Pedersen goes light to flag at barber Motorsport park in F3 Americas Season Debut

Benjamin Pedersen, Dakota Dickerson and Jacob Abel open season with podium finish

The 16-turn, 2.38-mile scenic Barber Motorsports Park set the perfect stage for the F3 Americas Championship Powered by Honda season opener on Saturday, supporting the NTT IndyCar Series during the 10th anniversary of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

Designed as the next step in the Honda open-wheel championship progression from Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda, 13 JS F3 cars lined-up for the first F1-style standing start of the season with series sophomore Benjamin Pedersen of Copenhagen, Denmark, claiming the checkered after a race-long battle with his Global Racing Group teammate Dakota Dickerson of San Diego, who took second. Returning team champions Abel Motorsports lead driver Jacob Abel of Louisville, Kentucky, wheeled the No. 51 Abel Construction car into an uncontested third-place finish to complete the second season debut podium.

“It was a very exciting race against Dakota. We were neck and neck the entire race until the final lap,” Pedersen said. “It’s great to get the first win of the season for Global Racing Group. We wanted to come out strong, and taking one-two in the opening round is a testament to how great the GRG program is.”

Starting on pole after stealing the fastest time in the final minutes of qualifying, Pedersen shared the front row with series rookie Mathias Soler-Obel of Bogota, Colombia. Dickerson and Abel lined-up in Row 2. As the lights went out, Soler-Obel stalled on the start, allowing Dickerson and Abel to immediately jump into position.  

After a great start earning position entering Turn 1, Momentum Motorsports driver Shea Holbrook’s race ended early in Lap 3 following a minor miscalculation entering Turn 5 sent her into the retention wall.  

“It’s definitely a different feeling dealing with the turbulent air over cars. The minor mistake unfortunately caused us to retire the car,” said Holbrook, who was selected for the inaugural full female W Series team in Europe. “We’ve made great progress with the No. 67 Lucas Oil car after taking delivery of it trackside on Wednesday. We are looking forward to making even more progress in Sunday’s race.”

On the restart, Pedersen and Dickerson started to pull away from Abel, building nearly a 15 second gap from the third-place driver. The pair of bright orange Global Racing Group drivers raced wheel-to-wheel the entire 30-minute session until the penultimate lap. Putting the pressure on Pedersen in Turns 12 and 13, Dickerson punched down the throttle of his No. 72 Stress Engineering Global Racing Group Car. The full 303 horsepower of his Honda engine came to as Dickerson entered Turn 16. Attempting to pass in the turn, the car got loose, sending Dickerson off-track. The reigning F4 U.S. champion quickly recovered and still finished the race nearly seven seconds ahead of Abel.

Pedersen, who is just filling in for the team this event after his teammate Blake Upton suffered a minor injury during a test a few days prior to the race, took the checkered more than seven seconds before Dickerson.

“I tried to get around Benjamin throughout the race, but he didn’t make any mistakes,” said Dickerson. “A lot of this race was me learning how to deal with the aerowash. Jumping from the F4 to the F3 car, there’s some differences in the Ligier JS F3 aero package. So it was a huge learning curve. All in all it was a good race and great for Global Racing Group to get the first two spots on the podium. We are happy with the results.”

James Roe Jr. of Country Klidare, Ireland and Baltazar Leguizamon of Buenos Aires, Argentina, completed the top-five with Logan Cusson, Masters Cup driver Dominic Cicero, John Paul Southern Jr., Kent Vaccaro and Parker Locke rounding out the points positions. 

Dickerson set fastest time in the session which earned him pole-position for Round 2 on Sunday’s 30-minute race finale before the NTT IndyCars take the track.

“From the elevation changes to the unique art pieces and the museum, Barber Motorsports Park truly is a very special track,” Jacob Abel said. “Racing at a high-profile event with IndyCar brings in an enormous amount of fans so it’s always nice to see them around the grounds cheering us on throughout the event.”

