- Fantastic start to 2018 season with P3 finish at rain-hit Oulton Park
- Chadwick ends first event of British F3 campaign P5 in championship
- Torrential Easter weekend rain delivers very difficult driving conditions
Talented BRDC British Formula 3 Championship driver Jamie Chadwick got her 2018 season off to an excellent start at a rain-hit Oulton Park over Easter weekend, the 19-year-old racer securing a superb top three podium finish and ending the event 5th in the championship.
The 19-year-old Douglas Motorsport driver, from Tetbury in Gloucestershire, got her challenge for the prestigious British F3 title underway with a series of competitive and consistent performances in rounds 1, 2 and 3 at the undulating Cheshire venue.
Following two days of pre-event testing, qualifying and the opening race of the new season took place on Saturday, 31st March, with the two remaining encounters contested on Easter Monday, 2nd April, following a day’s break from track action on Easter Sunday.
While qualifying didn’t go according to plan, an issue with the car’s rear diffuser resulting in too much downforce and an uncharacteristic P12 on the grid for the dry opening round, a well-executed start enabled Jamie to rocket into 8th place on the first lap. Challenging the group ahead, but with little opportunity to try and overtake, she settled for the position.
Easter Monday’s weather proved markedly different and so delivered a much different challenge, cold temperatures, low cloud and steady rain leading to very difficult driving conditions throughout the course of the day.
Round 2 was the ‘reverse grid’ race, where bonus points are awarded for overtaking, and Jamie started the contest in 9th position. Another blistering start enabled her to pass an incredible five cars, moving into 4th, and by lap two she was into the podium placings in 3rd.
Despite the race being impacted by Safety Car periods and yellow flags, Jamie pushed for the lead for the duration but horrendous visibility in the heavy rain and spray made it too dangerous to risk a move. In the end, she wisely and maturely settled for her second career British F3 podium in 3rd.
For Round 3 later in the day conditions appeared to be improving, the rain had abated and so a semi-dry set-up was chosen. Unfortunately, though, the heavens opened once again as the cars lined-up for the start which made the racing even more treacherous.
Gaining places from P9 on the grid with huge plumes of spray ahead was always going to be tricky, but a resolute and sensibly managed drive meant Jamie made up two places to finish the race in a safe and competitive 7th position. Soon after the F3 action had concluded for the weekend, officials abandoned the remainder of the event due to the worsening weather and dangerous conditions.
Commenting after the weekend’s racing, Jamie said:
“It’s good to get the first rounds safely completed and I’m happy overall with our performance.
Qually was a bit of a setback, but it’s reassuring to know the reasons, and I quite like the wet conditions and felt these could work to my advantage.
“Finishing 3rd in round 2 was good, but a little frustrating because I definitely felt I had the pace to win. It was very tricky out there, though, and with appalling visibility, so I elected not to take any silly risks. I’m part of a very good team with Douglas Motorsport, Sam and Jed look after the car, I have Veloce providing my management and there is important financial support from Aldermore Bank and Bloc Hotels, so I’m feeling confident with the package we have for this season”