Fortec Motorsport went close to a podium return in the GB3 Championship on another character-building weekend [9-10 September] for the team at Brands Hatch.
A return to form was high on the agenda for the Daventry-based team heading to the legendary, 2.4-mile Kent circuit, after a tricky run of form for the team’s trio of Max Esterson, Jarrod Waberski and Edward Pearson in recent rounds.
Qualifying put a dent in the team’s ambitions, with a late red flag putting pay to each driver’s quickest efforts at the end of the session. That left Waberski, Esterson and Pearson well out of position in P14, P16 and P20 on the grid for the opening race.
Undeterred, the team set about immediately making amends. An astonishing display of overtaking by all three drivers paid dividends in race one, with Waberski leading home Esterson and Pearson in 10th, 11th, and 14th respectively.
It was a similar story for Waberski and Esterson on Sunday morning, too, the South African talent charging up the order to sixth spot, with US racer Esterson once again taking the chequered flag in P11.
Pearson was unfortunately forced to retire from that contest after sustaining front wing damage early on, but Sunday afternoon’s reverse grid race gave the Brit plenty to be optimistic about as the team targeted a strong end to the weekend.
Although he dropped back slightly in avoidance as chaos unfolded for other cars at Paddock Hill Bend, Pearson rallied well, passing Noah Ping to claim fourth.
There he would stay, agonisingly close to the final step of the podium, as both Waberski and Esterson were forced to retire with damage further down the order.
GB3 heads next to Zandvoort, home of the Formula 1 ® Dutch Grand Prix, for the penultimate round of the season on 14-15 October, before the Donington season finale a week later.
Jarrod Waberski (#20) said:
“Overall, it was a disappointing weekend for us considering the strong pace we had all through testing, with getting blocked in qualifying and a red flag on our second set of tires, but some things are out of our control.
Nonetheless we had two really strong races, making up a lot of spots at a track that is deemed almost impossible to overtake on. We’ve got two more rounds to go, let’s give it everything.”
Edward Pearson (#41) said:
“I’m very satisfied with the performance this weekend at Brands Hatch.
“I think across all three races we showed we were on the pace of the front-runners, and I was able to get my overtaking boots on and make up some places.
“Qualifying is just so important in this championship, but with time and experience, we’ll be able to get that nailed down, and then the results will come on a consistent basis.
“Thanks to the team for their hard work, and I’m looking forward to Zandvoort in a few weeks.”
Max Esterson (#42) said:
“It’s been a tough weekend at Brands. I couldn’t find the speed I needed to be up front in qualifying.
“The races were at least decent and I made some nice overtakes in Race 2. Thanks to the team for their hard work and we’ll keep pushing to improve.”
Oliver Dutton, Team Principal said:
“The guys are understandably quite frustrated, on the whole, because we deserved a lot more from the weekend, based on our performance in testing and in the lead up to the event.
“But red flags are always a risk in qualifying, purely because everyone is pushing to the limit. Sometimes, that can be the difference in a positive way; as it was, this time that cost us a chance to improve.
“But I’m still proud of everyone for digging in and getting a chunk of points to come away with. It’s not what we came for, but it’s all experience and, at this level of the sport, that’s what we’re here to provide for our drivers.
“Onwards and upwards to Zandvoort, and hopefully that elusive first win of the season.”