong position on the grid for the first and second races at Snetterton.

As the green flag waved to signal the start of the 20-minute timed session, Bennett again found himself embroiled in a tight qualifying contest. He broke into the top 10, but as a flurry of times were pumped in late on the former Ginetta GT5 Challenge race winner took the chequered flag with the 14th best time of the 25-strong field - only a mere eight tenths of a second away from the pole position marker.

That cushion emphasised how narrow the margins were down the order, leaving Bennett to fight forward in the opening 12-lap race of the weekend later that afternoon. What followed was a strong performance from the youngster, who charged forward on a breathtaking opening lap as cars around him jostled for position into Riches and the Wilson hairpin for the first time.

The Motorsport UK Academy star eased forward three places in the early running, and soon broke into the top 10. Shortly afterwards, a spinning driver ahead of him at Riches handed Bennett another place to climb up into ninth place on the road, although he would lose one spot on his way to a strong top-10 finish to add more points to his consistent tally.

Starting from 14th once again in the second race of the day, based on second-fastest qualifying times, Bennett would again have his eyes set on advancing through the field. Rain threatened but didn’t arrive for race two, in which Bennett - backed also by Lonetree Limited, Lewco Holdings Limited and Project Divebomb - stayed out of trouble to climb three spots to 11th.

One final contest remained for Bennett and it would be the reverse grid race, for which the Rodin Carlin man lined up 11th with targets ahead to attempt to pick off in dry conditions. A great start looked set to give him the opportunity he needed, passing two cars even before the Wilson hairpin, however his race would be destroyed by front wing damage as he was pinched to the inside kerb attempting to make up a third spot.

John Bennett:“We didn’t qualify where we wanted to really and that put us into the midfield battles where it’s hard to overtake. It was close all the way through the field so that was just where we ended up. In the first two races it was a bit of a case of survival, but we still made up ground in both races and got more good points while others around us were falling off or getting penalised.

“In the last race it was one I was really looking forward to, and I got a great start nearly making up three places even before I got to the hairpin. I got contact and lost my front wing though, which ended the race for us really although our pace was really good in clear air once again.

“I'm looking forward to going back to Silverstone again where I felt we were really quick earlier in the year. We got a double pole position which showed what we are capable of, so hopefully that can be a strong weekend for us.”

Bennett will return to a familiar hunting ground for his next trio of GB3 Championships races as the series heads back to Silverstone GP circuit for Rounds 13, 14 and 15 over the weekend of 29/30 July.

Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.


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