Fortec Motorsport returned to the podium in the GB3 Championship courtesy of South African talent Jarrod Waberski at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps last weekend [3-4 June].
The Daventry team made the annual excursion to the world-famous, 4.3-mile Belgian circuit looking to break an inconsistent run of form in the UK’s premier single-seater series.
But again, qualifying left the team with an uphill struggle, the best efforts of Max Esterson, Edward Pearson and Jarrod Waberski all blighted by red flags for another incident on their final runs. It left the trio P8, P13 and P17 respectively for the first of three races.
Esterson would again lead the line for the trio in the opening race, the American ace taking sixth. Pearson followed in P11, ahead of Waberski. The South African teenager did cross the line in tenth spot, but a post-race penalty for a safety car infringement amongst other drivers dropped him back to P19.
With Esterson forced to retire from fourth in the second contest with a throttle stop problem, it then fell to Pearson to enjoy a starring role, the Cambridgeshire-based driver making up a raft of places to claim seventh, his best non-reverse grid result of the campaign.
Waberski was in P11 on that occasion, but then enjoyed his own moment in the spotlight in the finale, the 16-year-old enjoying a race-long battle up front as part of a breakaway group, before scoring his maiden podium in GB3 with third.
It could have been a similar story for a fast-starting Esterson, who charged up 12 places amidst the opening exchanges, and had set the fastest lap before being collected by another car and forced to pit once more. Pearson was able to bring home the third car in P18, with Esterson eventually classified P21.
The team now face a quick turnaround, with the next three rounds of the GB3 Championship set to take place at Snetterton’s 300 circuit on 17-18 June.
Jarrod Waberski (#20) said:
“To finish the weekend with a podium was a nice way to end what was otherwise a difficult trip to Spa.
“We were struggling quite a bit with the car, but we’ve made some good improvements as a result and will continue to put the hard work in, to ensure we come back at Snetterton in two weeks with an improved package.
“I can’t thank everyone at Fortec Motorsport enough for all their continuous hard work – not to mention several late nights!”
Edward Pearson (#41) said:
“It’s been a really positive weekend for me, at a jaw-dropping circuit like Spa. We had really good pace all weekend, and Saturday in particular was fantastic.
“We saved some tyres so we could maximise the points haul in the main two races. That did mean we struggled a bit in the reverse grid race, because they were in bad shape.
“But I’d like to thank Fortec for giving me such a great car all weekend, and I’m looking forward to Snetterton.”
Max Esterson (#42) said:
“It’s been a super unlucky weekend overall, which really began with the untimely red flags in qualifying.
“It’s very frustrating to have such a random mechanical issue whilst chasing a podium in Race 2, and then getting completely taken out in Race 3 after gaining 12 positions.
“But at least we can say we were once again very fast, and the team did a great job all weekend.”
Oliver Dutton, Team Principal said:
“There’s definitely some frustration leaving Spa, on a weekend that promised more. But all we can do is take the positives from it and move forward.
“Max was the epitome of unlucky this weekend. He showed tremendous character, particularly after the issue in race two. I think if not for being wiped out in the last race, there’s every chance he’d be enjoying a first podium of the year, alongside Jarrod.
“I’m pleased to see Jarrod get some silverware, though – his performances so far in his debut season have certainly merited it. And for us, one of the saving graces this weekend has been Ed’s progress.
“He showed real maturity as a driver, and some blistering speed on the new tyres, and I think it’ll be a massive confidence boost for him going forward.
“Now all eyes turn to Snetterton. One weekend soon, everything is going to align, and we’ll be able to enjoy the results that the work off-track merit. Fingers crossed, it’ll be then!”