Home Formula 3BRDC British F3 Nico Varrone wins first British F3 Esports race at Oulton Park

Nico Varrone wins first British F3 Esports race at Oulton Park

by Elliot Wood

Photo: Jakob Ebery Photography

Chris Dittmann Racing’s Nico Varrone leads the BRDC British Formula 3 Esports standings after the first ever round at Oulton Park.

The Argentinian was comfortably fastest in qualifying, over a quarter of a second faster than Douglas Motorsport’s Harrison Scott, Lanan Racing’s Bart Horsten and Fortec Motorsports’ Johnathan Hoggard.

Hoggard passed Horsten off the line, despite the latter jumping the start and earning himself a drive-through penalty, and moved into second place on lap two. Varrone had already escaped into the distance, and it was only when the leader faced lapped traffic late in the race was Hoggard able to close the gap.

After 14 laps they finished 1.232s apart, with Varrone’s team-mate Kieran Vernon shaking off a qualifying crash and avoiding opening lap chaos to complete the podium from eighth on the grid.

Piers Prior finished close behind for Lanan, while Will Palmer completed the top five. For much of the race, Palmer was defending against Jake Dalton and Hillspeed’s Oliver Clarke, until a spin by Dalton with two laps to go.

Clarke was able to get by undamaged but lost a lot of time, while Douglas’s Ulysse De Pauw wasn’t and hit Dalton twice. The first was unavoidable, while the second was venting his frustrations at the clash.

Chris Mealin and Horsten finished seventh and eighth, while former Formula Renault Eurocup racer Vladimiros Tziortzis came from 26th on the grid to beat Hillspeed team-mate Chris Middlehurst to ninth.

The results were fully reversed to set the race two grid, and Double R Racing’s Louis Foster ended up taking a lights-to-flag win. A huge crash at the end of the second lap, as drivers avoided the slow-moving spinner Jamie Caroline, wiped out much of the midfield and brought Hoggard and Varrone right up the order.

JHR Developments made its delayed British F3 debut with Carter Williams, and the American came close to passing Foster after the leader span. He ended up losing second to Carlin’s Enaam Ahmed, who had cannily passed Varrone while the Argentinian was held up by lapped Formula Ford 1600 frontrunner Middlehurst.

FIA F3 racer Ahmed found the race particularly difficult due to Ramadan, as he was fasting all day prior to getting in his simulator.

Once Varrone escaped his traffic problem he hunted down Williams again, but missed the podium by 0.093s and was unhappy with backmarker behaviour. Just as frustrated was Hoggard, who pitted to repair damage he gained from avoiding Caroline’s slow car and ended up seventh.

Caroline meanwhile had reason to smile after finishing fifth for Carlin, a few seconds ahead of Prior.

Al Al Khalifa was one of many who span at Lodge Corner, but ended his British F3 return at Hillspeed with eighth place. CDR’s Josh Skelton and Lanan’s Josh Mason were the last two on the lead lap and completed the top 10.