• Fortec Motorsport take championship fight all the way to penultimate round in Derby
  • Joel Granfors seals second in the championship after valiant fight
  • Mikkel Grundtvig out of luck in season finale

Fortec Motorsport concluded their 2022 GB3 Championship campaign last weekend at Donington Park (15/16 October), but narrowly came up short of winning the overall Drivers’ title in the season finale.

The Daventry squad headed into the final event of the year with a chance of overall championship success thanks to Swedish rookie sensation Joel Granfors, who entered in second place in the standings and just over 16 points adrift after a superb maiden year since graduating with the team from British F4.

The two-time winner looked set to spearhead the experienced team’s two-car assault in the final three races at the 2.4-mile Donington Park GP loop, and duly took to the circuit on Saturday morning looking to challenge title rival Luke Browning for pole position.

In a tight and unpredictable timed session, the Swedish teenager climbed into the top three early on and was consisitently in the fight for pole, but would be forced to settle for eighth place for race one as times fell rapidly on a drying track. Later that afternoon, a rapid start moved Granfors up two spots, chasing his title rival’s team-mate Bryce Aron who he bravely got the better of on a safety car restart by hanging on around the outside with a better exit from the Old Hairpin.

Fifth would be his final position, but Sunday brought opportunity to recover points starting ahead of Browning in fourth place. What followed was a phenomenal start by Granfors to sweep around the outside of all three cars ahead of him at Redgate for the first time, Granfors one of many cars on wet tyres as the track started to dry late on.

The leader fended off the chasing Tom Lebbon and Callum Voisin over the first three laps but was usurped of his position at the hairpin and then fell to fourth as his tyres began to suffer, so much so that he would only be able to hang on to 13th place by the chequered flag as the dry rubber-shod cars made up ground and grip disappeared underneath him.

It ultimately put the Fortec man out of the title chase with just the reverse grid race remaining, Granfors starting 13th. Having made up more places than any other driver in reverse grid contests in 2022, the double Silverstone winner duly put in another one of his sensational recovery drives, taking five places on the opening lap alone and a further three over the remainder of the race to finish fifth, securing second in the points.

Despite qualifying a mere 1.5 seconds off pole position, Fortec Motorsport’s second driver Mikkel Grundtvig would qualify down in 20th position. Climbing five spots in the first race with some opportunistic overtaking in a marauding mid-pack, the four-time GB3 race winner then finished the second race again in 15th before starting the final race of the weekend from sixth on the grid. A damaged front wing would be his undoing however, finishing down in an unrepresentative 19th.

In the Teams’ Championship meanwhile, Fortec Motorsport would chase hard and ended the season in a close fourth overall in the final table.

Oliver Dutton, Team Manager said:

“It was a closely fought season all the way until the end, and it’s just not quite fallen our way in the last round. It’s been a fantastic showing from Joel as a rookie in this series; he hit the ground running straight away and has been incredibly consistent and calm to work with all season. Mikkel has given us more wins too this year and we can look forward to next season after coming so close this time and come out fighting for the crown in 2023.”

#43 Mikkel Grundtvig

“It’s been very challenging and although results-wise it was not what I had wanted, I have learned a lot with the Fortec team. I have had some difficult times in qualifying this year including things out of our hands such as at Snetterton that lost me ground, but when it has gone well I have shown what we can do with two wins.”

#50 Joel Granfors

“I think it’s been a good year for us. A lot of ups and downs but a great rookie year with the team, and I’ve learned a lot. Even though we finished second, we can say we did a good job and well done to Luke. We’ve had some really good battles all year and especially at Snetterton. In race two we struggled on set-up and with the tyres which cost us, but we have two wins and overall a very good season.”