Dickerson set fastest time in the session which earned him pole-position for Round 2 on Sunday’s 30-minute race finale before the NTT IndyCars take the track. For full results, team and driver information, visit F3Americas.com.

Official Results for Round 1

FN

ST

Car

 

 

PO

PO

NO

Name/Hometown                                             Sponsor                                PTS   Laps      Gap

Fast Lap

1

1

24

Benjamin Pedersen/Copenhagen DNK Dirtfish / Bell Helmets / Heart of Racing                      25       20 -

1:22.379

2

3

72

Dakota Dickerson (R)/San Diego Calif.   Belterra Eye Care / RoxBalden / Bell Helmets / Stre     18       20 7.258

1:21.904

3

4

51

Jacob Abel/Louisville Ky.                     Abel Construction                                                      15       20 13.697

1:22.849

4

5

95

James Roe Jr. (R)/CountyKildare IRL     CJJ Motorsports                                                         12       20 20.936

1:23.113

5

6

9

Baltazar Leguizamon/Buenos Aires ARGMotorola                                                                   10       20 21.303

1:23.270

6

7

99

Logan Cusson (R)/Port Hope CAN         Echelon Wealth Partners / Peerage Capital                   8       20 26.090

1:23.346

7

8

25

Dominic Cicero (M)/Portland Ore.       Russak Foods / The Thermal Club                                  6       20 27.840

1:23.299

8

12

61

John Paul Southern Jr./Westlake Ohio Southern Motorsports                                                 4       20 34.514

1:23.633

9

9

16

Kent Vaccaro (R)/Plattsburgh N.Y.         Adirondack Radiation Therapy                                     2       20 35.381

1:22.886

10

10

5

Parker Locke/San Antonio Texas           Velocity Racing Development                                      1       20 45.718

1:23.769

NC

2

14

Mathias Soler Obel (R)/Bogota COL      Equidem Management                                                          17 3 Laps

1:22.926

NC

13

34

Austin Kaszuba (R)/Burleson Texas        Kiwi Motorsport / Better Human App / Gunk / Liquid Wre      16 4 Laps

1:25.158

NC

11

67

Shea Holbrook (R)/Jacksonville Fla.      Lucas Oil                                                                                  1 19 Laps

1:29.512

 

Grid for Round 2

 

PO

Car

NO

 

Name/Hometown

 

Sponsor

Best

Time

 

Diff

1

72

Dakota Dickerson (R)/San Diego Calif.

Belterra Eye Care / RoxBalden / Bell Helmets / Stress

1:21.904

-

2

24

Benjamin Pedersen/Copenhagen DNK

Dirtfish / Bell Helmets / Heart of Racing

1:22.379

0.475

3

51

Jacob Abel/Louisville Ky.

Abel Construction

1:22.849

0.945

4

16

Kent Vaccaro (R)/Plattsburgh N.Y.

Adirondack Radiation Therapy

1:22.886

0.982

5

14

Mathias Soler Obel (R)/Bogota COL

Equidem Management

1:22.926

1.022

6

95

James Roe Jr. (R)/CountyKildare IRL

CJJ Motorsports

1:23.113

1.209

7

9

Baltazar Leguizamon/Buenos Aires ARG

Motorola

1:23.270

1.366

8

25

Dominic Cicero (M)/Portland Ore.

Russak Foods / The Thermal Club

1:23.299

1.395

9

99

Logan Cusson (R)/Port Hope CAN

Echelon Wealth Partners / Peerage Capital

1:23.346

1.442

10

61

John Paul Southern Jr./Westlake Ohio

Southern Motorsports

1:23.633

1.729

11

5

Parker Locke/San Antonio Texas

Velocity Racing Development

1:23.769

1.865

12

34

Austin Kaszuba (R)/Burleson Texas

Kiwi Motorsport / Better Human App / Gunk / Liquid

1:25.158

3.254

13

67

Shea Holbrook (R)/Jacksonville Fla.

Lucas Oil

1:29.512

7.608

 

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