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Sharp edges rivals to retake GB3 points lead after Hungaroring event

Three different drivers triumphed as the series visited Hungary for the first time but it was Rodin's Louis Sharp who ended the weekend on top

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Louis Sharp, Rodin

Photo by: JEP

The lead of the GB3 Championship was passed around between three drivers during the course of the series’ first venture to the Hungaroring as the season reached its halfway mark.

As has been the case so often on GB3’s international trips over the past two years, Hitech looked to hold the upper hand, and it was Chinese driver Gerrard Xie who set the pace by landing two pole positions in qualifying.

He converted the first of those into his second series victory but had to fend off a strong challenge from team-mate and pre-event championship leader Tymek Kucharczyk, who challenged into the first corner and remained close behind for the rest of the 20-minute contest. Xie took the flag with a half-second margin to the Polish driver, who extended his points lead while Hitech stretched its win streak to seven in succession. JHR’s John Bennett completed the podium, with James Hedley fourth on his Rodin debut ahead of Hitech’s Will Macintyre and Elite’s McKenzy Cresswell.

However, Sunday’s action meant the title battle turned on its head, with Rodin’s Louis Sharp starring in the second contest as Hitech’s winning run was over. The New Zealander started fifth on the grid, but took the lead midway round the first lap. His charge began by passing Cresswell and Macintyre at Turn 1, before he then went around the outside of Kucharczyk at the following corner and completed the move up the inside at Turn 3. Polesitter Xie was leading but, when his car slowed on the approach to the chicane, Sharp needed no invitation and blasted into first place.

From there he established a 2s lead to claim his first victory since the Oulton Park season opener, finishing clear of Kucharczyk. But Kucharczyk was later disqualified from the results after his car’s fire extinguisher had gone off on the formation lap, and his machine was therefore technically non-compliant.

It was a mixed weekend in Hungary for Kucharczyk

It was a mixed weekend in Hungary for Kucharczyk

Photo by: JEP

That handed the series lead to Macintyre, who inherited second place ahead of Cresswell. JHR’s Patrick Heuzenroeder claimed a season’s best fourth ahead of Elite’s Jarrod Waberski and Bennett.

Sharp’s team-mate Arthur Rogeon then completed a perfect Sunday for the Rodin squad by dominating the partially reversed-grid finale. From second, he passed JHR’s polesitter Josh Irfan at Turn 2, and then dominated, taking his first series victory over 5s clear of Irfan, with Waberski completing the podium.

But Sharp’s fourth place, having retained his starting position, was enough for him to snatch the championship lead, with Macintyre only eighth and Kucharczyk failing to score after pitting early to replace a broken front wing.

“If you’d told me before the first race that I’d be the championship leader at the end of the weekend, I wouldn’t have believed you,” said Sharp, having been only ninth fastest in qualifying. “We made a few changes to the car after race one and all of a sudden it came alive. Coming away with the championship lead means we’ve maximised everything we could, and I’m looking forward to Zandvoort.”

Report by Richard Randle. Want more reports from the world of national motorsport? Subscribe today and never miss your weekly fix of motorsport with Autosport magazine

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