Astonishing Alcaraz is King of Brands!
Boasting an exciting new format, the Apex Racing Academy F3 VRS Super Series (ARA F3) burst into life at Road America. Round two sees the championship head to a familiar circuit for fans of single seater heat racing, Brands Hatch.
Based south-east of London, Brands Hatch has an enviable heritage. In 1928, the first race at Brands Hatch was held. Albeit not with the motor car. A contest between cyclists and cross-country runners is certainly a bizarre inception for a circuit which eventually hosted Formula One in 1964. By the way, the runners won! F3 cars have always been a staple offering at Brands Hatch and in 1950 the circuit was paved to accommodate F3 cars, which were growing in popularity at the time.
Raoul Hyman emerged victorious from the round one rollick at Road America. However, Brands Hatch presents a fresh challenge. Who would triumph around the swoops and curves of this Kentish gem?
In qualifying, Hyman marched on with a blistering run to pole position for the opening heat. Second fastest was David Holland, who enjoyed pole position for the second heat. Sammy Venables set the AM class pace, in twelfth overall.
No one could lay a glove on Raoul Hyman in the opening fifteen-minute heat. A flawless drive in the RHR Dallara produced a dominant victory and the feature race pole position. Greek star, Stratos Kyrlagkitsis, continued his impressive start to the ARA F3 season and finished second. Albeit, six seconds behind Hyman. Chasing Kyrlagkitsis to the line was the Belgian bullet, Christophe Herbigneaux.
Fuga Simsport’s John Gordon fended off Kees Drost for AM class honours. Gordon’s fellow AM class contenders – Drost, Punkari and Iyengar – also progressed to the feature.
Aleix Alcaraz joined David Holland on the front row for heat two. As Holland floundered off the start, Alcaraz catapulted his Dallara into the lead at Paddock Hill bend. Alcaraz’s slick getaway proved vital and the Spaniard strolled to a wonderfully calm heat race win. David Holland matched the pace of his Spanish rival throughout the fifteen-minute encounter, but the damage was done at the start. In a highly commendable fifth overall, Luis Correa sealed the AM class win.
Toby Ward started on pole position for the dreaded consolation race. From this last chance saloon, only six drivers would progress to the feature race. Furthermore, a shortened ten-minute format, intensified the pressure.
Pro class protagonist, Stephen Varady, took only a lap to pass Toby Ward for the lead. Varady wouldn’t flinch and resisted a charging Jordan Kelly, who punched in the fastest time of the race on the final lap.
With two minutes remaining of the consolation race, Marcel Tumbas looked comfortable in sixth place. Therefore, clutching the final invite to the feature race. However, a spin at Sheene curve sent Tumbas spearing across the track and down the order. Immediately behind, Hans Verheij barged Kevin Shine onto the grass and mugged the Irishman of the final spot in the feature race.
Championship contenders, Raoul Hyman and Aleix Alcaraz, enjoyed a blissfully uninterrupted view to turn one for the feature race. However, Stratos Kyrlagkitsis and David Holland poised ominously behind on the second row.
Once again, Alcaraz aced his getaway, zipping past Hyman into the lead. Christophe Herbigneaux immediately engaged Hyman in a duel for second place. A slight touch at Hawthorn’s momentarily unsettled the rear of Hyman’s Dallara, however the Road America winner reacted instantly.
However, after the short shoot down the Derek Minter straight, Hyman made a critical error on the entry to Westfield and spun. Any chance of a second victory of the season, was gone.
Hyman’s demise proved crucial for Alcaraz, who made his escape early. Despite the best efforts of the Belgian bullet, Christophe Herbigneaux, Alcaraz couldn’t be bettered. Proving their front running credentials, Alcaraz and Herbigneaux finished thirteen seconds ahead of Georgie Zouein in third.
John Gordon completed a dream day in his Fuga Simsport Dallara. The Welshman finished seventh overall and seven places ahead of his nearest AM class rival, Kees Drost.
With the dust still settling on another frenetic meeting in the ARA F3 championship, Toby Ward joined the Apex Racing TV commentary team to share his thoughts on the action:
“It was pretty tough today! In the first heat race, it was difficult not to feel like I got robbed. Most of the time, I’m just targeting getting into the feature race and I’m glad I did that with third place in the consolation.”
On the twenty-first of November, the ARA F3 paddock reconvenes at Interlagos for round three. Tune in to Apex Racing TV at 8pm GMT to catch all the live action.