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Ahmed wins chaotic wet BRDC British F3 opener at Brands

Saturday, August 05 2017

Enaam Ahmed held off his hard-charging Carlin team-mate James Pull to take his ninth win of the 2017 BRDC British F3 season, as a mid-race downpour caused chaos throughout the field at Brands Hatch. Lanan Racing's Toby Sowery completed the podium in third but there was no shortage of action as heavy rain made the full Grand Prix circuit treacherous for the slick-shod Tatuus-Cosworth single-seaters, with a number of drivers coming to grief before the encounter was red flagged to end the race prematurely.

Ahmed led the field away having secured his fifth pole position of the season and as the lights went out to start the opening race of the weekend on the majestic Grand Prix circuit he led comfortably into Paddock Hill. His fellow front-row starter Pull was slower away though which allowed third placed man, Fortec Motorsports' Ben Hingeley, to vault him into the first corner.

The rest of the field filtered through the first few corners without incident whilst Pull was busy harrying Hingeley in an attempt to regain his second place. That let championship leader Ahmed open up a lead of 1.458s after the opening lap, an advantage that would prove crucial later in the race.

On lap two, Pull took his opportunity as he got a brilliant run on his rival Hingeley down Hawthorn Hill and hung his Tatuus-Cosworth machine around the outside of the Fortec man through Hawthorns. He then edged ahead and completed the stunning move to retake the position through the right-hander Westfield. Further back, Douglas Motorsport's Callan O'Keeffe dropped two positions to sixth as Toby Sowery and Nicolai Kjaergaard moved up to fourth and fifth respectively. That released Sowery who was soon onto the back of Hingeley and through to third as he made a clean move into Paddock Hill.

The order began to settle down and as the race approached its halfway point it looked like Ahmed would cruise to a comfortable ninth win of the season. Approaching rain clouds looked menacing though and spits and spots of water soon morphed into heavy rain, making conditions treacherous.

The Fortec Motorsports' duo of Hingeley and Kjaergaard misjudged the grip levels into Paddock Hill and both skated off into the gravel, with barrier contact leading to Hingeley's retirement as Kjaergaard was fortunate to escape. The next car through was Cameron Das and he also skated straight on and into the barrier, ending his race on the spot.

Race leader Ahmed was cautious as he continued around the lap and that enabled Pull to close right up on the back of his team-mate as the pair exited Clark Curve. Owing to the cars off at Paddock Hill though the Safety Car was deployed, neutralising the field with Ahmed holding on to the lead. As the rain began to fall even harder, the only decision available was to red flag the race and declare the result after 8 laps.

That ensured that Ahmed extended his championship advantage to 93 points over Toby Sowery with his ninth win of the year, as Pull claimed his 10th podium finish of the year in second. Sowery took third with O'Keeffe fourth and Douglas Motorsport's Jordan Cane keeping his nose clean to finish fifth.

Sixth went to Chris Dittmann Racing's Jeremy Wahome whilst the front-row for the partially-reversed grid race two will be made up of seventh and eight-placed finishers Nicolai Kjaergaard and Krishnaraaj Mahadik.

Race two gets underway at 10:55am tomorrow morning and you can follow all the action through live timing and updates on the official BRDC British F3 website.

BRDC British F3 - Brands Hatch GP - Race One 

1. Enaam Ahmed, Carlin, 8 Laps
2. James Pull, Carlin, +0.747s
3. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, +2.716s
4. Callan O'Keeffe, Douglas Motorsport. +4.689s
5. Jordan Cane, Douglas Motorsport, +9.729s
6. Jeremy Wahome, Chris Dittmann Racing, +12.234s
7. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Fortec Motorsports, +12.696s
8. Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Double R Racing, +13.692s
9. Chase Owen, Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing, +14.921s
10. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +17.744s
11. Jamie Chadwick, Double R Racing, +23.544s
12. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, +24.192s
13. Nick Worm, Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing, +39.714s
DNF. Ben Hingeley, Fortec Motorsports, 7 laps
DNF. Cameron Das, Carlin, 7 laps
DNF. Guilherme Samaia, Double R Racing, 2 laps