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Norris snatches British F3 race one victory at Rockingham

Saturday, April 30 2016

Lando Norris took a brilliant victory in race one of the weekend at Rockingham after pulling off a daring race-winning move on his Carlin team-mate Ricky Collard on the penultimate lap. Double R Racing's Matheus Leist claimed third with Thomas Randle and Aleksanteri Huovinen rounding out the top-five.

After dominating qualifying, Norris lined up with Collard for company on the front-row as the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship partnered with Duo grid formed for the first Rockingham race. With overcast skies overhead, the lights went out to get the 14-lap contest underway and it was Collard who made the better getaway, with Norris struggling to find traction. Collard pulled alongside his fellow Carlin car heading into turn one and passed Norris as they funnelled through the first corner and down to the Deene hairpin.

Norris attempted to fight back but Collard covered him off and began to open up a small lead on the opening lap. Further back, championship leader Toby Sowery, who had qualified 13th, dropped down the order and ended the first tour in 19th but soon began mounting a fight back. Enaam Ahmed moved up to sixth, overtaking Ameya Vaidyanathan, as Krishnaraaj Mahadik was a spinner in his Chris Dittmann Racing machine and he dropped to the back of the field.

In the opening stages, Collard eked out his lead, at its maximum reaching just over eight-tenths of a second, with Norris not allowing him to drive away into the distance. Matheus Leist was watchful in third but couldn't close on to the back of Norris in second.

At the halfway stage, Collard led by 0.613s from Norris, with Leist trailing in third but ahead of Douglas Motorsport's Thomas Randle and Finnish racer Aleksanteri Huovinen. Norris then set about gradually closing on his Carlin stable-mate and as the race headed into its closing stages he was right on the gearbox of his rival.

After bubbling nicely for the majority of the contest, the race soon burst into life as, with two laps left, Norris slipstreamed Collard into the Deene hairpin and went to the outside in a bid to take the lead. Collard covered him off but Norris nearly cut back into Yentwood and then Chapman Curve, but had to back out of the move to avoid contact. On the very next corner Pif-Paf however, Norris was able to take a wider line then cut back on the exit to dive down the inside of Collard and taking the lead as a puff of dust appeared where Norris had used all of the track.

Collard couldn't fight back and the final lap was seen out by Norris, with the 16-year-old eventually seeing the chequered flag 1.633s ahead of his rival. Leist, Randle, Huovinen completed the top-five with Ahmed sixth, Vaidyanathan seventh and Tarun Reddy eighth, thus securing pole position for tomorrow's reverse grid race two. Thomas Maxwell for Sean Walkinshaw Racing and Chris Dittmann Racing's Quinlan Lall completed the top-10. Toby Sowery battled hard to fight back to 14th but the championship is now led by Collard, with three points separating the pair. 

BRDC British F3 - Rockingham - Race One

1. Lando Norris, Carlin, 14 Laps
2. Ricky Collard, Carlin, +1.633s
3.Matheus Leist, Double R Racing, +2.772s
4. Thomas Randle, Douglas Motorsport, +4.621s
5. Aleksanteri Huovinen, Double R Racing, +8.404s
6. Enaam Ahmed, Douglas Motorsport, +11.550s
7. Ameya Vaidyanathan, Carlin, +12.677s
8. Tarun Reddy, Fortec Motorsports, +13.942s
9. Thomas Maxwell, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +21.417s
10. Quinlan Lall, Chris Dittmann Racing, +22.138s
11. Ben Hingeley, HHC Motorsport, +24.627s
12. Enzo Bortoleto, Double R Racing, +24.866s
13. Jan Jonck, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +25.200s
14. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, +25.707s
15. Al Faisal Al Zubair, Fortec Motorsports, +26.440s
16. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, +30.161s
17. Eugene Denyssen, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +30.707s
18. Jeremy Wahome, Chris Dittmann Racing, +32.153s
19. Akhil Rabindra, Lanan Racing, +34.353s
20. Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1 Lap