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Tom Gamble wins opening BRDC British F3 race at Rockingham

Saturday, April 28 2018

Tom Gamble surged to his first single seater race win in a wet opening BRDC British F3 contest at Rockingham this afternoon, and claimed the lead in the championship standings. Starting from pole he made a great start and was never seriously challenged, despite an early safety car intervention after several cars went off on the first lap. Linus Lundqvist claimed second to bolster his championship challenge with Jordan Cane third.

Krish Mahadik was fourth for Double R Racing, ahead of Fortec's Manuel Maldonado, with Carlin's Sun Yue Yang completing the top six. Kush Maini climbed through the order after an early pit stop to claim seventh for Lanan Racing, with Hillspeed debutant Jusuf Owega taking a strong eighth on his race debut. Jamie Chadwick (Douglas) and Chia Wing Hoong (Chris Dittmann Racing) completed the top-10.

Championship front-runners Nicolai Kjaergaard and Clement Novalak were among the casualties on an eventful first lap, with Kjaergaard falling to third in the standings after his early retirement. 

Gamble's start laid the foundations for his race. The Brit made the best start and had pulled several car lengths clear of Lundqvist by the time the pack reached the tight Deene hairpin. With treacherous track conditions, there were numerous casualties as Chadwick, Arvin Esmaeili, Clement Novalak, Kjaergaard and Maini all found trouble. Kjaergaard, heading into the race as championship leader was out on the spot, as was Esmaeili, while Novalak pitted at the end of lap one with front and rear damage. Maini was also an early pitter while Chadwick resumed at the back.

Gamble held a 1.2 second advantage over Lundqvist at the end of the first lap, with Cane in third ahead of Mahadik, Maldonado and debutant Owega. With cars stranded, a safety car period was necessary, wiping out his lead. 

The race resumed at the start of lap five, and Gamble pulled out a lead once more of around a second over the first racing lap from Lundqvist. The early top-10 included debutant Josh Mason who was running ninth, and taking advantage of the first lap incidents to run high up the order.

Gamble's lead continued to increase steadily, at around half a second a lap. Starting the last lap he held a margin of almost three seconds, and claimed the flag 2.3 seconds ahead of Lundqvist, who was 6.6 seconds clear of Cane in third. 

With the drivers immediately behind the top three remaining static, with Mahadik and Maldonado holding fourth and fifth throughout, there was still time for late drama as Owega slipped from sixth to eighth on the last lap, benefiting Yang and Maini, but still claiming a very strong result on what has been an impressive weekend so far for the German driver, while Mason slipped out of the top-10 late on with an off at Tarzan which left him stranded in the gravel. 

There was better luck for Mason's Lanan team mate Maini though, with the Indian climbing through the order after his opening lap issues to take seventh, with several moves in the closing laps, while Chadwick's ninth was a decent recovery from her early troubles too.

Chia Wing Hoong's 10th place is his best F3 result for Chris Dittmann Racing, while Pavan Ravishankar and Ben Hurst kept their noses clean to score more good points, ahead of Sasakorn Chaimongkol. Billy Monger was running 10th after the first lap, having started at the back following an incident on the formation lap, but pitted at the safety car restart, putting him a lap down. He was due to start from pole position on the race two reverse grid, but because he did not start the race from his intended grid position, is ineligible for pole. This means that Sasakorn Chaimongkol will instead start from the front for tomorrow's second race of the weekend, which starts at 11.05. 

The top-three drivers were presented with their trophies on the podium by GT racer and BRDC member Ben Barnicoat.

BRDC British F3 Championship, Rockingham race one result:

1. Tom Gamble, Fortec Motorsports, 12 laps
2. Linus Lundqvist, Double R Racing, +2.318s
3. Jordan Cane, Douglas Motorsport, +8.929s
4. Krish Mahadik, Double R Racing, +15.442s
5. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +22.500s
6. Sun Yue Yang, Carlin, +23.810s
7. Kush Maini, Lanan Racing, +24.721s
8. Jusuf Owega, Hillspeed, +24.967s
9. Jamie Chadwick, Douglas Motorsport, +31.840s
10. Chia Wing Hoong, Chris Dittmann Racing, +32.975s
11. Pavan Ravishankar, Double R Racing, +48.421s
12. Ben Hurst, Hillspeed, +1m02.869s
13. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, +1m03.481s
14. Billy Monger, Carlin, +1 lap
DNF. Josh Mason, Lanan Racing, 10 laps
DNF. Clement Novalak, Carlin, 1 lap
DNF. Arvin Esmaeili, Douglas Motorsport, 0 laps
DNF. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Carlin, 0 laps
DNS. Tristan Charpentier, Fortec Motorsports