Donington BF3: Leist wins title, Collard crashes twice

Matheus Leist has been crowned the 2016 British F3 champion after chief rival Ricky Collard crashed twice during the season finale at Donington Park.

Donington BF3: Leist wins title, Collard crashes twice
Ricky Collard, Carlin and Enzo Bortoleto, Double R Racing crash
Ricky Collard, Carlin
Thomas Randle, Douglas Motorsport
Ben Hingeley, HHC Motorsport
Tarun Reddy, Fortec Motorsports
Ben Hingeley, HHC Motorsport
Ben Hingeley, HHC Motorsport
Ricky Collard, Carlin
Matheus Leist, Double R Racing
Track action
Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing

Collard arrived in the Donington Park weekend with a healthy 20-point advantage, having scored a double win at the last round in Snetterton.

However, two separate collisions with Enzo Bortoleto in the first two races of the weekend allowed Leist to clinch the title.

Leist wins shortened Race 1 as Collard crashes

In the opening race, Leist made a blistering start from second on the grid, passing pole-sitter Ben Hingeley to take over the lead.

Harrison Scott followed the Brazilian, demoting the HHC Motorsport driver in third place.

However, the real drama was ensuing behind the leading trio. Championship protagonist Collard made contact with Enaam Ahmed on the opening lap, dropping down to 14th position.

The Carlin driver immediately put himself on a recovery drive, rallying to sixth place before the safety car was deployed.

When the race resumed, Collard again found himself in the heap of the action - colliding with Leist’s Double R teammate Enzo Bortoleto, both drivers making a trip to the gravel and retiring immediately.

The race itself was red-flagged and results declared soon after, giving race winner Leist a big lead with two races to spare.

Behind, Scott and Hingeley held on to their positions to seal other two spots on the podium, with Toby Sowery finishing fourth.

Sean Walkinshaw’s Thomas Max finished in the fifth place, with Ahmed recovering from his earlier incident to take sixth at the flag.

Sowery wins race two as Collard makes contact again

In the second race, Eugene Denyssen led from pole position, with Sowery passing both Maxwell and Huovinen to move up to third.

Championship protagonist Collard was making decent progress from the back of the pack until he clashed with Bortoleto again - coincidentally at the same Melbourne hairpin - knocking the latter out of the race.

However, Collard himself managed to continue, finishing 10th.

Up ahead, after the safety car returned to the pits, Sowery passed Denyssen to take the lead, which he duly converted into a fine victory.

Maxwell led on to the final spot on the podium, with Scott passing points leader Leist on the final tour for fourth place.

Sowery eases to second win as Leist takes title

The title-deciding race was delayed when Hingeley stalled on the grid, forcing the field to complete another formation lap.

When the race finally got going, Sowery led the field into turn 1, with Ahmed and Scott following the race two winner.

Further down the order, Randle had made a good start and passed Leist for fourth, before dispatching Scott to move into a podium-scoring position.

Collard, meanwhile, was stuck behind Leist, who held off his Carlin rival with relative ease.

With no changes in the top five towards the second half of the race, Sowery went on to secure a comfortable win, with Leist clinching the overall crown.

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