Marzorati’s maiden podium the highlight for CDR at Donington Park

Max Marzorati’s maiden BRDC British F3 podium finish was the highlight of Chris Dittmann Racing’s visit to Donington Park last weekend (10-11 July).

Marzorati’s second place in the final race of the event maintained CDR’s record of taking podium finishes at every weekend of the 2021 season so far, while teammate Ayrton Simmons took home two strong top-eight finishes, despite not turning a wheel at the East Midlands circuit for two years.

Marzorati’s best result of his British F3 career so far came after a brilliant drive that saw him take the lead on the first lap of the race, only to see a big advantage wiped out by a safety car period when two of the championship front-runners collided.

The British driver made a great restart to re-establish an advantage, but was caught by Fortec driver Mikkel Grundtvig, who boasts a great deal more racing experience. Max held him off and went wheel to wheel down the Craner Curves, one of the most daunting stretches of tarmac in UK motorsport, as Grundtvig eventually found a way past.

Max refused to give up though, and finished just under two seconds away from the win, and fought off intense pressure from cars behind, including a former F4 vice-champion. Marzorati’s first podium backed up another strong weekend of progress, as he demonstrated the big gains he’s made since last year with further strong points finishes in the opening two contests.

Having not driven at the circuit for a couple of seasons, and missing vital pre-season testing at the venue, Ayrton Simmons was still a constant presence inside the top-10 all weekend. Lacking mileage compared to his rivals, he claimed two eighth place finishes from the event, and built up his speed as he re-familiarised himself with the circuit.

A big result was on the cards in the final race, but after being edged into the gravel he slipped down the order. Despite this setback, he displayed the race craft, overtaking prowess and speed for which he is renowned, fighting his way back up to eighth.

With several drivers in front of him in the championship standings failing to finish the race, he was able to make inroads into their points advantage and now heads to Spa Francorchamps in under two weeks’ time, a venue he’s won at with CDR and where no driver on the current grid has raced a British F3 car before.

Team Principal Chris Dittmann commented: “Max’s podium in the final race put a smile on all our faces. He’s grown so much with the team over the past few months, has made big progress with his pace and race craft, and only a bit of bad luck has stopped him bringing home a big result so far this year. So a podium was a richly deserved result and hopefully this will be a catalyst for him for the rest of the season.

“Ayrton was always going to be a bit on the back foot going into the weekend, the vast majority of the grid had significant pre-season testing mileage around Donington, and Thursday was the first time he’d driven the circuit since September 2019. With the grid being so close, his pace was really strong given the lack of mileage, and by the end of the weekend he was right on their pace. We head now to Spa where no-one has driven for a long time, so we’re all pretty excited for that one.”

Max Marzorati said: “It felt amazing to finally get that podium. I’m slightly disappointed that we didn’t get the win, but I’m so, so happy that I still managed to bring home something with P2. I have to thank my sponsors Rich Energy and Adrian Flux and give a big shout out to Ben, the automotive charity and all the hard work they do.

“We were so close and we led for quite a long time. I had the dream start and the dream safety car restart, but unfortunately I was struggling in that last sector and Grundtvig managed to pounce when I didn’t think he was close enough. We had a great fight for the lead, I didn’t make it easy for him, but it was a clean fight and fun to be part of. I’m just so happy with the progress I’ve made this year, I’m getting quicker with every weekend and I owe a big thanks to all the team at Chris Dittmann Racing.”

Ayrton Simmons said: “It’s a weekend where we’ve learned a lot, we were on the back foot and always chasing from the first session really. I hadn’t been to Donington for two years and as a team we’ve not done as much testing around there compared to the other teams, and that showed a lot this weekend. Towards the end we actually got the car spot on and was setting fastest sector times in races, doing some quality overtakes and making up some good ground. So I was happy with where we were at, just everything came a little bit too late. On the positive side, we’re racing again there this year and we’ll be able to start off a lot stronger.

“I’m looking forward to Spa next time out, looking forward to correcting, and expecting that the work we’ve done will reflect on the track. What a place to do it; we love Spa, we’ve done very well there in the past so it should be a good weekend.”

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