OWEN RETAINS TOP EIGHT IN BRITISH F3 CHAMPIONSHIP AT SNETTERTON
- American Chase Owen takes best of P9 in Rds7&8 at Snetterton
- German rookie Nick Worm continues progress with P11 in Rd8
- Silverstone next for Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing
First year BRDC British Formula 3 Championship competitor Chase Owen maintained a top eight placing in the driver standings at Snetterton over the weekend, 27th/28th May, for Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing following rounds seven, eight and nine of the season.
Securing a pair of ninth place finishes in the opening two contests, the American went on to finish in 13th position during the final encounter on Sunday afternoon. German team-mate Nick Worm, in his first season of car racing at any level, made great strides once again with his pace and racecraft and took a best result of 11th position in round eight – he ended the event 12th in the championship.
“Three points finishes for Chase this weekend keeps him inside the championship top eight and we’re now looking forward to Silverstone”, said team principal Richard Ollerenshaw, “We were very strong in testing on Thursday and Friday with top six pace, so we know the potential is definitely there for more.
“Nick is continuing to make very good progress and he’s consistently closing the gap to the drivers who have more experience. He’s going from strength to strength and really did race very well this weekend.”
Owen went into qualifying looking very competitive after lapping sixth fastest overall on combined times, just 0.5 seconds shy of the outright pace, during officially timed testing on Thursday and then backing that performance up with the seventh quickest lap on Friday.
Rain just prior to the grid determining session on Saturday ensured a less than predictable run on a wet-but-drying track and Owen concluded the period 12th fastest while team-mate Worm, who made good progress in testing, went on to qualify with the 16th quickest time.
More was certainly possible for Owen in qualifying but his last two laps were spoiled by catching slower cars. Having posted personal best times in the first two sectors on each of those laps, Owen then missed out on a final chance at challenging for a higher grid slot when he was the second car to take the chequered flag while the bulk of the entry had the benefit of one more lap.
For round seven later in the day, taking place in bright and dry conditions, Owen maintained his placing just outside the top 10 until lap eight when an incident involving two rivals enabled him to leap up into 10th position.
Two laps later, he then climbed into ninth where he stayed to the flag with a best lap of the race, 1m46.761 seconds, a match for top five performance. Frustratingly, eighth would have given him pole position on the partially reversed grid for race two…
In the sister Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing car, Worm concluded the opening lap in 14th place and then moved up another position on lap two prior to the appearance of the Safety Car which stayed on track until the end of lap five.
When racing resumed, Worm remained in 13th position before breaking into the top 12 on the eighth tour. Slipping back a spot the next time around, he went on to end the race in 13th place a mere 0.2 seconds shy of Manuel Maldonado on the sprint to the flag.
For the first of Sunday’s two encounters, the team-mates lined-up in their finishing positions from the previous contest and while Owen was edged back to 10th place on the opening tour Worm was able to move up a spot after a rival pitted at the end of the formation lap.
An issue for James Pull elevated Owen into ninth on lap two and the American then had to concentrate on his mirrors with Guilherme Samaia mounting a strong challenge. Lapping well, Owen managed to see off the Brazilian.
Worm began another battle with race one sparring partner Maldonado, the cousin of ex-Formula One racer and Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado, and he moved ahead of the Venezuelan on lap three while also taking 13th place due to Pull’s problems.
Maldonado managed to get back ahead in the see-saw contest on the fifth tour but Worm wasn’t done. As both drivers moved up the order following incidents for a couple of others, the German rookie ran in the top 12 going into the final lap which then became 11th place following retirement for Maldonado.
Round nine started with Owen 14th on the grid and Worm just behind and the pair concluded lap one in 15th and 16th respectively. Worm managed to get ahead of his team-mate on lap three, but Owen hit back two laps later. Retirement for Samaia on lap six and a slip to the tail of the field for Jeremy Wahome on lap seven elevated the Hillspeed drivers into 13th and 14th before the finish.
Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit in Northamptonshire will host rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the British F3 season over the weekend 10th/11th June.
2017 BRDC British F3 Driver Standings
8th Chase Owen, 95pts; 12th Nick Worm, 64pts