Two podiums for Ayrton Simmons gives Chris Dittmann Racing an Easter Treat on exciting British F3 opener at Oulton Park

An Ayrton Simmons double podium saw Chris Dittmann Racing get their 2019 BRDC British F3 campaign off to a cracking start this Easter weekend (20-22 April).

The Epping racer showed he would be one to watch across the season with a second and third place finish at Oulton Park.

And two Top 10 finishes on Malaysian driver Nazim Azman’s British F3 debut ensured the team left in good spirits – and with more points on the board.

Team principal Chris Dittmann said: “It was a great start to the season for the team and both drivers.

“Ayrton showed what he is about with an excellent qualifying and two strong podiums after proving his potential during his appearances for us last season.

“Without a rear wheel nut failure in the second race, Ayrton would have secured even more points after running in a solid P10 after the reverse grid start.

“Without much testing, Nazim’s come in and done very well in the time he’s had. We’re delighted that he’s come away with a P7 and P9.”

Testing went well for the team on Thursday.  Ayrton came out on top for three of the four sessions, with his second place running on older tyres.

The 17-year-old didn’t take long to settle in qualifying, finishing with a pacy P3 for Race One – just 0.204 off pole – and a fantastic pole for Race Three. Nazim was happy to qualify in P11 and P12 as he continued to get to grips with the car.

The F3 season opener saw a lengthy safety car period after a multi-car incident that led to Ayrton finding a way past Frederick at the restart, with a daring move around the outside of Island bend to take second. It was his first podium in the competition after a handful of races for the team last season. Nazim moved up five places to finish in a very respectable P7.

The reverse grid of Race Two, saw Ayrton looking to build on his brilliant start. Unfortunately, a rear wheel nut failure saw him forced into retirement, with Nazim running well again to finish P9 for his second Top 10 of the weekend.

Race Three saw Ayrton get off to a brilliant start, holding a lead of over a second by the end of the first lap. But on lap seven, a small mistake at Brittens chicane led to a dramatic defence of the lead into Knickerbrook, which resulted in the young driver taking to the grass and losing a position. He managed to get back to challenge the leader but with two new tyres as opposed to the leader’s four, he could only come in as runner-up, later moved down to third after being hit by a one-second penalty for an apparent unfair advantage at Knickerbrook. Nazim had a solid race and finished P11 after another good run.

In the overall points,  Ayrton came away third in the Championship and Nazim P10 after an excellent weekend’s work from both drivers.

Ayrton said: “It was a really good weekend and the pace was there every session apart from FP4 on the Friday. To finish third in Race Three after a DNF in Race Two that was not our fault was a bit disappointing but overall there are plenty of positives.”

Chris Dittmann added: “All in all it was a fantastic start to the season for both drivers. We saw improvement from them over the course of the weekend and we are looking forward to more of the same as we progress during the season.

“Snetterton will bring a different set of challenges but it’s a really positive start.”

About the author: CDR