Jump-Start Penalty Costs Chaimongkol Top Five Championship Placing At Oulton
Hillspeed racing driver Sasakorn ‘Cutter’ Chaimongkol departed Oulton Park International Circuit on Easter Monday, 22nd April, tied on points for eighth in the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship standings following an action-packed start to the 2019 season.
Despite being forced to miss two of the three pre-event test days at the Cheshire venue, the Thai youngster lapped just 0.4 seconds shy of front row pace in qualifying and retained realistic hopes of challenging for the podium on the opening weekend of the new campaign.
Ultimately having to settle for a best result of fifth place from round one on Saturday, 20th April, Chaimongkol was set for another top five in round two on Bank Holiday Monday until an unfortunate jump-start penalty dropped him to 13th on corrected times. In the third and final race, the Hillspeed driver finished seventh to cap a strong and consistent start to the championship.
“Cutter raced very strongly this weekend and did a very good job considering we were hampered after having to miss two of the three test days”, said Richard Ollerenshaw, team principal of the Hathersage squad, “Our overall performance was impacted but, with that in mind, we certainly got everything we could from the weekend after starting out on the back-foot as we did.
“We should have qualified in the top four really, but race one was a good, solid performance and Cutter used his head and did well. Race two was very unfortunate, the front wing on the car was fractionally over the white line in his grid box when the race started so the penalty came – which we don’t disagree with, it’s just unfortunate.”
Ollerenshaw added: “In race three he did another good job, raced very well and fought strongly. It’s frustrating to have missed out on another top five in the second race, as the points we lost would have put Cutter fifth in the championship, but there’s a long way to go and this is a strong start.”
Chaimongkol delivers good competitiveness and consistency at Oulton
Although missing two of the three test days, Chaimongkol still performed well during the practice sessions on Good Friday, 19th April. During the third outing he was second fastest and just 0.007 seconds away from the top of the times, in the fourth run he was only 0.2 seconds shy of the pace.
In qualifying on Saturday morning the Thai posted the eighth fastest time and at the beginning of round one later in the day, he quickly climbed into seventh at the expense of British F4 Champion Kiern Jewiss.
Following an incident at the tail of the field on the second tour, the Safety Car was deployed for several laps with a re-start coming on the sixth tour. Chaimongkol ran closely behind Neil Verhagen as the action got back underway and the next time around, on lap seven, the Hillspeed driver was able to leap into fifth place after Verhagen and Kaylen Frederick tangled.
Into the final third of the race Chaimongkol made his presence felt to fourth placed Ulysse Pauw and at the chequered flag, on lap 11, he crossed the line just 0.7 seconds adrift of the Belgian to ensure fifth spot and a strong start to the championship.
For the first of Easter Monday’s two races, Chaimongkol lined-up ninth on the ‘reverse’ grid and after a rapid launch he climbed into the top six mid-lap after squeezing past an incident at Shell Oils Hairpin, involving Hampus Ericsson and Kris Wright.
Unfortunately for the Hillspeed driver, though, officials declared he made a false start and so received a 10 second penalty. Pushing on to limit the damage as much as possible, he swarmed all over the rear of Josh Mason’s car lap after lap and made the breakthrough on the ninth tour.
Producing a sensational pass around the outside at Knickerbrook, the Thai moved up into fifth and immediately pulled away to confirm his speed before taking the chequered flag on lap 13 some four seconds clear of Mason. With the application of the penalty, though, he ended the race 13th.
Beginning round three from eighth on the grid, Chaimongkol moved up into seventh place on the run down The Avenue on the opening lap but on the third tour he was edged back again to eighth by Manuel Maldonado.
Determined to hit back, the Hillspeed racer did everything he possibly could to pressurise the Venezuelan and lap after lap he searched for a way back past. As the race entered its final third, Chaimongkol also had to be mindful of the threat from behind but he stayed focused on Maldonado and after swarming all over him for the final couple of laps he managed to get ahead.
Running right under the rear wing of his rival’s car, the youngster turned up the pressure into Hislop’s Chicane and successfully completed his pass for seventh into Knickerbrook to seal yet more vital championship points at this early stage of the season.
Snetterton 300 Circuit in Norfolk will host rounds four, five and six of the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship over the weekend 18th/19th May.
2019 British F3 Championship Standings (after Rd3)
=8th Sasakorn Chaimongkol & Kaylen Frederick, 37pts