Pace And Points The Reward For Douglas Motorsport On Silverstone GB3 Visit
Douglas Motorsport came oh so close to a brace of podium results from a promising second GB3 Championship meeting of the 2022 season at Silverstone, with rookie Max Esterson grabbing a pair of impressive fourth place finishes.
After a sensational maiden podium finish for Australian Tommy Smith provided the highlight for the team in the season opener at Oulton Park, it was the turn of GB3 rookie Esterson to take the spotlight as the blue Tatuus MSV-022 machines tackled three races at Silverstone.
At their home circuit, the Northamptonshire team had set record pace with a test driver on the Thursday in the run-up to the weekend of racing at the 3.66-mile Grand Prix circuit, with regular drivers Esterson and Smith also gaining vital data over both days of running ahead of Saturday’s all important qualifying session.
A tight session saw both drivers enjoying time within the top 10 before Esterson turned the screw by putting the Douglas car sixth on the grid for race one later that afternoon, his second fastest time enough to put him fourth for the second race on Sunday. Smith fought hard and was not far back on speed, taking 18th overall.
Esterson was on the offensive as soon as the lights went out to start the opening 10-lap race of the weekend. Making up two spots in a frenetic first lap, the Formula Ford graduate fended off initial attacks by James Hedley before pulling clear on his way to a strong fourth place finish. Smith would only be looking forward too, and he moved four spots higher to grab 14th place by the chequered flag.
Esterson and Smith started fourth and 16th on the grid respectively for race two and again Esterson chased hard for his maiden podium. He would come up just short, but in a comfortable fourth place once more, Smith remaining 16th.
Like at Oulton Park, Smith had a chance to grab another strong result for the Douglas team in the reverse grid contest which concluded the weekend. Smith started from third place on the grid, while Esterson had work to do to recover from 15th.
Running well in fourth early on and on the offensive, Smith unfortunately lost ground during a frenetic scrap in the middle of the race. He would be shuffled down the pack on the dirty side of track to an unrepresentative 13th by the chequered flag, two spots behind Esterson who made up ground.
Douglas Motorsport are next in action in three weeks' time as the GB3 Championship makes its first of two visits this year to Donington Park over the weekend of 28/29 May.
Wayne Douglas - Team Principal: "The team did a great job all weekend, and we would have deserved a podium finish from it. Max came very close to getting that but he impressed all weekend and got to show his pace after a tough start at Oulton Park. Tommy again ended the weekend with a good result and made progress in the races after qualifying, so we can leave here and head to Donington Park with our heads held high."
Max Esterson: "I think it all starts in qualifying in GB3. We could have had a bit more that would have put us in the top three, but it's good progress for sure with two fourth place finishes. Hopefully we can keep this up, and the car is clearly there for us. We can leave here happy as a team ahead of Donington Park."
Tommy Smith: "Race three was a manic one and proved a little bit tricky at the end. We started right up there and then I tried to make a pass early on to get myself into some clear air. We got shuffled off-line after I tried to take back third, but it all starts from qualifying which I really hope I can fix. I've done plenty of laps at Donington Park so I think we can really maximise the tyre there."
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.