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Power impresses as Varrone and Prior take Silverstone British F3 iRacing wins

Monday, June 01 2020

A pair of combative drives from Indy 500 winner Will Power were among the highlights of a thrilling evening of virtual racing at Silverstone, as the British F3 iRacing Championship kicked up a gear tonight (31 May) with Nico Varrone and Piers Prior claiming victories.

Chris Dittmann Racing's Varrone took pole position for race one, less than a tenth clear of Hillspeed's Oliver Clarke, with Douglas Motorsport's Ulysse De Pauw and guest driver Power completing the second row, the top-four covered by just a quarter of a second. Prior, who entered the event as championship leader, was seventh quickest.

Varrone led as the lights went out, but behind an incident between Power and former BRDC F4 contender Jake Dalton saw Power spin to the tail of the field.

Varrone led by around a second at the end of the first lap, while accidents further back allowed Fortec pair Johnathan Hoggard and Tom Gamble to move well into the top 10. Power took advantage of other drama around him to recover to the fringes of the top 10. Varrone continued to edge out a small lead over De Pauw, and Clarke, but behind there was plenty of drama. 

Lap four saw a melee between Gamble, Prior and Carlin's Nicolai Kjaergaard at the Vale, denting the Lanan driver's championship aspirations, but allowing Power to move into seventh place, and the Aussie IndyCar ace then moved into sixth on lap seven with a move on Lanan's Bart Horsten at Brooklands. He then set his attentions on Double R's Louis Foster, trying to make a move at Brooklands again, with Foster able to fend him off, but only until Copse, with Power moving into fifth momentarily. Foster fought back through Maggots and Becketts, and completed a move to regain fifth at the Vale.

At the front, Argentine Varrone had built a strong lead, and was able to take his second win of the championship, over three seconds clear of De Pauw, with Hoggard recovering from a poor qualifying to take a podium place with third.

Hillspeed's Clarke claimed fourth, while Foster took fifth after last corner drama which saw Power spin down to eighth, behind Horsten and Fortec's Ben Hingeley.

The complete reverse grid for race two saw Gamble start on pole after his race one mishap, with Lanan's Josh Mason and Hillspeed's Vladimiros Tziortzis third.

But from sixth it was Prior who shot into the lead ahead of teammate Mason, while plenty of incidents allowed Power to surge to eighth from towards the back of the grid, while race one winner Varrone moved up to 15th from 24th.

Power gained two more places on lap two to move into sixth, while at the front Prior had built a lead of three seconds after Mason fell down to fourth, with Douglas Motorsport's Harrison Scott - racing with a broken wrist - and Carlin's Enaam Ahmed moving into the podium places.

Drama on lap four moved Varrone into the top 10, after De Pauw and Clarke collided at Brooklands, while further ahead guest driver Power was engaged in battle with Kjaergaard.  Power gave Kjaergaard the lightest of taps at Village on lap five, allowing the Australian to move into fifth at the Dane's expense.

Varrone gained two more places on lap six as Kjaergaard and Hingeley collided at The Loop, while Power dispatched Mason for fourth on lap seven, with Mason colliding with Hoggard moments later.

But the gap to the drivers ahead was too much for Power despite a late charge, with Prior claiming victory by three seconds from Scott, who broke his wrist in a training accident yesterday. Ahmed held off Power, with Horsten and Varrone completing the top six, the Chris Dittmann Racing driver gaining 19 places across the race.

British F3 iRacing Championship, Race 1, Round 3 

  1. Nico Varrone Chris Dittman Racing  12 LAPS
  2. Ulysse de Pauw Douglas Motorsport  +3.400
  3. Johnathan Hoggard Fortec Motorsports  +4.102
  4. Oliver Clarke Hillspeed  +6.919
  5. Louis Foster Double R Racing  +18.189
  6. Bart Horsten Lanan Racing  +21.431

British F3 iRacing Championship, Race 2, Round 3 

  1. Piers Prior Lanan Racing  12 LAPS
  2. Harrison Scott Douglas Motorsport  +3.282
  3. Enaam Ahmed Carlin  +4.488
  4. Will Power Independent  +5.426
  5. Bart Horsten Lanan Racing  +7.222
  6. Nico Varrone Chris Dittmann Racing  +10.999

The British F3 iRacing Championship continues next Sunday evening with the penultimate round of the championship on the Brands Hatch GP circuit.  Catch all the action live from 6pm on the British F3 Facebook page and YouTube channel. Live timing can be found here.