Returning to Oulton Park this year was a great feeling after such a successful start there during my previous year in F3. I worked hard over the winter break on fitness, preparing myself for a three-race weekend, a great opportunity for lots of track time.
The weekend started off slightly problematically with a gearcut issue in qualifying which made it hard to concentrate on getting the best out of the car. This was made worse as I had no practice the day before as would normally happen. I pushed hard to make up time on a damp track but lost some momentum with yellow flags out on circuit. After the 30-minute session I ended up in 13th position for the first and third races with the result of the second race to be decided on the finishing position of the first. It wasn’t the start I would have hoped for but, as there are 30 races over the year, there was no need to worry.
Going into the first race the pressure was off. I had the mentality of having a great start to the race and trying to get into the top eight as a decent target on a very hard overtaking circuit. My start was essential and, after a good tyre-warming lap, I immediately made it into 10th place. I kept hunting down the pair of cars in front of me, once getting up to the back of Will Buller, and getting past pretty easily after a mistake gave me a perfect opportunity. I pushed to get to the back of Jazeman Jaafar but a lack of laps left made it impossible to get past. I finished the first race in ninth position.
The second race was a sprint of 20 minutes which would prove to be very interesting. I started ninth and knew that, as in the first race, a decent start could make a big difference. I managed to get up into seventh place after making some places up on the start (getting past my team-mate on the grass) which put me behind Jaafar again for the rest of the race. It is very difficult to pass on this circuit.
The final race saw me starting in 13th place with hopes of finishing in the top ten. I was very focused for the race and managed to get straight into 10th place on the first lap by passing Jaafar. I pursued Alex Brundle and caught up to the back of him, trying many many moves to pass, but to be fair to the guy he drove a sensible, defensive race. It’s a shame I didn’t have much free air as the car felt very decent and was producing some very good times. I finished the last race in 10th position scooping some points.
Overall it was a solid performance with room to improve. But the main thing was getting the first race out of the way and scoring points in every race. I plan on finishing in the top five at Silverstone and, with any luck, pushing on the top three for my first podium finish of the year.
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