STRONG SHOWING FROM OWEN AND WORM AT SNETTERTON 300 CIRCUIT
First year BRDC British Formula 3 Championship racer Chase Owen underlined the Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing squad’s podium potential at Snetterton in Norfolk over the weekend, 26th/27th August, after delivering top three race pace and a best result of sixth position in round 21.
Lapping very strongly in pre-event testing for the penultimate race meeting of the 2017 season, the ever-improving American driver bounced back from unfortunate dramas in race one to carve his way into ninth in the second contest, before then delivering a competitive top six finish in race three.
German youngster Nick Worm, who is contesting his maiden season of car racing at any level this year, performed well across the event with race two the particular highlight. Displaying great skill and maturity to keep British F3 podium regular James Pull at bay, Worm managed to see off his more experienced rival to claim a richly deserved top 12 best.
“It’s not been a bad weekend at all and it showed the package is there, Chase and Nick both produced some very good pace”, said Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing team principal Richard Ollerenshaw, “I genuinely believe without the small moment on the first lap of race three, Chase could have challenged [Callan] O’Keeffe for fourth and maybe even pressed on for the podium.
“In testing Chase had incredible pace again and qualifying was OK. He performed well, came through strongly and race three was very good – especially third fastest lap.”
Ollerenshaw added: “We’re very happy with Nick’s performances, he started off working on some specific areas in testing and then delivered some very good drives. He got involved with the cars around him, raced well and worked hard. To keep a driver of [James] Pull’s quality behind in race two was exceptional. We’re starting to see the fruits of the hard work we’ve all been putting in.”
Having impressed during pre-event testing with superb pace, Owen went on to secure eighth on the grid for race one of the weekend on a damp but drying track in qualifying – missing out on the front row of the grid by less than 0.4 seconds.
Looking well placed to challenge for another consistent points finish in the opening encounter on Saturday, he held position on the first lap but unfortunate contact to his right-rear at the start affected the handling of Owen’s car for the remainder of the encounter, dropping him to 14th place.
Worm, who lined-up for round 19 on the eighth row of the grid in 15th position, profited from Owen’s dramas and having already gained two places on a strong first lap the German rookie climbed into the top 12 at the expense of his team-mate.
Determined to recover as much lost ground as possible, Owen moved back ahead of the sister Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing car by lap six. The next time around, though, at the Bomb Hole, his car pitched into a spin after glancing the kerbs when trying to pass an unsettled Omar Ismail.
Worm, therefore, found himself back in the top 12 and while Owen did recover some ground again before the conclusion the German managed to stay ahead at the chequered flag on lap 10 by 0.3 seconds, with Owen crossing the line just behind in 13th after a very eventful outing.
Lining-up for round 20 at a bright and sunny Snetterton on Sunday morning in their finishing positions from the day before, Owen had the best of the first lap to scythe his way through from 13th on the grid into ninth as Worm also made gains to move up into 11th position.
Absolutely glued to the rear of Ismail’s car pretty much race-long, Owen searched for a way past but ultimately had to settle for ninth position with overtaking proving to be at a real premium. Notably, he also set a best lap time good enough to secure fifth on the grid for the weekend’s final race.
Worm held 11th place until lap four when he was shuffled back a spot but throughout the second half of the race he maintained position impressively – notably staying ahead of British F3 podium regular James Pull – to end the encounter little more than two seconds shy of the coveted top 10.
From fifth on the grid in Sunday’s finale, Owen unfortunately slipped to sixth on the first lap and then spent the remainder of the encounter circulating close behind category race winner Krishnaraaj Mahadik. Taking the chequered flag on lap 10 just 0.3 seconds shy of his rival, Owen impressed with the third fastest race lap to underline the true competitiveness of the Hillspeed package.
Team-mate Worm started in 13th position and aimed to build on the excellent showing delivered in the earlier contest. Unfortunately slipping back a place on lap one, Worm recovered into 13th spot the next time around following a mistake by Ismail and remained there to the chequered flag.
All attention now turns towards the BRDC British F3 season finale which will take place at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit over the weekend 23rd/24th September, where the category will return to its regular slot on the British GT Championship package.
2017 BRDC British F3 Driver Standings
7th Chase Owen, 246pts; 14th Nick Worm, 159pts