Douglas Motorsport continued their run of good form in the 2022 GB3 Championship as Marcos Flack added the team’s fourth podium finish of the year at Snetterton 300 circuit last weekend (25/26 June).
Coming off the back of a winning weekend at Donington Park, Douglas Motorsport once again brought a trio of cars to the fourth meeting of the season at the 2.9-mile 300 circuit in Norfolk.
American Max Esterson had scored more points than any of his rivals over the past two meetings, alongside achieving the team’s first win of the season at Donington from pole position. Both he and Australian Flack spent time inside the top five during two days of testing, leading up to the weekend’s racing.
When the all-important 20-minute qualifying session arrived on Saturday morning, it proved to be incredibly tight across the field with the top 15 cars separated by just a second. Esterson was the lead Douglas car in 11th spot, with Smith and Flack out of luck in 17th and 19th but in a good position to capitalise on Sunday.
Esterson got his elbows out in the first of the weekend’s three races later that afternoon, battling his way up into the top 10. The American joined the fierce battle for fifth place, but overtaking proved difficult as he could not advance from 10th place in a close contest. Flack made progress during the race, climbing up into 15th by the chequered flag, while Smith would be one of the race’s unfortunate retirements.
The warm weather stuck around on Sunday, with Esterson starting highest of the Douglas trio in ninth on the grid. In another close race, overtaking was again not at a premium throughout the field, the team finishing inside the top 10 thanks to Esterson while Flack and Smith both gained places from difficult starting positions to finish 15th and 18th.
Former British F4 racer Flack headed the team’s chase of a podium in the third and final race, starting from fourth on the grid while fellow Australian Smith started two spots further back in sixth. It would be the perfect catalyst for both to shine, as the two blue machines gained a place each with rapid getaways from the line, Flack moving up into third.
That soon became second after a safety car restart when second-placed Zak Taylor ran wide, leaving Flack to chase after the race leader Mikkel Grundtvig for the remainder of the race. The youngster ramped up the pressure and looked to the outside at the hairpin in an attempt to grab his first win in GB3, finishing right on the tail of the winner as he took a breakthrough podium.
Smith was an equally impressive fourth on the road and less than a second from the race winner after a strong performance, Esterson recovering to seventh place as the trio all grabbed crucial points for the team.
A strong finish in Norfolk puts Douglas Motorsport fifth in the Teams’ Championship, while Esterson sits fourth in the Drivers’ Championship as the series heads to Belgium on 23/24 July for the next three races held at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
“We’ve finished strongly this weekend after a tricky qualifying session, which certainly felt a bit unrepresentative of our true pace. All three drivers were very close to the ultimate pace and this weekend in particular it has been extremely close throughout the whole field. Marcos took his chance in the final race and could well have won it with another lap or two, while Tommy’s pace almost gave us another podium finish. Max scored good points to keep us in the title fight; we’ve tested at Spa already, so we hope we’ll head there in good shape.”
“An up and down weekend for me personally. I thought I drove okay, while we did well as a team and race three was a good performance from us. We were untouchable at Donington and have some good circuits coming up, and we’re the only team that’s tested at Spa so we should go well there.”
“I was pretty happy with that for a way to finish the weekend. I thought race two even went well; I made a couple of spots up from the start but it’s hard to pass here when it’s this close. Race three showed our pace. It was so close where we were all just a few tenths apart, so it was close to being something a lot better for me, but now I’m looking forward to Spa.”
“I didn’t manage to get it right in qualifying, but then we definitely got it right by race three and managed to pull it back for a podium finish at the end. It was very close all the way through and particularly in the last few laps, with me trying to pressure the leader into a mistake. I’m looking forward to Spa now.”