• Mikkel Grundtvig scorches to first win of the season for Fortec
  • Joel Granfors seals maiden podium on promising debut
  • Rookie Zak Taylor makes great progress on first GB3 showing

Fortec Motorsport came away with two podiums and a superb victory thanks to Mikkel Grundtvig in the GB3 Championship season opener at Oulton Park over the Easter Weekend (16-18 April).

The Daventry-based team made the trip to the 2.69-mile International circuit in Cheshire hoping to start strongly in their seventh full season in the championship, and their British F4 graduate Joel Granfors duly delivered with a front row start and a podium finish for the squad as a reward for his speed.

Ahead of the first three races of the season, Sweden’s Granfors put down a marker by showing frontrunning pace from testing over Thursday and Friday, topping several sessions and giving the team scope to challenge for pole position the following day alongside fellow rookie Zak Taylor and Fortec returnee, Mikkel Grundtvig.

When Saturday qualifying came around it was Granfors who stepped up to lead the charge, briefly topping the times on two occasions in his battle with Luke Browning – a winner in GB3 with Fortec at this circuit last year – but narrowly missing out on pole position by just 0.041s. A penalty would demote him to seventh for race one, Taylor and Grundtvig 14th and 18th respectively.

The first race took place later that afternoon, with a frenetic first lap benefiting all three drivers. Granfors climbed to fifth with a great getaway, only hindered by a gearbox issue on the final lap that cost him a spot. He finished sixth, while Taylor made a sublime start and carved his way through to seventh place, gaining seven spots.

When racing returned on Monday afternoon, eyes were on Granfors as the British F4 race winner started from the front row of the grid hoping to pressure race one winner Browning. Despite losing a place at the start, the Swede chased Roberto Faria all the way to the flag to secure his and Fortec’s first podium of the season in third, Taylor adding 12th place to his tally meanwhile.

Grundtvig would take centre stage in the third and final race of the weekend thanks to a completely reversed grid based on Saturday’s qualifying results, starting from pole position on the grid having taken results of 19th and 20th in the previous contests at a circuit notoriously difficult to overtake around.

The Danish driver – who won twice in GB3 last season – was in the prime spot with the additional pull of a new set of tyres underneath him, and he would make no mistakes as he streaked away with a superlative launch to dominate the 14-lapper for his third GB3 career win by 5.8s in a lights-to-flag display. Taylor also had the chance to finish the weekend in style, and ended his rookie event with a personal best finish of sixth on the road. Granfors’ job was made much trickier by a lowly starting spot of 20th due to his impressive qualifying, taking the flag 15th.

Fortec leave the opening meeting in a strong position in the Teams’ Championship, sitting in second spot and just four points from the overall lead. A strong start for Granfors meanwhile puts him fifth in the overall Drivers’ Championship, all three drivers within the top 10.

The team next head to Silverstone circuit for the latest three races of the 2022 GB3 Championship over the weekend of 7-8 May.

Oliver Dutton, Team Manager said:

“To grab a win on the opening weekend of the season is mega, and hats off to Mikkel for achieving that in such commanding fashion after a tough start to the weekend. Joel has been right up there on the pace all week and he deserved the podium finish on Monday, which should see him kick on for a strong season. Zak has a lot of positives to take from his maiden weekend, so we’ll look for more strong results at Silverstone.”

21# Zak Taylor

“It’s a learning weekend for me, but we’re getting up to speed as the weekend goes on. We made up a lot of ground at the start of the first race so I’m happy with how that went, then in the second race we did okay but we were mainy stuck in traffic. In race three, I’m not quite sure what happened but possibly a bit of damage cost us, but we’ve started well.”

#43 Mikkel Grundtvig

“We hadn’t had the start that we hoped for, but after a tough few days it feels really nice to end the first weekend of the season like this. I think it’s great to win as we haven’t been out on this track much with seven test days I think before I came here, but when we put it all together I can show what we can do.”

#50 Joel Granfors

“Testing went very well and I’m very happy with our pace already. I think it’s been between myself and Luke in the times for a lot of the week, and hopefully this means we will be able to fight for the title over the year. Qualifying was good, I got a great start in race one and then to get a podium in the second race was good, although I was starting on the dirty side which cost me, and then I was hanging on. It’s a tough track to overtake.”