Johnathan Hoggard took his first win of the weekend at Brands Hatch to reignite his charge for the British F3 Championship.
Kiern Jewiss took second after closing on Hoggard towards the end of the race while Clement Novalak couldn’t land a blow on the Douglas Motorsport man to complete the podium in third.
Sassakorn Chaimongkol backed up his improving mid-season form to take fourth ahead of Kaylen Frederick, with Manuel Maldonado and Ulysse De Pauw next ahead of Double R’s leading driver Neil Verhagen.
Ayrton Simmons failed to climb from 11th as he came home behind Lucas Petersson and Benjamin Pedersen, while Hampus Ericsson’s three overtakes on the first lap to climb to twelfth accounted for three-quarters of the overtaking action during a tense opening race of the weekend.
Ericsson should have started last after an off in qualifying, but Pavan Ravishankar started from the back after ignoring red flags in qualifying.
Hoggard, who earlier took a commanding pole position in Saturday morning qualifying, cleared off early in the race as Jewiss was left to fend off Novalak and the improving Chaimongkol.
Chaimongkol had to keep the fast-starting Frederick behind him at Paddock Hill bend on the opening lap, but once the American was dealt with the Thai driver was seldom troubled as the meat in what was to be a Carlin Motorsport sandwich.
Hoggard got his lead up to 2.5s midway through the race, before the tide began to turn for Jewiss, who until this point had had a frustrating season for Douglas Motorsport.
Second was to be as good as it got for Jewiss, who still took him his best result of the season.
Meanwhile it was a desperate Saturday for Ayrton Simmons, whose championship aspirations took a major blow. A finish of 11th after a disappointing qualifying has left the Chris Dittman Racing driver with a mountain to climb over the next eight rounds.