A convincing win, a second and a fifth place saw F3 title challenger Callum Ilott close the gap to his rivals at the Hungaroring this weekend. Scoring more points than any of his competitors in the FIA European F3 championship, Ilott achieved his aim of collecting points in all three races, progressing to third in the overall standings.
Balance issues in Friday’s wet qualifying had left Ilott lining up only fourth for the first race due Saturday morning. The team worked hard to improve the car overnight but Ilott was visibly having to contend with oversteer, leaving him battling with Joey Mawson. Despite driving hard to hold on to fourth, Mawson found a way past at Turn One on lap nine. Clear of his other rivals, Ilott finished fifth.
Qualifying for Sunday’s races gave the PREMA outfit an opportunity to perfect the set-up, the result enabling Ilott to storm to pole for Race Two and second for Race Three.
Sunday’s opening race saw a crushing display from Ilott as he dominated the proceedings, leading from lights to flag and never headed. The result after 22 laps was a stunning 8.6 second advantage over his nearest rival Joel Eriksson. “I made a reasonable start, meaning I had Joel close, applying pressure for the opening part of the race,” says Ilott. “The car felt great and I was able to push and extend my advantage, managing the tyre degradation. At the finish I was delighted, getting my third win of the year and of course, securing the points that I need to remain a leading contender in the title race.”
Sunday’s late afternoon race saw Ilott complete his mission of collecting valuable points by finishing a strong second behind Eriksson. “Track temperatures had risen and that made tyre degradation more of an issue,” adds Ilott. “Managing a minor issue with the gearbox meant I needed to be careful when braking and be certain of achieving the highest point possible.” As the race neared its conclusion, Ilott nonetheless was able to close the gap back to Eriksson but running wide at Turn 11 only compounded grip issues for Ilott and he then focussed on ensuring he would be back on the podium. “It’s been a great weekend, moving back to third in the championship and it’s just a couple of weeks until we are back racing at Norisring, we’ve got the chance to keep the momentum going at a track I enjoy with plenty of slipstreaming and overtaking opportunities.”
Ilott now has 162 points, a mere 21 points off the championship leader Eriksson. The Norisring races, Round Five of the championship, will take place on the 1-2nd July at the 2.3km long track in the Nürnberg city.