SEASON BEST TOP FOUR FOR BRITISH F3 RACER OWEN AT SILVERSTONE
- Chase Owen impresses at Silverstone GP with P4 in Rd12
- Strong fightback for American racer after Rd10 retirement
- Nick Worm takes best of P13 on consistent Silverstone weekend
- Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing happy with duo’s progress
Chase Owen celebrated an excellent season-best top four finish for Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, 11th June, during round 12 of the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship.
Marking the halfway point of the 2017 season, the last of the weekend’s encounters was the undoubted highlight of the event for the American driver and the team as a whole with a fine performance to finish just outside the podium, having started sixth on the grid.
Although things didn’t begin brilliantly for Owen in race one on Saturday, 10th June, after contact on lap one resulted in immediate retirement, he carved his way through from the back of the grid in the first of Sunday’s two contests to finish ninth and also set the sixth fastest race lap – securing the crucial row three start for the finale which he converted into a top four result.
In the sister Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing car, German rookie Nick Worm chalked-up three consistent race finishes with a best result of 13th position in the opening encounter on Saturday afternoon and two other top 14 finishes for the Hathersage-based squad.
“Chase did a good job in races two and three, his pace was very strong and ending the event with his best result so far is very positive”, said team principal Richard Ollerenshaw, “It wasn’t the best start in qualifying, and the race one accident impacted race two, but we’re very happy with fourth in the final race which confirms the potential.
“This weekend marked the first time Nick has visited such a high-speed GP circuit, it was daunting at first considering his lack of experience but he chipped away all weekend and was very pleased with what he came away with. In the final race, it was great to see him battling well with quicker drivers.”
Owen qualified inside the top 12 for round 10 but his involvement only lasted a few corners after contact in the pack. Team-mate Worm, meanwhile, who began the race 16th on the grid, was able to profit from the first lap dramas for Owen and a couple of other rivals to climb into 13th where he remained to the chequered flag on lap 10.
In round 11 on Sunday, Owen made an excellent start and moved up into the battle over 13th place before concluding lap one in 14th position. Climbing into the top 12 on lap two, Owen piled pressure on to Aaron Di Comberti and on lap four he produced a great move to take 11th place.
Next targeting the top 10, he sized-up a pass on Jamie Chadwick on lap six and successfully got ahead, staying there to the flag. As a result of a penalty for Brazil’s Guilherme Samaia though, Owen was elevated into ninth in the final classification.
Notably his quickest lap of the race, 1m57.887 seconds, was only 0.1 seconds shy of the fastest produced by race winner Ben Hingeley and translated to sixth on the grid for the final race of the weekend on Sunday afternoon.
German youngster Worm started race two in 13th position and although edged back a couple of places on the opening lap, he moved into 14th after getting past Nicolai Kjaergaard before the Danish racer pitted with front wing damage. Within 0.5 seconds of Omar Ismail into lap six, Worm wasn’t quite able to stay with his rival and went on to maintain 14th to the finish on lap 10.
Round 12 delivered a true grandstand conclusion to the weekend for the team with Owen displaying strong pace again throughout. Making a good start from sixth place, he ran close behind the top five and when two cars ahead tangled at Luffield at the end of the first lap the American duly swept past to claim fourth place.
Just 0.5 seconds outside the podium placings into lap two, Owen consolidated fourth position and smartly saw off the attentions of Cameron Das during the second half of the race to cap a fantastic result. Owen’s best lap of 1m58.747 seconds was just 0.2 seconds shy of top two pace.
From 16th on the grid, Worm moved up into the top 15 after the Luffield incident and then took 14th place on lap two when Chadwick sustained a puncture. Initially staying with the trio of cars immediately ahead, Worm raced well and went on to finish in 14th to cap another strong showing.
British F3 now heads into a four-week break with the second half of the 2017 season getting underway on Friday, 7th July, and Saturday, 8th July, at the world-famous home of the Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps.
2017 BRDC British F3 Driver Standings
=7th Chase Owen & Omar Ismail, 128pts;
16th Nick Worm, 86pts