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  • Dan Mason

Strong Qualifying And Tough Races For Battling Christian Mansell At Silverstone

Australian rookie Christian Mansell remains in a strong seventh place in the 2021 BRDC British F3 Championship standings following a fighting weekend in the second meeting of the season at Silverstone GP circuit last weekend (26/27 June).

Chasing car balance for much of the weekend, the 16-year-old Carlin driver - who impressed on his Euroformula Open debut at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium a week prior - overcame the issues to salvage a pair of top-10 results including a solid seventh place.

The 2020 British F4 rookie champion - supported by AJM Transport, Castrol, Vawdrey Trailers and VISA Global Logistics - took part in six test sessions in varying conditions at the 5.81km grand prix circuit in the run-up to the weekend, but saved his best until Saturday morning when qualifying kicked off.

The 20-minute session was a free-for-all between the 17 drivers out on circuit, with Carlin's Mansell topping the times in the early going as he got to grips with the improving conditions following a small shower in the morning build-up.

A late surge bumped him to sixth on the grid for the opening race of the weekend later that Saturday afternoon and his second-best lap time was also enough to move up to a fifth place start for the second contest the following day.

As the lights went out to start the first race of the weekend, Mansell's initial good jump from sixth was halted somewhat by the bottleneck ahead as several cars jostled for third place through the fast opening sequence of corners, leaving Mansell in ninth place after lap one.

Starting his recovery charge, the Aussie rookie from Newcastle, New South Wales, rounded one rival and soon made a decisive move on Frederick Lubin at Club corner. The battle lines were then drawn with Lubin's team-mate Alex Connor, Mansell taking the flag in ninth place.

Ready for more the following day, the Rush Performance, Infinity Sports Management, Locker 27, IOR Petroleum and AMSL Diabetes-backed star began a place higher in fifth for the second race of the weekend, and briefly improved to fourth at the start.

A brave defensive effort around the outside at the high speed Maggots corner kept him there initially ahead of Lubin, who used all of the road on the outside of Copse to get ahead. A superb rear-guard action from Mansell kept him in the fight, though a squeeze at Village dropped him to seventh place.

Having starred in the reverse grid race at Brands Hatch, the youngster set his sights on improving from 12th on the grid late in the afternoon. Unfortunately, a spinning car at Becketts left him taking avoiding action, dropping him to the rear of the field after which he recovered to 11th place in a fierce battle.

Christian Mansell:"It's been a harder weekend for us all I think. We've gone from being fairly quick, to then being a bit low here initially and then fighting back on a few occasions.

"There's been a fair few moments of carnage unfolding around us and especially right at the end of the weekend where we had to avoid a few spinners ahead of us, but you can't do much in that situation - it's racing isn't it?

"Qualifying went really well for us I feel, and that put us right in the mix. We've come away seventh in the championship and others haven't scored well ahead of us, so it's still important to finish where we did.

"I think Donington could be a bit scrappy, but she'll be right. I think we'll have chances through the weekend, and it'll be harder to pass there but we'll push on and keeping fighting."

The next opportunity for Mansell will come in two weeks' time, as the BRDC British F3 Championship heads to Donington Park's GP circuit on 10/11 July.

Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.


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