Mechanical Issues Ruin Donington Hopes For Owens

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Cape Town-based British racing driver Raoul Owens endured a character-building event at Donington Park in the East Midlands over the weekend, 18th/19th August, after recurring car problems resulted in a pair of disappointing non-scores.

We did about 140 laps in testing without a hitch, no problems at all, so we’re really at a loss to know what went wrong with the car over the weekend

Cape Town-based British racing driver Raoul Owens endured a character-building event at Donington Park in the East Midlands over the weekend, 18th/19th August, after recurring car problems resulted in a pair of disappointing non-scores.

Although able to post a top 12 finish in round 10 on Saturday afternoon, thanks to a strong drive from 16th on the grid, the Antel Motorsport racer’s weekend proved to be one of major frustration with a lack of power in rounds 11 and 12 costing him any chance of adding more points to his tally.

“We did about 140 laps in testing without a hitch, no problems at all, so we’re really at a loss to know what went wrong with the car over the weekend”, said the Bright Spark Ventures-supported racer, “The issue got worse between the two races on Sunday, it was like the car was bouncing off the limiter even though I was only at half revs. With that, we had no chance to compete.”

Raoul, who will celebrate his 18th birthday this week, ran competitive lap times in the first race to pleasingly secure his first points finish since round six of the season at Thruxton. Gaining two spots on lap one, he then moved into 13th on lap three before becoming embroiled in a three-car scrap with team-mate Ivan Taranov and Mexico’s Jorge Cevallos.

On lap 13, heading into Redgate, Pembury-born Raoul wisely allowed Taranov and Cevallos to trip over each other as they fought for 12th position which then opened the door for him to neatly slice past on the inside to grab two places in one move.

For round 11 on Sunday morning, Raoul lined-up an improved 13th on the grid but he soon had to pit at the end of lap four as his FR 2.0 started to struggle for top speed. After having the car checked over, no issues could be pinpointed and so Raoul re-entered the race but having lost two laps he finished a long way outside the points.

Hoping the power issues wouldn’t recur in round 12, the unidentified problem actually worsened which led Raoul to pit at the end of lap one. Rejoining the race after another check over by the team, an apparent misfire of some description seriously hampered his hopes and he entered the pits again at the end of lap five to retire.

“Race one was ok but I really did struggle for top end speed in Sunday’s races”, he commented, “On about lap four or five in race two there was a problem with the car shuddering so I came in to the pits but the team couldn’t find anything and it did seem to clear a bit.

“At the start of race three though we struggled again, I made a good start but as I was going up through the gears there was just nothing there and it was like there was a misfire. It’s been quite a frustrating weekend to say the least.”

Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire will host the final two rounds of the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship season, where Raoul will be hoping for much better fortune, seven weeks from now on 6th/7th October.

Provisional 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Driver Standings (after Rd12):
17th Raoul Owens, 67pts

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Marc Orme
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