Consistent Scoring Lifts Owens To Edge Of Championship Top 10

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Raoul Owens produced a pair of determined and ultimately successful race drives at Rockingham on Sunday, 20th May, to round-out the second weekend of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC season an improved 11th overall in the championship standings.

I’m kind of disappointed with the weekend but happy at the same time. I know we had the dry weather pace to be in the top five in the races but starting so far back, especially in race two, always makes things so much more difficult in single seaters.

Raoul Owens produced a pair of determined and ultimately successful race drives at Rockingham on Sunday, 20th May, to round-out the second weekend of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC season an improved 11th overall in the championship standings.

Posting a 12th place finish in round four and 11th position result in round five, the latter coming off the back of an impressive drive through the order from an uncharacteristic 18th on the grid, the Antel Motorsport racer almost matched his career-best top 10 which was achieved at Snetterton in April.

“I’m kind of disappointed with the weekend but happy at the same time”, said Raoul, “I know we had the dry weather pace to be in the top five in the races but starting so far back, especially in race two, always makes things so much more difficult in single-seaters.”

The 17-year-old, originally from Pembury in Kent but now residing in Cape Town, South Africa, qualified in 13th place for the opening encounter during the first rain-affected run on Saturday, 19th May, and that was something of an achievement in itself with four stoppages blighting the session.

During the damp round five qualifying period, which was also affected by red flags, Raoul was 18th on the timesheets out of the 28 drivers involved and so faced a very tall order in Sunday’s races. The good news though was drier weather for day two at the 1.94-mile Northamptonshire track.

Gaining two places on the opening lap of round four, the Bright Spark Ventures-backed driver held 11th comfortably but was pushed back a spot by erstwhile championship leader Josh Webster on lap three. Debris on the track at mid-distance resulted in the appearance of the Safety Car for a couple of laps but after the re-start on lap four, Raoul was bundled down to 15th in the compacted midfield.

Determined to regain some of the lost ground, he moved back to 13th on lap 15 and gained one more place on the final lap to end the encounter just 0.9 seconds behind American driver Trent Hindman. With Hindman ineligible to score though, Raoul grabbed the points for 11th position.

Round five was certainly the best track session of the weekend for the second year racer and his pace was particularly strong, setting a quickest race lap of 1m19.034 seconds which was fractionally quicker than the best managed by third place podium finisher James Fletcher.

Making a clean start to the race and holding 18th position, Raoul made steady progress into the top 15 by lap four and was up into 13th before a multi-car tangle at Deene Hairpin on the penultimate lap of the race. Threading his way through the chaos neatly, he avoided any issues and moved into 11th where he remained to the flag, just 0.1 seconds shy of the top 10 but with the points for 10th place.

“I’m happy I came up through the order fairly well, I got a good start in both races and we’ve scored quite well again which is important”, he commented, “Qualifying was obviously a mess with all of the red flags, it was hard to get in a lap at all. I know if we have a fully dry weekend, we should be able to get up there and try and fight for some podiums – our dry pace here was good.

“Last year there was no wet weather at all, there wasn’t even one wet session I don’t think, so I’ve got very little experience in the wet and that cost us again this weekend. I’m trying to learn in the season itself and you don’t really want to be learning in qualifying! It’s been hard trying to get my head around that but I’m getting there, I’m working really hard to try and get the technique right.”

Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire, the fastest track on the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship calendar, will host rounds six and seven of the 2012 season on Sunday, 17th June.

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