Kush Maini’s HitechGP finishes 2nd overall in the 2020 BRDC British F3 Championship
Hyderabad, NFAPost: India’s advent in motorsport hasn’t been of repute. India’s exploits in the sport has left a lot to be desired. While Formula One might be above India’s reach, the lower-rung equally competitive field too has eluded a racer from India.
So, when an Indian – Kush Maini – almost came close to creating history by winning in the F3 Championship and a Single-seater Feeder Series Championship in Europe, which no Indian had done before, it set all hopes high. However, faltering in the final round, Maini and India had to be content with a second place.
The fact that Maini was leading Championship till the end of the fifth round and was in strong contention but in the end, that was not to be.
12 podiums finishes
Maini finished the 2020 season, which was delayed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with 12 podiums finishes, out of 24 races. On an average, there were 17 cars participating in every race with drivers from all over the world. It is worthwhile to also note that this was Hitech GP’s first year in the British F3 championship.
Maini continued his run in the 2020 BRDC British F3 Championship with Hitech GP as he started the seventh and final weekend at Silverstone in a good space dominating the four practice sessions held on Thursday and Friday, to gain much needed confidence.
Maini was quickest in every session but just in the last one from title rival Kaylen Fredrick. It was similar in qualifying, but roles reversed as he ended up 0.041s behind the American after slight floor damage.
“I made a mistake on my first push lap which compromised the floor of the car, so we were two or three tenths off in the first sector and we lost pole by half a tenth, so the pace is there,” Maini rued.
“The car is really quick and we are on the front row so it’s all to play for. I think I have the pace on him so I’m going to be pushing. You guys are in for a good one this weekend, the reverse grid will obviously change things up as well. I’m looking forward to it, I think that I’m really excited and pumped. For sure we’re going to have some battles, and I’m looking to come out on top,” Maini explained.
The Race 1 saw a slow start for Frederick which Maini wanted to pounce upon but the American squeezed him which resulted in the Indian backing off. That allowed Ayrton Simmons to sneak through and with all of the three on similar pace, it was difficult to regain the lost place.
Maini ended up third eventually, losing more points to Frederick. “I was alongside him [Frederick at the start] and he closed the gap and I was almost in the wall. That’s it. The dirty air made it difficult to pass, when two cars are on a similar pace you can’t really catch or overtake so, it is what it is,” Maini added.
British F3 campaign
The Race 2 was a gamble in foggy conditions as both the championship leaders opted for wet tyres on a damp track. They had some gritty fight, even getting a black and white flag for a tussle. Maini made a great start initially from 15th on the grid to be up to seventh carving his way up the field in the opening laps.
However, Maini lost momentum due to damage and fell to 17th by the end of the race as the wet tyres started to fade. Frederick finished 12th which took the title fight to the final race.
The American, though, was in firm control unless he was to retire. The final race on Sunday saw a similar start from Frederick but it was Maini, who lost out again, to not only drop to fourth but he eventually finished sixth due to earlier damage to end a surprising 2020 British F3 campaign, which he started on a three-days’ notice from Hitech GP.
He claimed second overall, one better than third in 2018, as he finished with 448 points to Frederick’s 499, while Ulysse De Pauw was third with 398.