Luke grabs more points from tricky Australian weekend

Rising star Luke Browning secured his second points finish of the FIA Formula 3 season despite a tricky weekend on track at Albert Park.

The Cheshire racer made the long trip to Australia bidding to build on a fine fifth place finish scored at the season opener in Bahrain, with the Hitech Pulse-Eight ace storming through the pack from 17th on the grid to open his account for the season.

Things started well for Luke in official practice as he headed the three Hitech drivers on the timesheets, setting a time good enough for sixth place overall as the F3 field sampled the Albert Park circuit for the first time.

That left confidence high going into qualifying but it would prove to be a chaotic affair thanks to multiple red flags as drivers pushed beyond the limits and hit trouble.

Although he ran as high as second at one stage, the truncated nature of the session made it hard for drivers to get into a rhythm, with Luke ending up with the ninth best time.

With the top twelve on the grid reversed for race one, Luke started from the second row of the grid and would dice for second in the early stages – getting ahead of Caio Collet off the line and then slipping ahead of Oliver Goethe before half a lap was completed.

An off for Goethe then brought out the safety car, with Luke chasing team-mate Sebastian Montoya on the restart.

Running over the kerb at turn nine whilst pushing for the lead saw Luke sustain damage to his car and he would then be forced wide whilst defending his position to leave him in eleventh at the flag.

A time penalty for contact then left him classified in an unrepresentative 17th spot.

The second race would see Luke battling hard to track to make up ground from ninth and he survived early contact with Franco Colapinto to run inside the top seven before grabbing sixth from Paul Aron after an early caution period.

Luke was able to maintain his position through the finish – despite another Safety Car period – but was then given a five second penalty after stewards deemed him to have been at fault for the clash with Colapinto, which pushed him back eighth place.

The points scored in race two leave Luke tenth in the standings with a gap in the schedule before the action resumes at the Imola circuit in Italy for round three on the weekend of 19-21 May.