Douglas Motorsport battled to a top-six finish thanks to a season-best performance by rookie Shawn Rashid in the latest GB3 Championship event at Zandvoort last weekend (14/15 October).
The multiple GB3 race-winning squad partook in their second away trip of the season with drivers Rashid and Tymek Kucharczyk behind the wheel for the penultimate event at Zandvoort in Holland, the former bagging his best result in sodden conditions on Sunday.
With just six races remaining on the calendar, the Northern Irish squad again showed strong pace throughout free practice around the Formula One circuit, famed for its banked and undulating corners.
Polish driver Kucharczyk showed the team’s potential in the early running and headed into Qualifying on Saturday looking to put the blue machines towards the sharp end of the grid for the day’s two races. A competitive 25-minute session was intensely close, Kucharczyk ending ninth in the times. American Rashid showed his rapidly-improving speed also, but an off in the session left him playing catch up.
Kucharczyk gave the Douglas Motorsport team cause for excitement when the lights went out to start the first race of the weekend as he powered alongside several rivals on the run to the Tarzan hairpin. Unfortunately, a swerving Matthew Rees sent James Hedley veering into the side of the Douglas driver which delayed him significantly, taking the finish in 12th place.
On the fourth row for the second race, this time Kucharczyk was squeezed on the inside at the first corner, enduring a quiet race chasing the lead pack where he finished 10th. Rashid showed his learning process was gaining momentum with a fine performance from the rear of the field, keeping his nose clean and making moves on track to climb to 20th.
The American had his chance to shine the following day, starting on the third row of the grid for the final race of the weekend in the Netherlands. Kucharczyk meanwhile had a fight ahead of him with a starting position of 17th on the grid for the last outing. A huge downpour prior to the start of the race meant it would be a messy contest, with very little in the way of green flag running after a brace of accidents breaking out at the banked second hairpin – requiring lengthy safety car interruptions.
As a result, Rashid was not given the time he would have wanted to make progress, but a feisty start from the American put him in the fight for the podium early on. Battling with championship leader Callum Voisin, a best result of the year came his way with sixth place, while Kucharczyk was sadly out of fortune as a pincer movement at the start relieved him of his front wing. After a trip to the pits for a rapid nose change by the team, the Polish youngster showed his pace by setting the fastest lap of the race en-route to an unrepresentative 18th.
“It was a weekend where we were a bit unlucky with how things played out on track unfortunately, but the improvements we have seen from Shawn in particular has been very encouraging and it’s vital that he could get a good result at the end there to show for it. Tymek was twice very unlucky to be collected at the start of races, otherwise we had speed to play with which I’m sure we’ll get to showcase next week at Donington.”
Douglas Motorsport will immediately be back in action for one final chance to flourish in 2023, travelling back to the UK for the remaining three GB3 Championship races at Donington Park this coming weekend (21/22 October).
Images from Jakob Ebrey Photography.