SENSATIONAL MAIDEN BRITISH F3 PODIUM FOR OWEN DURING DONINGTON PARK GP SEASON FINALE
Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing celebrated a very successful conclusion to the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship season at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, 24th September, with Chase Owen securing the squad’s first podium silverware of the year.
Marking the American driver’s first rostrum visit of his maiden season in F3 competition, second place in the penultimate race of the campaign on Sunday morning at the Hathersage team’s ‘home’ track was a richly deserved result.
Delivering searing pace all weekend, Owen was quick throughout testing at the East Midlands circuit on Thursday, 21st September, and went on to deliver his most competitive qualifying performance of the year on Saturday, 23rd September, with the third fastest time – just 0.3 seconds shy of pole.
Going on to finish sixth in the opening encounter, Owen proved his and the car’s pace with the fastest lap in round 22 and he set the fourth fastest time in round 23 on his way to the runner-up spot. Then, in round 24, he posted the third quickest lap en-route to another top six and a final championship placing of seventh position.
“Finishing the championship on the podium is absolutely fantastic and the ideal way for the team to head into the post-season”, said team principal Richard Ollerenshaw, “Chase was very quick all weekend, the car was working well and, realistically, the chance was there to take two, maybe even three podiums – we had the pace for that.
“It’s obviously great to end the year so positively, Chase has developed exceptionally well in F3 and especially during the second half of the season where we’ve been there or thereabouts. Sometimes we just haven’t had the rub of the luck this year, but that’s how it often works in motor racing!”
Owen was Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing’s sole representative for the race weekend, due to team-mate Nick Worm missing the championship finale as a result of schooling commitments back home in Germany.
Rapid from the outset in testing, Owen was in sparkling form and topped the times for the bulk of the opening session before being pipped to the fastest lap by a mere 0.088 seconds. Following a damp second session, in which he was seventh quickest, the third and fourth runs were both wet and Owen was 10th and then fourth fastest respectively.
Following a day away from track action on Friday, Owen starred in qualifying with the third best time but at the start of race one he was leap-frogged off the line by a fast-starting Cameron Das and then edged further back to sixth where he stayed for the duration. It was certainly a case of what might have been, though, with Owen posting the fastest lap of 1m25.466 seconds (104.77mph).
Beginning round 23 on Sunday morning from third on the grid, the top eight finishers from race one reversed, Owen slipped to fourth on the run to Redgate but remained well in touch with the lead trio. Staying tight in the wheeltracks of the third placed car, Owen was less than half a second shy of the podium as the race reached mid-distance and the lead quartet closed up.
Only 0.395 seconds adrift into lap nine, the Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing driver continued to apply huge pressure as the laps counted down and on the 12th and final tour a dramatic incident involving the top two cars enabled Owen to move up into third at Redgate and then second at the Old Hairpin.
Beginning the final race of the season, round 24, from third on the grid thanks to his best lap time from the weekend’s opening encounter, Owen didn’t make the start he wanted and was shuffled back to seventh as a result.
Holding position for the first half of the race, when Das encountered troubles on lap nine Owen moved up into sixth place and circulated with pace good enough for the podium – only 0.2 seconds shy of the fastest lap of the contest. Remaining sixth to the flag on lap 12, he concluded his first season of British F3 competition just half a second shy of fifth placed James Pull.
With the British F3 season now complete, the team’s focus turns swiftly to 2018 and its upcoming winter testing programme across Europe.
Drivers interested in acquiring further information are invited to contact Richard Ollerenshaw on 07966 650400 or email [email protected]
Final 2017 BRDC British F3 Driver Standings
7th Chase Owen, 302pts; 15th Nick Worm, 159pts