S F4 Champion produced a brilliant lap to top qualifying but barrier damage caused during a support race forces postponement of 2017 opening race until Monday
Carlin’s Cameron Das stormed to the opening BRDC British Formula 3 pole position of the 2017 season at Oulton Park today (Saturday 15 April), but the scheduled first race of the year was postponed due to barrier damage caused during a support race and will now be run on Bank Holiday Monday (17 April).
The decision was jointly taken by the MSA Steward of the meeting and David Scott, the BRDC British Formula 3 Clerk of the Course.
Scott said: “In the MINI Challenge qualifying, a car left the circuit at Island Bend, causing significant damage to the barrier. Whilst the barrier was repaired by circuit staff satisfactorily for closed wheel racing to continue, it was considered unsuitable for single-seaters. The view was supported by the MSA Steward.”
A revised timetable for Monday has been issued, with race one now taking place at 09:55, with the partially reversed grid race two beginning at 14:30. The third and final race of the weekend gets underway at 17:35, creating a ‘Super Monday’ to kick off the 2017 season.
A sunny Oulton Park greeted the 2017 BRDC British Formula 3 field ahead of the 30-minute qualifying session, which would turn out to be the only British F3 action of the day. As the pit lane opened, a number of drivers remained behind to save their Pirelli tyres and to find ideal track conditions. Toby Sowery meanwhile took to the circuit immediately and began setting overall best sectors as he set the pace at the midway point with a lap time of 1m30.954s. Ben Hingeley was second quickest at that stage for Fortec Motorsports whilst James Pull appeared in third.
Enaam Ahmed, who had delayed his appearance on track for a number of minutes, soon moved ahead of Sowery with a 1m30.711s. Sowery, a five-time race winner in British F3 last year, struck back immediately however and lowered the benchmark by 0.026s to reclaim provisional pole position.
He wouldn’t remain at the head of the field for long though as 17-year-old Das lapped the 2.69-mile layout just 0.005s slower than Sowery, but subsequently went 0.228s quicker than the rest of the field on his next lap with a 1m30.457s to top the timing screens.
With five minutes remaining, the drivers regrouped and aimed to improve their times but yellow flags in sector two hindered progress, with Aaron di Comberti, Manuel Maldonado and Nicolai Kjaergaard all coming to grief in separate incidents. No improvements were forthcoming and as the chequered flag flew, it was Das who claimed the opening pole position of the 2017 BRDC British F3 season, ahead of Sowery, Ahmed and Hingeley.
Fifth place went to James Pull with Harry Hayek sixth and Omar Ismail seventh. Petru Florescu finished eighth quickest for Douglas Motorsport with Jamie Chadwick ninth and Jeremy Wahome rounding out the top-10.
The drivers were getting ready to resume action before the aforementioned barrier damage was caused, forcing the rescheduling of the race.
BRDC British Formula 3 – Oulton Park – Qualifying Top-10
1. Cameron Das, Carlin, 1m30.457s
2. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, +0.228s
3. Enaam Ahmed, Carlin, +0.254s
4. Ben Hingeley, Fortec Motorsports, +0.281s
5. James Pull, Carlin, +0.435s
6. Harry Hayek, Double R Racing, +0.448s
7. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, +0.798s
8. Petru Florescu, Douglas Motorsport, +0.864s
9. Jamie Chadwick, Double R Racing, +0.904s
10. Jeremy Wahome, Chris Dittmann Racing, +0.991s
Revised Monday timetable
Race One: 09:55
Race Two: 14:30
Race Three: 17:35