Championship Leader Luke Browning Wins in Austria

Luke Browning Holds Off Christian Mansell For Maiden F3 Victory
Luke Browning Holds Off Christian Mansell For Maiden F3 Victory

Luke Browning controlled things in the Spielberg Feature Race to earn his second Formula 3 victory of the season. The Hitech Pulse-Eight driver resisted race-long pressure from PREMA Racing teammates Gabriele Minì and Dino Beganovic, who fought over the final podium places to the very last lap.

AS IT HAPPENED

Luke Browning launched into a clear lead at the first corner while PREMA Racing teammates Lindblad, Minì and Beganovic followed in second through to fourth as Tim Tramnitz dropped down to seventh. Lindblad and Minì battled on the exit of Turn 4 which allowed Beganovic the run into Turn 6 to take third position from the Italian.

That became second for the Swede on Lap 2 as he dived down the inside of his teammate into Turn 3. Noel León was on the move too further back, taking sixth from Sebastián Montoya as he continued his charge from 13th on the grid.

León continued his climb through the pack with a switchback move on Oliver Goethe into Turn 4 on Lap 6 to move into the top five. Beganovic was beginning to reel in race leader Luke Browning, with his earlier 0.9s advantage down to 0.5s on Lap 7. Just behind the Swede, Minì made his way into third at the expense of Lindblad, going around the outside at Turn 4.

Lindblad was dropping through the pack on Lap 8 after brief contact with Alex Dunne into Turn 3 as the MP Motorsport driver passed Goethe. León, Dunne and Goethe were each able to clear the Briton on the run to Turn 4 to relegate the Red Bull Junior Team driver to seventh, though the Irishman was later handed a 10-second penalty for the contact with the PREMA.

Goethe then made a late dive to the inside of Dunne at Turn 4 on Lap 10 to move back into fifth position. Contact at Turn 3 between Mari Boya in the Campos and AIX Racing’s Nikita Bedrin brought out a Virtual Safety Car on Lap 11 while marshals retrieved the latter’s car.Back to racing conditions and Goethe was on the attack against León for fourth. The slightest of touches resulted in a puncture for the Van Amersfoort Racing driver, ending his charge through the pack and leaving him tumbling down the order.

With 10 laps to go, everyone behind leader Luke Browning had DRS down to the ninth-placed Tramnitz as the fight for points ebbed and flowed. Christian Mansell made his way into sixth position with a pass around the outside of Lindblad at Turn 4 on Lap 19. That became fourth for the Australian with five laps to go, diving down the inside of Goethe at Turn 4 to continue his progress.Nikola Tsolov moved into seventh at the expense of Lindblad on Lap 23, putting a brave move on the PREMA driver into Turn 6.

Minì made an attempt on Beganovic for second at Turn 3 on the following lap, but it was Mansell that went surging around the outside of the Italian at the following corner to take third. That was until Minì pulled off his own audacious pass to re-take P3 at Turn 6. Onto the penultimate lap and the battling behind allowed Browning to break out of DRS range to Beganovic, who was under attack from teammate Minì at Turn 4, with the Alpine Academy driver securing second at Turn 6. The Swede had the DRS on the final lap and re-passed his teammate into Turn 3. Once again though, Minì braved it on the outside of Turn 5 and into Turn 6 to retake the place.

While the pack battled behind, Hitech’s Luke Browning earned his second victory of the year to take over the lead of the Drivers’ Championship. Minì lifted himself up to second place with P2 ahead of teammate Beganovic, who rounded out the podium for PREMA. Mansell’s late-race charge ended with fourth ahead of Goethe, Tsolov, Lindblad, Laurens van Hoepen and Leonardo Fornaroli, who came through the pack from 24th. Dunne held onto the final point with his five-second time penalty applied.

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KEY QUOTE – Luke Browning, Hitech Pulse-Eight

“Just won the Spielberg Feature Race and couldn’t be more pleased. Hitech have done a great job. Now looking forward to my home weekend at Silverstone.”

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