London, United Kingdom (PRWEB UK) 3 September 2013
Although disappointed with a difficult qualifying run on his debut at the Eastern European track, the British 19-year-old fought hard during all three races and delivered a brace of ninth place results in rounds 12 and 14 to help keep his upward trajectory in the driver standings well on course.
Having made good progress with his Mark Burdett Motorsport prepared FR 2.0 during pre-event testing, during which he lapped second quickest in session two, the Cape Town-based driver had justifiably high hopes for qualifying but the lap times just didn’t come.
Therefore lining-up an uncharacteristic 15th on the grid for Saturday’s race, Raoul produced a superb opening and sliced his way into the top 10 to conclude the first lap in ninth place. Remaining there for the duration, the Bright Spark Ventures-supported driver delivered strong pace and lapped with a best time just 0.4 seconds shy of the quickest of all.
In Sunday’s opening encounter, round 13, Raoul had to be content with 14th position as a result of a combination of a 16th place starting slot and older tyres which compromised his potential. Moving into 15th on lap three, he then gained a further position on the sixth tour before climbing as high as 13th a lap later. On lap 13, though, Raoul was nudged back to 14th position.
Determined to end the weekend on a high in round 14 on Sunday afternoon, the Pembury-born driver climbed from ninth into the top eight at the start but an unfortunate spin on lap five dropped Raoul down to 13th position.
Mounting an impressive recovery, the first year NEC racer battled his way back through the order into ninth place and his fastest lap of the contest, a time of 1m32.475 seconds (164.243 km/h), was only 0.3 seconds shy of the fastest of the race – highlighting what might have been.
“The car was actually very good this weekend, our race pace was strong and we managed to get a lot of stuff done in testing – we were just hindered by qualifying, we didn’t get the lap we wanted and that set us back”, explained Raoul.
“The first race was OK, damage limitation from where we started, but for the second race we didn’t have the tyre allocation available to move forward so we just had to do the best we could. The third race was good, after a small mistake I came back through quite well to pass six cars and get back into ninth. Although the result wasn’t what we wanted, we had top five race pace which was pleasing.”
Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup now takes a long six week break from action ahead of the championship finale, which will take place over the weekend 12th/13th October at Zandvoort in The Netherlands.
Looking ahead, Raoul added: “We had some encouraging testing at Zandvoort earlier in the year, so we’re really focused on having a great weekend there. I’m happy to be seventh in the championship, fourth of the regular NEC guys, so hopefully we can have a strong end to the season.”
Provisional 2013 Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup Standings (after Rd14):
7th Raoul Owens, 126pts
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