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Norris dominates wet opening race of 2016 BRDC British F3

Sunday, March 27 2016

Lando Norris mastered the difficult wet conditions in the first race of the 2016 BRDC British Formula 3 season, leading from start to finish at Snetterton to take the win. Having made a strong getaway, the 16-year-old had the pace to disappear into the distance and he claimed the win by 19.095s as the chequered flag greeted him after 12 laps. Finnish driver Aleksanteri Huovinen drove a superb race to rise from sixth on the grid to claim second, with Douglas Motorsport's Enaam Ahmed third.

As afternoon rain had soaked the 300 circuit in Norfolk, the race was official declared wet meaning all 21 cars switched on to their Pirelli P-Zero wet tyres. After two warm up laps, the grid formed ahead of the opening encounter of the 2016 season, with Lando Norris and Ricky Collard providing a Carlin front-row lock out.

As the lights went out to start the race, 2015 MSA Formula runner-up Collard struggled to find traction off the line and was swamped by the second row, with Toby Sowery and Tarun Reddy moving up into second and third, and Huovinen jumping from sixth to fourth. Norris however made a clean getaway and he led into turn one, eventually opening up a monumental first lap lead of 4.309s. Other fast starters included Sean Walkinshaw Racing's Thomas Maxwell who vaulted from 12th on the grid to seventh and HHC Motorsport's Ben Hingeley, who appeared just behind Maxwell in eighth having qualified 14th.

Flying Finn Huovinen continued his good opening laps as he moved into third as Reddy dropped down the order, and then took second by passing Lanan Racing's Sowery. Despite his good early progress, Norris had already disappeared down the road and held a lead of 6.493s at the end of the second lap.

McLaren Autosport BRDC Award nominee Sowery dropped down to fifth as Ricky Collard took third and Ahmed moved into fourth. After the race, Collard was handed a three second penalty for gaining an unfair advantage when passing Sowery. Ahmed's team-mate Thomas Randle was forced to pit for a nosecone change which put him at the back of the field, as Ben Hingeley continued his charge to move into sixth. At the halfway stage, the gap at the front began to stabilise at just over seven seconds but Norris was soon pushing again to open his lead, posting a number of fastest laps in the process.

Further back, the battle raged with Thomas Maxwell losing out to Double R Racing's Enzo Bortoleto for eighth, with the Brazilian securing the race two reverse grid pole for Monday's first encounter. Up front, Enaam Ahmed, having started eighth himself, overtook Ricky Collard for the final podium place on track and he opened up a comfortable gap on the 19-year-old.

Norris continued to dominate and headed on to the final lap with a lead of 14.549s, eventually adding another five seconds on to his lead as he took the chequered flag to open his BRDC British Formula 3 win account. Finn Huovinen secured second with Ahmed rounding out the podium in third.

Collard took fourth on track with Sowery fifth, but those results were reversed when Collard was awarded his time penalty. Ben Hingeley took sixth and Dane Jan Jonck enjoyed a strong first race in British F3 to finish seventh. After Bortoleto in eighth came HHC Motorsport's Sisa Ngebulana with Double R's Matheus Leist completing the top-10.

Race two of the weekend takes place tomorrow (Monday) with lights out scheduled for 11:20.

BRDC British Formula 3 Championship - Snetterton - Provisional Race One Results

1. Lando Norris, Carlin, 12 Laps
2. Aleksanteri Huovinen, Double R Racing, +19.095s
3. Enaam Ahmed, Douglas Motorsport, +28.308s
4. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, +33.447s
5. Ricky Collard, Carlin, +34.595s
6. Ben Hingeley, HHC Motorsport, +36.388s
7. Jan Jonck, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +41.945s
8. Enzo Bortoleto, Double R Racing, +45.215s
9. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, +47.895s
10. Matheus Leist, Double R Racing, +50.672s
11. Thomas Maxwell, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +52.672s
12. Omar Ismail, HHC Motorsport, +56.945s
13. Al Faisal Al Zubair, Fortec Motorsports, +58.405s
14. Eugene Denyssen, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +1m05.124s
15. Ameya Vaidyanathan, Carlin, +1m16.051s
16. Tarun Reddy, Fortec Motorsports, +1m28.645s
17. Jeremy Wahome, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1m29.513s
18. Quinlan Lall, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1m29.802s
19. Akhil Rabindra, Lanan Racing, +1m49.953s
20. Thomas Randle, Douglas Motorsport, +1 Lap
DNF. Paul Sieljes, Chris Dittmann Racing, 0 Laps