Ayrton Simmons secured a thrilling third win of the season at Silverstone to cap a superb penultimate weekend of the BRDC British F3 Championship for Chris Dittmann Racing.
The Epping racer finished fourth in the first race, before manoeuvring expertly through the field to make up 12 places and finish fourth again in Race Two.
But he saved his best for last, taking victory in the final race to set up an exciting four-way title showdown at the Donington finale next month.
Meanwhile, a double podium, including a nail-biting victory in the last race, saw Cian Carey dominate again and extend his lead at the top of the standings in F3 Cup at the same circuit.
Team principal Chris Dittmann said: “It was a great weekend for the team. Two wins in two Championships is an excellent return.
“Both Ayrton and Cian were on top form all weekend, with Ayrton closing the gap on the top two in the BRDC British F3 standings and Cian extending his lead in F3 Cup.
“Things didn’t go so well for Nazim this week who couldn’t find the form from the previous round and David Gillett had some bad luck with car damage on his first outing for us.
“But to be in the mix in both competitions at this stage of the season is fantastic and is a testament to how hard everyone is working behind the scenes.”
BRDC British F3
Nazim Azman took his debut win last time out, with a podium for Ayrton Simmons in the same race leading to the team’s first ever one-two in the competition.
This time, the adverse weather conditions played a big part in the team’s preparations, with torrential rain and oil on the track shortening or cancelling some of the Friday testing.
Qualifying, Race One and Two.
However, Ayrton managed some quick times in the wet and despite the track drying by qualifying, he did well to qualify in P3. Nazim struggled with the mixed conditions to finish in P16.
A slow start saw Ayrton drop to P6 at the start of the first race, but he dug deep to finish in P4, with Nazim making up a position to end in P15.
The wet conditions in the second race gave Ayrton the opportunity to try to repeat the pace he had shown in the wet during testing.
Unfortunately, he struggled with the tyre temperature to start with and dropped to 16th by the end of the first first lap – but soon started charging his way through the field.
The team were delighted with the points haul that came with a hard-earned, but well-deserved P4 in the end. Amazingly, he was two seconds a lap faster than anyone else and narrowly missed out on a podium, despite the ground he needed to make up.
Meanwhile, Nazim had another tough race, starting P2 but losing places on the first corner and he was unable to repeat the heroics of the reverse grid on the previous round. Contact soon after saw him lose more places and he could only finish P12 at the end.
The weather had brightened up for the final race with the cars back on slicks and starting P2, Ayrton was determined to finish the week on a high.
The driver had a great start, passing leader Kiern Jewiss at Copse before keeping him at arm’s length for the remainder of the race for a well-deserved win and maximum points that also saw him take the fastest lap, with Nazim finishing in P12.
The weekend’s points haul saw Ayrton stay in third in the overall standings but move even closer to nearest rival Johnathan Hoggard, leaving him nine points off second and 61 points off the top. There are 103 points between first place and fourth place, with 106 points available at September’s season finale in Donington based on a 17-car grid.
Meanwhile, Chris Dittmann Racing also enjoyed more success in F3 Cup, this weekend.
Last time out at Oulton Park, principal Chris Dittmann got behind the wheel for a P2, with Cian Carey finishing just behind him in the same race to keep him top of the overall standings.
This time round, the team welcomed new driver Dave Gillett to the fold for his first race meeting with the team. Unfortunately, father and son duo Phillip and Patrick Jeans were unable to attend due to work commitments.
Qualifying and Race One
With torrential rain, testing time was again limited. But Cian didn’t let it hamper his qualifying sessions, finishing 0.09s off pole for a P2 for both races, with Dave still getting used to the car and track and finishing P8.
With a damp but drying track and Cian on wets, the driver got off to a slow start in the first race, going off track and losing a couple of positions. But he fought his way back to P2, and had got himself in a position to attack leader George Line after pulling back an eight-second lead, when the safety car came out. With just a lap to go after the re-start, he frustratingly had to settle for the second-place finish after showing incredible pace throughout the race.
Dave was on slick tyres in tricky conditions and had just started to settle into the race when he ran wide at Stowe onto the wet line and spun, hitting the wall on the inside. Unfortunately, he damaged the car in the process that sadly ended his weekend.
Cian got off to a better start in the second race, moving into first place early on. However, he was soon hit with a 10-second penalty for rolling at the start, which left him needing to finish the race 10-seconds ahead of his nearest rival to take the win.
When Cian received notification of the penalty, he had already pulled out a nine-second lead, but knew he had to dig deep and push even harder. Over the next few laps Cian put in some lightening-quick times and amazingly brought the car home for a brilliant win and maximum points, setting a new F3 Cup lap record in the process. The Irish driver stays top of the standings, with three more rounds to go.
Chris added: “Cian’s second race was a real nail-biter, with it touch and go as to whether he would have enough to win by the 10-second margin needed after the penalty decision. It would have cost most drivers the win, but Cian is not most drivers! We were delighted for him at the end, it was an excellent race.
“It’s Brands Hatch next up in the Championship, where we are hoping for more points to keep widening this gap at the top.
“For Ayrton, we are now looking forward to Donington next month. He has a great chance of finishing second and with a bit of luck and if things go our way, the title is still there. But we will take each race as it comes, keep piling on the points and see where we end up.”