Carlin’s Enaam Ahmed claimed the opening win of the 2017 BRDC British Formula 3 season after sustained pressure on long-time leader Toby Sowery finally told as he swept inside the Lanan Racing man into Cascades three laps from home.
In a dramatic conclusion to the race, Sowery ran wide into the gravel as Ahmed took the lead, with team-mate James Pull following him through into second. Sowery recovered to round out the podium in third.
After Saturday’s race one was forced into a Monday rescheduling owing to barrier damage at the Cheshire track, the drivers returned on Bank Holiday set for a busy day of racing with all three encounters across the day. Reigning US Formula 4 Champion Cameron Das lined up on pole position in the wet conditions for race one but as the lights went out, the Carlin man was slow away, enabling his fellow front-row starter Sowery to take the lead into Old Hall.
Das’ team-mates Ahmed and Pull also moved ahead of the American along with Fortec Motorsports’ Ben Hingeley, relegating the 17-year-old to fifth. The rest of the field filtered through the first few corners without incident with Douglas Motorsport’s Callan O’Keeffe and Chris Dittmann Racing’s Tristan Charpentier the big movers as they jumped up to ninth and 11th positions respectively, from grid spots of 12th and 16th.
The top-three of Ahmed, Pull and Sowery began to break clear of the rest of the field as Das desperately tried to find a way past Hingeley in fourth. The Fortec man defended his position with panache though to frustrate the Carlin car’s ambitions of regaining ground that he had lost at the start.
Further back, South African O’Keeffe’s forward progress continued as he moved into the top-eight before pulling off a lovely move into Old Hall to take seventh off of Chris Dittmann Racing’s Omar Ismail.
Back at the front, Ahmed had reduced Sowery’s lead to less than half-a-second and was right on the back of the Lanan Racing car’s gearbox as they started lap nine. The 17-year-old dived down the inside into Old Hall but Sowery saw the move coming and switched back down the inside on the run to Dentons. Ahmed held the inside line for the left at Cascades and as Sowery attempted to stay with him, he ran wide and into the gravel. Ahmed and Pull both went through but Sowery was able to skate through the kitty litter and rejoin the tarmac just ahead of the squabbling Hingeley and Das in fourth and fifth.
The field saw out the final laps without incident and it was Enaam Ahmed who started his year in the best possible fashion by claiming the maximum 35 points in the first race of the season. Pull and Sowery joined him on the podium with Hingeley and Das completing the top-five. Harry Hayek was sixth for Double R Racing ahead of the hard-charging O’Keeffe in seventh and Ismail in eighth, who will start the partially reversed-grid race two from pole. The top-10 was completed by Romanian Petru Florescu and Frenchman Tristan Charpentier.
Race two of the day begins at 14:30 with Ismail on pole position and O’Keeffe starting alongside on the front-row.
BRDC British Formula 3 – Oulton Park – Race One
1. Enaam Ahmed, Carlin, 11 Laps
2. James Pull, Carlin, +2.897s
3. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, +12.639s
4. Ben Hingeley, Fortec Motorsports, +14.063s
5. Cameron Das, Carlin, +14.695s
6. Harry Hayek, Double R Racing, +19.051s
7. Callan O’Keeffe, Douglas Motorsport, +19.979s
8. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, +27.257s
9. Petru Florescu, Douglas Motorsport, +29.251s
10. Tristan Charpentier, Chris Dittmann Racing, +31.573s
11. Jamie Chadwick, Double R Racing, +33.069s
12. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Fortec Motorsports, +33.623s
13. Guilherme Samaia, Double R Racing, +34.197s
14. Chase Owen, Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing, +35.205s
15. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +36.540s
16. Jeremy Wahome, Chris Dittmann Racing, +48.546s
17. Nick Worm, Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing, +1m06.586s
18. Aaron di Comberti, Lanan Racing, +1 Lap
22 January 2018 - Donington to host British F3 and GT Media Day on Thursday 8 March
18 January 2018 - George Russell graduates to F2 with ART GP
12 January 2018 - Kush Maini to race in BRDC British F3 with Lanan Racing in 2018
11 January 2018 - Stratton Motorsport joins BRDC British F3 from 2018
11 January 2018 - BRDC British F3 drivers to be eligible for Sunoco Whelen Challenge prize