Douglas Motorsport have picked up a brilliant hat-trick of podium finishes in the most recent trio of BRDC British F3 Championship races at Donington Park (19/20 September).
The Corby-based team moved their podium tally up to eight for the season, thanks to a brace of second place finishes for Ulysse De Pauw and a maiden visit to the rostrum for Manaf Hijjawi.
Buoyed on by his maiden BRDC British F3 victory last month at the same Donington Park circuit, De Pauw headed the Douglas Motorsport charge in both testing and qualifying. The Belgian placed his car second in the times in practice and then again in qualifying with a fine lap that was just two tenths of a second from pole position.
After having his best time removed for track limits, Kiern Jewiss recovered well to 10th place on the grid for the opening race. Hijjawi’s additional experience showed as he took 13th, just 0.6s from the front row in a tightly-bunched field.
De Pauw held onto his starting position when the lights went out later that afternoon for the first of the weekend’s three 12-lap races, chasing the race leader Kaylen Frederick all the way to the flag to seal a sixth podium finish of 2020 for the team and his fifth.
Hijjawi gained a place with a fighting drive to 12th, while Jewiss’ attempts to gain ground were unfortunately halted by suspension damage suffered in contact at Coppice on the opening lap of the race. The Douglas mechanics worked hard and amazingly repaired the damage in a matter of minutes, but Jewiss narrowly missed the 80% race distance required to be a finisher in a valiant attempt by all to grab a place towards the front on the reverse grid for race two.
That second race the following day would be one for Hijjawi to shine in, as he made a great start from fifth to leap into the top four, soon moving up into third place after dispatching front row men Alex Fores and Roberto Faria. The Jordanian hung on to seal a superb maiden podium finish in his rookie F3 season, and finished just under two seconds behind the winner.
De Pauw meanwhile shone brightly also with a charging drive through the pack from 15th on the grid into the top 10, easing his way by title rival Kush Maini along the way to finish ninth by the flag. Jewiss started and finished 17th, but would start the final race from a better grid slot with the chance to recover.
In the third race of the weekend, De Pauw took advantage of a mistake for Frederick early on to jump from third on the grid to second heading into the Melbourne hairpin, a position he held superbly to the flag to make it two podiums from three races and climb to fourth in the championship. Jewiss made a blistering start to climb from ninth to sixth, losing out in the final two laps at McLeans to finish eighth while Hijjawi unfortunately did not finish.
Four more BRDC British F3 races await at the next round at Snetterton 300 circuit, which takes place in two weeks time across the weekend of 3/4 October.
“We’re delighted to have come away with three podiums this weekend, and show how quick we can be as a team regularly over the two days.
“I’m overjoyed for Manaf to have got that first podium. We knew it was in him, and he’ll take confidence from it into the rest of the season.
“Ulysse has kicked on and has now shown he’s one of the fastest out there on the grid with three mega drives and two podiums. Kiern was unlucky in qualifying and race one, but it gave us the chance for our mechanics to show an amazing effort to get him back into the battles.
“We’ll look forward to Snetterton and we’re on a good run, so let’s keep that momentum going.”
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.