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F3 RACE 3: Grundtvig grabs maiden victory in Donington thriller

Sunday, July 11 2021

Fortec Motorsports' Mikkel Grundtvig claimed a maiden BRDC British F3 victory in a scintillating final race of the weekend at Donington.

The Dane started third on the grid, which was formed by the reverse of the qualifying order, but took the lead after a safety car period with a smart pass on Chris Dittmann Racing's Max Marzorati, who claimed second after fending off late attention from Hitech GP's Sebastian Alvarez. The Mexican was handed a five second penalty mid race though, handing third place to Elite Motorsport's Tom Lebbon, who was another maiden podium finisher from 10th on the grid.

Douglas Motorsport's Dexter Patterson was fourth having started eighth, with Carlin's Bryce Aron fifth and four tenths ahead of Arden's Roman Bilinski, who started 12th and concluded his debut weekend with sixth.

Marzorati made the best start of the front runners, going from second on the grid to the lead after passing polesitter Reema Juffali on the run down to Redgate. 

Grundtvig followed him through, but initially it seemed that Marzorati had the pace advantage as he extended a lead of over a second while the Danish driver backed up the pack.

But the real drama came on lap two as first Alex Connor hit the barriers and retired on the approach to McLeans, and seconds later, title contenders Zak O'Sullivan (Carlin) and Reece Ushijima (Hitech GP) collided exiting the Esses, with Ushijima going into the barriers and O'Sullivan parking up at the Melbourne Hairpin with broken suspension.

With both cars stranded at the side of the road, the safety car was deployed, wiping out Marzorati's lead.

It was a brief interruption though as the safety car pitted starting lap five. Marzorati made a good restart to rebuild his lead, while teammate Ayrton Simmons, who started fourth, applied big pressure to Grundtvig, and survived a major wobble through the Craners.

With the pressure relieved, Grundtvig began chasing Marzorati, and was just two tenths behind starting lap six. Grundtvig went up the inside of Marzorati at Redgate, and the pair went wheel to wheel through the Craners before the Danish driver completed the move at the Old Hairpin.

Simmons then fancied a run at second, but while attempting a move around the outside of his teammate at McLeans, was edged into the gravel and dropped down the order.

That battle allowed Grundtvig to pull out a reasonably comfortable lead of just over a second from Marzorati, which extended further to almost three seconds by the penultimate lap as Marzorati fended off Alvarez, who had climbed from seventh on the grid.

Grundtvig ultimately claimed his first British F3 win by just under two seconds from Marzorati while Lebbon's hard charge from 10th ended in a maiden podium after Alvarez's penalty was applied.

Outside the top-six, Christian Mansell was seventh for Carlin, two tenths clear of Hitech's Bart Horsten, who was eighth having started 17th and last after his race three penalty.

Simmons recovered to ninth, with Alvarez completing the top-10 despite his penalty.

BRDC British F3 Championship, Donington Park, race three provisional result:
1. Mikkel Grundtvig, Fortec Motorsports, 12 laps
2. Max Marzorati, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1.928s
3. Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport, +2.744s
4. Dexter Patterson, Douglas Motorsport, +4.009s
5. Bryce Aron, Carlin, +4.508s
6. Roman Bilinski, Arden Motorsport, +4.915s
7. Christian Mansell, Carlin, +5.746s
8. Bart Horsten, Hitech GP, +5.985s
9. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, +6.403s
10. Sebastian Alvarez, Hitech GP, +7.242s
11. Jose Garfias, Elite Motorsport, +8.634s
12. Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport, +9.342s
13. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports, +49.251s
DNF. Reema Juffali, Douglas Motorsport, 10 laps completed
DNF. Alex Connor, Arden Motorsport, 2 laps
DNF. Zak O'Sullivan, Carlin, 1 lap
DNF. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, 1 lap