Luke returns to the points as rookie season moves towards its conclusion

Rising star Luke Browning returned to the points in the FIA Formula 3 Championship with a battling drive at Spa to conclude a busy two weeks featuring back-to-back race meetings.

Before heading for the famous Belgian circuit, Luke made the trip to Hungary for the seventh race meeting of the campaign at the Hungaroring, where he kicked things off with a top ten performance in free practice in his Hitech Pulse Eight-run car.

Despite being little over a second off the fastest time, the close nature of the field meant Luke would line up in 18th place on the grid for the opening race of the weekend – leaving him with work to do around a circuit where overtaking is notoriously difficult.

Fighting hard in the early stages to make up ground, the Williams Driver Academy racer was able to benefit from a mid-race caution period that backed up the field before a number of drivers clashed on the restart at turn one.

Luke managed to avoid the incident ahead and was able to climb his way up to eleventh place at the finish, having done well to not only make up ground, but also to manage high levels of tyre degradation that would be an issue for the whole grid.

The issues would result in the feature race being shortened and Luke would again fight hard to try and make his way up the order to eventually cross the line in twelfth place.

Just a week on, Luke headed for the famous Spa circuit in Belgium eager to try and break back into the points at a circuit where he scored a double victory last year en-route to the GB3 title.

Free practice saw Luke set the fastest time in tricky wet conditions, but qualifying would prove to be more of a challenge as the circuit dried – creating something of a lottery as drivers looked to get their quickest laps in at the end of the session.

Luke would end up qualifying in 13th place, which left him within striking distance of the points going into the sprint race, and although he would manage to battle his way to tenth place, there would be no points to add to his tally.

That was a result of multiple incidents on track that saw a large part of the race run behind the safety car, with regulations stating that there must be two consecutive racing laps in order for a race to count for championship points.

Hours after the race however, the FIA announced that it was revising the decision not to award points with the event having run to its full distance, with a further boost for Luke coming from penalties elsewhere that promoted him up two places into eighth place.

Unfortunately, on-track contact in the second race of the weekend – run in challenging wet/dry conditions – would result in Luke finishing back in 23rd place, with his focus now turning towards the Italian event at Monza, where he will bid to end his rookie campaign on a high.