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Simmons storms to double Brands Hatch British F3 pole

Saturday, May 22 2021

Chris Dittmann Racing's Ayrton Simmons stormed to a double BRDC British F3 pole position in qualifying on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, setting a new lap record in the process.

Simmons' best lap of 1m20.298s was just over a tenth of a second quicker than the previous record and was set with a couple of minutes remaining. He was 0.273s quicker in the session than Fortec's Ollie Bearman, with Carlin's Zak O'Sullivan completing the qualifying top-three.

British driver Simmons, who also secured a double pole at Brands Hatch last year, claimed pole position for race two thanks to his second quickest time which was 0.155s faster than O'Sullivan.

Qualifying was held in much more favourable conditions compared to this morning's practice session, with times tumbling throughout the 20 minutes. Simmons held the top spot early on before he was usurped by Hitech GP's Bart Horsten, with O'Sullivan also joining the party and the first driver to break into the 1m20s bracket. 

Reece Ushijima then sliced three tenths off the best time to go top, before O'Sullivan reclaimed top spot moments before the red flags came out after Javier Sagrera went off the road in his Elite Motorsport car. A quick recovery allowed the Spaniard to return to the pits, and the session resumed with seven minutes remaining. 

With a few lap time improvements but nothing extraordinary, it seemed as if O'Sullivan was destined for a debut pole, but Simmons pulled an effort out of the bag to claim pole and shatter the existing qualifying lap record, held by 2016 champion Matheus Leist. 

Bearman was another late improver to book a front row start for his first race, just 0.006s ahead of O'Sullivan, with Bearman's teammate Roberto Faria fourth and just three hundredths further back. 

Horsten wound up fifth and headed up Hitech teammate Reece Ushijima, with the pair within four tenths of the pace. 

Newcomers Arden were seventh and eighth quickest courtesy of Frederick Lubin and Alex Connor, with fellow newcomers Elite Motorsport inside the top-10 thanks to Ginetta Junior champion Tom Lebbon, who was ninth.

Hitech's Sebastian Alvarez completed the top-10, and just over a second away from Simmons' pole time. 

Simmons will start ahead of O'Sullivan on the race two grid, with Horsten and Bearman next up ahead of Lubin and Ushijima. 

Lebbon climbs to seventh on the race two grid, Connor stays eighth, while Faria drops to ninth ahead of Alvarez.

With the qualifying order reversed for the race three grid, Douglas Motorsport's Reema Juffali will provisionally start from the front of the grid for the final event of the weekend.

BRDC British F3 Championship, Brands Hatch GP, provisional Qualifying result:

1. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, 1m20.298s
2. Oliver Bearman, Fortec Motorsports, +0.273s
3. Zak O'Sullivan, Carlin, +0.279s
4. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports, +0.318s
5. Bart Horsten, Hitech GP, +0.382s
6. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, +0.397s
7. Frederick Lubin, Arden Motorsport, +0.664s
8. Alex Connor, Arden Motorsport, +0.695s
9. Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport, +0.830s
10. Sebastian Alvarez, Hitech GP, +1.095s
11. Alex Fores, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1.239s
12. Bryce Aron, Carlin, +1.281s
13. Christian Mansell, Carlin, +1.292s
14. Dexter Patterson, Douglas Motorsport, +1.419s
15. Jose Garfias, Elite Motorsport, +1.595s
16. Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport, +1.699s
17. Mikkel Grundtvig, Fortec Motorsports, +2.074s
18. Max Marzorati, Chris Dittmann Racing, +2.124s
19. Reema Juffali, Douglas Motorsport, +2.302s

BRDC British F3 Championship, Brands Hatch GP, qualifying second fastest times (race two grid):

1. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, 1m20.499s
2. Zak O'Sullivan, Carlin, +0.155s
3. Bart Horsten, Hitech GP, +0.200s
4. Oliver Bearman, Fortec Motorsports, +0.570s
5. Frederick Lubin, Arden Motorsport, +0.619s
6. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, +0.629s
7. Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport, +0.651s
8. Alex Connor, Arden Motorsport, +0.745s
9. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports, +0.796s
10. Sebastian Alvarez, Hitech GP, +1.030s
11. Alex Fores, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1.121s
12. Bryce Aron, Carlin, +1.124s
13. Christian Mansell, Carlin, +1.132s
14. Dexter Patterson, Douglas Motorsport, +1.283s
15. Jose Garfias, Elite Motorsport, +1.421s
16. Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport, +1.735s
17. Reema Juffali, Douglas Motorsport, +2.240s
18. Max Marzorati, Chris Dittmann Racing, +2.253s
19. Mikkel Grundtvig, Fortec Motorsports, +2.351s