ARA F3 VRS Super Series | Interlagos Report
A thrilling Apex Racing Academy F3 VRS Super Series, came to a dramatic conclusion on Saturday. No stranger to a nail-biting season finale, Interlagos provided the perfect arena to crown the PRO and AM class champions.
In the pro class, Hugh Barter and Greg Seitz headed to Interlagos tied for the lead. After eight races, across three continents, the pair couldn’t be separated. American, David Holland, lurked close behind in third. For the AM class protagonists, Isaac Snider was the target. Brett Punkari and Aaron Smith forming a two-pronged attack to challenge for the AM title.
Typically, turn one at Interlagos mimics a mosh pit at a heavy metal concert. Particularly, with fragile open wheel machines. Therefore, qualifying near the front would be vital to minimise the risk of a turn one tangle. With just ten minutes to set a time, drivers had no time to settle in. In the most frantic qualifying session of the season, drivers constantly eclipsed the pole position benchmark. Eventually, it was joint championship leader, Greg Seitz, who rose to the occasion. A time of 1 minute 28.263 seconds put the Rust Racing star ahead of Sam Kuitert, by only seventy-three thousandths of a second. David Holland and Hugh Barter lingered behind on the second row. Game on for the PRO class crown. Fiercely Forward Racing’s Taylor Lane, edged out Aaron Smith for the AM class pole. Lane would start ninth overall. Smith joined his fellow Briton on the fifth row.
Unflustered by the pressure, Seitz launched his Rust Racing Dallara flawlessly off the line. Critically, getting through turn one, unaffected. Refusing to let Seitz escape, Holland made his move past Kuitert and took second position. Behind, the inevitable Interlagos turn one carnage ensued. Most dramatically when Fiercely Forward driver, Taylor Lane, landed upside down, behind the pit wall.
A frustrated Hugh Barter remained mired in fourth, behind David Holland. For the young Aussie, impatience began to creep in. Several huge moments showed just how hard Barter was pushing. Barter eventually managed to overcome Holland but his American rival snapped straight back. As a result of the bickering between Barter and Holland, Greg Seitz escaped at the front. Seitz wouldn’t be challenged and cruised to a vital opening victory. A costly mistake from Barter allowed Holland leeway to pinch the last spot on the podium. Barter had to accept fourth. AM class honours went to Aaron Smith, in sixth overall. A highly commendable effort. Smith’s rivals, Punkari and Snider, finished in ninth and twelfth, respectively. Snider’s lead eroded to just twelve points.
For the final feature race of the series, Mark Macdonald and Brett Punkari occupied the front row of the grid. A prime opportunity for Punkari to get ahead of his AM class rivals. PRO championship leader, Greg Seitz, started tenth. Barter and Holland began just ahead, in seventh and eighth.
Isaac Snider made a disastrous start. Snagging in the turn one pile up, the driver of the #33 Dallara faced a charge through the field to secure the AM class title. Hugh Barter fared little better. A jump start left the youngster with a stop and go penalty. Advantage Greg Seitz.
David Holland’s title campaign was foiled by a battle with Mark Macdonald. Unable to break away in the lead, Macdonald repeatedly lunged past and slowed the pace. Thus, allowing Greg Seitz to join the leading party. Dave Macdonald also muscled his way in. Creating a four-car scrap for the win. Mark Macdonald was first to falter. Running straight on at turn one and off track. Then, there were three.
Eventually, Dave Macdonald faded. Unable to match Seitz and Holland’s pace. For Seitz, holding second position would be enough to claim the championship. However, a gift from the back-marker gods landed in Seitz’s lap. On the brakes into turn one, Holland nearly tagged a lapped car and ran off track. Seitz cruised by, inheriting the lead.
As Seitz approached the line to take the chequered flag, Holland followed immediately behind. With points to spare, Seitz displayed a wonderful act of integrity and sportsmanship, allowing Holland to take the chequered flag in the lead. A classy gesture from a deserving champion.
In the AM class, Derrick Holland took the win. Immediately behind was Apex Racing TV’s very own Austin Knight.
Immediately after the race, PRO and AM class champions, Greg Seitz and Isaac Snider, gave their thoughts to the Apex Racing TV broadcast crew:
Greg Seitz: “It feels great! My pace all season was decent, but I think the consistency got me there in the end” exclaimed the inaugural Apex Racing Academy F3 VRS Super Series champion.
Isaac Snider explained his relief to claim the title after an eventful day at Interlagos: “It feels nice to be champion, but I wish I’d done a little bit better this weekend. In both races, I had someone get into me on the first corner of the race.”
For more Apex Racing Academy competition, check out the Apex Racing Academy VRS GT4 Super Series. With an identical race format to the F3 series, action is equally frenetic. Tune in to Apex Racing TV on Tuesdays at 7.10pm GMT to catch all the live action.