Bennett and Macintyre victorious as Sharp holds GB3 lead at end of Oulton Park season opener

Published on Monday, April 1, 2024

Bennett and Macintyre victorious as Sharp holds GB3 lead at end of Oulton Park season opener

JHR Developments’ John Bennett and Hitech Pulse-Eight’s Will Macintyre made it a clean sweep of new winners in the GB3 Championship season opener at Oulton Park, after both triumphed on Monday. 

Bennett claimed race two victory after an outstanding overtaking move in treacherous conditions at Island Bend, while Macintyre stole victory on the final lap of race three this afternoon. Meanwhile, Rodin’s Louis Sharp added a second place and a fifth in the top-12 reverse affair to walk away from Cheshire as the early championship leader.


 

Race two
In a contrast to the sunny conditions on Saturday, Easter Monday was very wet, and Bennett made the most of his experience in GB3 to finally claim his first win, after coming close last year.

The British driver started second, but after a safety car restart, blasted past pole-sitter Sharp around the outside of the flat-out Island Bend. The pair may have even rubbed wheels in the process, but Bennett completed the move on the inside of Shell Oils moments later and pulled away to victory. 

Sharp then had to fend off the attentions of a rapid Tymek Kucharczyk, and this time there was contact approaching the start of the last lap. Sharp was delayed, but Kucharczyk was to suffer race ending damage, promoting Elite’s McKenzy Cresswell to the podium in third. 

Ugo Ugochukwu (Rodin), and Hitech Pulse-Eight duo Gerrard Xie and Macintyre completed the top-six. With Bennett and Sharp at the front of the field being a flip of the race one result from Saturday, the duo shared the championship lead heading into the final contest of the event. 


Race three
The new top-12 reverse grid format from the qualifying results put Bennett’s JHR teammate Patrick Heuzenroeder on pole for the finale, with Sharp conversely down in 12th. 

But all eyes were on Sharp’s fast-starting teammate Arthur Rogeon from fourth, as he blasted into the lead on the run to Old Hall. The Frenchman built a massive lead of almost five seconds when the race was neutralised behind the safety car at the mid-point, with Heuzenroeder stopped on the approach to Island. 

Macintyre had moved up to second and had just started reducing the advantage before the safety car was deployed, but Rogeon was able to build a margin of over a second after the restart, and looked on course for a maiden triumph of his own starting the final lap, only for the Rodin car to slow at Shell Oils.

Macintyre was past in a flash, with Elite’s Jarrod Waberski moving up to second and Ugochukwu into third. Rogeon also lost positions to Kucharczyk and Sharp, but just about held on to salvage sixth. 

Sharp’s fifth place means the New Zealander holds a 15-point lead after the first three races of the year, with Ugochukwu second and Bennett third after a more challenging final race that saw him take 14th place. Action resumes at Silverstone on 27-28 April. 



Sharp said: “It’s been a really good weekend, I’ve got to give a big thank you to the Rodin team, they’ve done a really good job over the winter of getting everything up to speed. They’ve also given me a really good race car this weekend and I can’t have asked for a better first event in GB3. A P1, P2 and a P5 in the reverse grid, it would have been nice to have won the second race as well but we struggled a little bit with the setup of the car. But the guys have done a really good job of turning things around from the second race, and the car was really strong. I can’t thank them enough.”


Race two winner Bennett said: "I tried round the outside of Louis on Saturday, almost got there but not quite so I thought I’ll give it another go today and I actually pulled it off. I won two times with Carlin last year but I had to give them to JHR so I thought if we can’t beat them, might as well join them! We got the win this time.

"The first couple of laps of the race I couldn’t see anything from the spray. I knew I had to get right behind Louis or else there wasn’t going to be a chance. I got a good run through turn one right behind Louis, close again through turn two, and got a good run. He left a gap on the outside and I just thought ‘Let’s hope the grip is there and I’ll send the speed’. I got up the inside into the hairpin and made it work. Delighted with it.”

"It’s a dream start to the year, the hardships we had last year, to start the year in this fashion and come away with the championship lead after the first two main races, just amazing, to get my first win, third time lucky, it feels good."

Race three winner Macintyre said: "It was one of those races where we just had to maximise what we could because obviously, we didn’t have a great qualifying, but that meant we were at the front so we could challenge for the win. 

“Honestly I didn’t even know what was going on. I could hardly even see because of the spray, I was just looking at your man’s rain light in front of me, stressed to keep it on track, to be honest and then he got closer and closer and closer on the last lap and then he just pulled over to one side. I don’t even know what happened, I nearly went into the back of him, to be honest. I just kept it on track and that was it really."

GB3 Championship, partnered by the BRDC, Oulton Park race two top-six:
1. John Bennett, JHR Developments, 10 laps
2. Louis Sharp, Rodin Motorsport, +2.898s
3. McKenzy Cresswell, Elite Motorsport, +7.084s
4. Ugo Ugochukwu, Rodin Motorsport, +8.489s
5. Gerrard Xie, Hitech Pulse-Eight, +12.837s
6. Will MacIntyre, Hitech Pulse-Eight, +13.440s

Click here for full results

GB3 Championship, partnered by the BRDC, Oulton Park race three top-six:
1. Will Macintyre, Hitech Pulse-Eight, 12 laps
2. Jarrod Waberski, Elite Motorsport, +4.082s
3. Ugo Ugochukwu, Rodin Motorsport, +4.899s
4. Tymek Kucharczyk, Hitech Pulse-Eight, +6.516s
5. Louis Sharp, Rodin Motorsport, +7.059s
6. Arthur Rogeon, Rodin Motorsport, +7.504s

Click here for full results

GB3 Championship, partnered by the BRDC, driver's standings after race three of 24
1. Louis Sharp, Rodin Motorsport, 82pts
2. Ugo Ugochukwu, Rodin Motorsport, 67pts
3. John Bennett, JHR Developments, 66pts
4. Will Macintyre, Hitech Pulse-Eight, 53pts
5. McKenzy Cresswell, Elite Motorsport, 51pts
6. Gerrard Xie, Hitech Pulse-Eight, 46pts

Click here for full standings

GB3 Championship, partnered by the BRDC, team's standings after race three of 24
1. Rodin Motorsport, 149pts
2. Hitech Pulse-Eight, 114pts
3. Elite Motorsport, 95pts
4. JHR Developments, 88pts
5. VRD Racing by Arden, 42pts
6. Chris Dittmann Racing, 38pts

Click here for full standings

For more championship information visit www.gb-3.net 

 

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