Chris Dittmann Racing enjoyed another strong trio of GB3 Championship races at Oulton Park last weekend, with another podium for Ayrton Simmons being the highlight.
Simmons was second, fourth and seventh in the three races as he climbed to second place in the championship standings, and was the highest scoring driver for the second successive event.
Branden Oxley meanwhile had another strong weekend as he continues his adaptation to the series. The youngster was eighth, 12th and 12th again in the three contests at one of the most challenging circuits in Europe.
Simmons’ qualifying was affected by a wiring loom issue that restricted his running, but he still secured third and seventh on the grid for the first two races.
He finished second in the first race of the weekend after challenging Luke Browning for the position throughout the race. Simmons was tucked under Browning’s rear wing for the duration, but his opponent was disqualified from the event afterwards due to a technical infringement, promoting the CDR driver to second behind championship leader Zak O’Sullivan.
For a brief moment, Simmons had another podium in Sunday’s race two, after initially being classified third in a crazy contest that saw several drivers crash out. Simmons showed his experience and race craft to stand on the podium after a red flag stopped the race early. But a timekeeping problem meant the result was incorrectly declared, and the re-issued result meant he was classified fourth.
Then in an extremely wet final race of the weekend, the British driver climbed from 14th on the grid to finish seventh, and in doing so climbed into second in the championship standings heading to the final rounds at Donington in October.
Oxley was just over a second away from the outright pace in qualifying, an impressive feat on a circuit that’s vastly different to those he’s used to competing on in Europe.
He converted 12th on the grid into yet another top-10 finish in race one, gaining four places throughout the contest to claim eighth.
Starting 13th for race two he climbed to 12th and was part of the train of cars stuck behind Reema Juffali. The Anglo-Thai driver finished just half a second behind Fortec driver Grundtvig, and less than a second away from Juffali and a top-10 finish.
With little experience of racing in the rain, race three was understandably challenging for the 17-year-old. Starting fifth he ran as high as third early on before a quick spin on lap four, but kept his cool to claim 12th and claim more decent points in just his ninth GB3 race.
Team Principal Chris Dittmann said: “That was another really strong performance from us at Oulton Park, and it could have been even better were it not for Ayrton’s qualifying issue.
“He lost out on a couple of laps, so to take third and seventh on the grid for the first two races was excellent. As ever, he converted those into a set of really strong results, and the momentum is with him now as we aim to finish as high up in the championship as possible. We’ve top-scored in the last two events, if we do that again he will wrap up P2 in the standings.
“We all continue to be massively impressed by Branden’s performances. He’s used to racing on long, wide F1 venues, and Oulton Park is a very different prospect. To be in and around the top-10 and so close to the pace there is fantastic, and if he keeps this sort of progress up, I have no doubt he’ll be a serious challenger very soon.”
Ayrton Simmons said: “I’m very happy with the weekend, and we were a bit unlucky at times as well, especially in qualifying as we missed a large chunk of the session. We recovered very well to scavenge whatever we could with P3 and a P7 on the grid, and from there it was all about scoring as many points as possible.
“Obviously ending up P2 in race one was very good, and then in race two we finished P3 on the road but that turned out to be P4 from P7, but again that was great with a load of points. Then in the last one I went from from P14 to P7 and again scored lots of points, not just race points but also overtaking points for that one, so overall it’s been great.
“After qualifying we weren’t sure how things were going to turn out, we thought we might be looking at an ok weekend, but it turned out to be a very high scoring one. So I’m very pleased and looking forward to the last rounds at Donington.”
Branden Oxley said: “Oulton Park is one of the trickiest circuits I’ve been to. I’ve left the track with a lot learnt and a few mistakes to iron out. Since joining the GB3 Championship, there’s been many different conditions and situations which I had never experienced before, and this is great for my development and experience!
“I’ve had my first heavy rain race and it was incredibly thrilling but also difficult with the visibility being in the spray of other cars. I had a chance to finish the weekend on the podium, although mistakes happen and thanks to the strong support from the team, we will be pushing even harder at Donington!”