The title battle in the GB3 Championship is intensifying, with Luke Browning and Joel Granfors swapping places at the top of the drivers’ standings during the race weekend at Snetterton Circuit. F1 Feeder Series talked to each of them after the first two races.
By Richard Smyth
Going into the opening race, Granfors had a one-point advantage over Browning, who had led more laps than anyone else over the course of the season so far.
In Race 1, Browning finished second and stole the championship lead from title rival Granfors, who came home third. Though Callum Voisin claimed victory, Browning was delighted to lift a trophy on the podium.
“I had a brilliant start, but it was tough in the opening laps with the dirty air, but our clean air pace was really good. It was little bit tough sitting behind Callum, but his pace was just as good. And the cars are really good to drive around here.”
When asked about his title challenge, Browning spoke confidently about the importance of finishing races over taking victory.
“I don’t think I could have attacked Callum. You don’t want to push the tyres over their limit and make a mistake, so it was better to just save the tyres for Race 2.
“The champion last season only got six wins. You don’t have to win every single race. It’s more about finishing. With GB3 not using the FIA points system, nearly everyone gets points, so if you have a DNF and not score, you are really going to feel it. Using your head, being clean and being smart is the way forward.”
‘We can’t afford a DNF’
While Browning got a strong start, Granfors did not, which meant he lost position to Browning. He told F1 Feeder Series about his struggle to get past the Hitech GP driver.
“I got a really poor start and lost Browning down to Turn 1. I tried to pass him a few times and I felt that I had better pace than him. I tried a few moves into Turn 1 and 2 to stress him out and hope he makes a mistake. I’ll take third place. It’s still good points.”
When asked how much risk he is willing to take in races over the rest of the season, Granfors said that while he wouldn’t be overly aggressive against the other drivers on the grid, the same can’t be guaranteed when he battles with Browning.
“When it’s such a small difference in points between me and Browning, you just can’t have a DNF especially when battling with him. When I’m against someone who isn’t Luke, it’s going to be different, and I won’t be as aggressive as I might be with Luke. He’s my main rival, so I can be a little more aggressive with him. Both of us know we can’t afford a DNF around here, so both of us are having to be a little bit cautious. And we aren’t even half-way through the season yet.”
The rivals relish their fight
The second race of the GB3 Championship weekend saw the top two in the championship battle each other for the race win, with Browning narrowly holding Granfors off to extend his title lead.
The two did make contact during the race, but neither driver considers the other aggressive. In fact, Browning said that he enjoys his battles with the Fortec driver.
“It’s obviously very difficult to overtake around here. I think defensive moves are important. I’m happy with the win, especially when it’s from pole, so happy days. The battles between me and Joel are always really fun and really clean, so it’s definitely something exciting for the fans going forward.”
It may have been a frustrating 12 laps for Granfors, but he was still happy with a strong second-place finish.
“I think I should be pretty happy with that. Luke’s extended his title lead but only by a few points. We had pretty good pace; I was just stuck behind him and couldn’t really make a move. There was a couple of times on the pit straight where we were side by side, but I just couldn’t make anything work to overtake him. We even touched at some point, and I was worried my front wing was damaged.”
In the reverse-grid race, neither Browning or Granfors could make significant progress on a circuit known for a lack of overtaking opportunities. Browning finished the reverse-grid race down in 15th place, with Granfors in 16th.
Browning therefore holds a lead of 11 points as the GB3 Championship heads to the famous Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium for the next three races. The series will then return to the UK and head back to Silverstone for its co-headline event with the GB4 Championship at the end of July.
Header photo credit: Jakob Ebrey
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