Christian Mansell showcased his great racecraft as he moved forward in all three races to secure a hat-trick of top six finishes in the latest rounds of the BRDC British F3 Championship at Donington Park this past weekend (10/11 July).
Donington Park was the scene of Mansell’s UK racing debut in British F4 last season, however a key difference for BRDC British F3 is the use of the venue’s full 2.5 mile Grand Prix circuit. Therefore, two days of official testing in the lead up to the weekend gave him some crucial track time.
Making strong progress across the sessions, the Australian rising star made a further step forward in qualifying on Saturday morning to finish seventh fastest in his Carlin machine. With just two tenths of a second separating him from the front row, he was confident of making progress in the races.
Lining up sixth for the opener due to a penalty for another driver, the AJM Transport, Castrol, Vawdrey Trailers, VISA Global Logistics and Infinity Sports Management backed driver initially slipped a position on the opening lap, but immediately set about regaining it.
Race-long pressure on Tom Lebbon eventually paid off on the final lap, as a perfectly executed switchback manoeuvre into the hairpin secured him sixth position at the chequered flag. A post-race penalty for another driver though moved him up another spot to fifth in the final result.
The 16 year old from Newcastle in New South Wales once again made progress up the order in the second race on Sunday morning. Retaining his eighth place starting spot through a close fought opening lap, he got his head down and kept in touch with the pack ahead.
As the race developed, Mansell benefitted from an incident ahead to slot into seventh place. He held that place to the chequered flag, before there was again a change to the result afterwards as a disqualification for another driver meant he was classified sixth overall.
The final race of the weekend featured a full reverse grid, leaving Mansell lining up in 11th. Losing a couple of places during an action-packed opening lap, he quickly set about regaining the places and was back into 11th by the end of lap six.
Further progress across the second half of the race ensured Mansell crossed the finish line in ninth place, however that all changed post-race once again. This time, multiple penalties for other drivers elevated him to sixth position to cap off a positive weekend of racing.
Mansell, who races with support from Rush Performance, IOR Petroleum, Locker 27 and AMSL Diabetes Australia, is now the only driver on the grid to have finished every race so far this season, with that consistency moving him up to fourth in the championship standings.
Christian Mansell:“I’m pretty happy with the weekend overall. It’s my most consistent one of the season so far and after not quite qualifying as high as hoped, I’m pleased to have been able to move forward in every race for some solid results.
“All three races were very close fought and quite chaotic at points, so it’s good to pick up three finishes and a good haul of points. The Carlin car is quick, so I’m feeling confident heading into the next rounds that we can be up there battling at the sharp end.”
The next round of the 2021 BRDC British F3 Championship will see Mansell return to Spa-Francorchamps in two weeks’ time (24/25 July). He’ll be aiming to utilise the experience from a positive showing at the Belgian circuit in the Euroformula Open last month.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.