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OLIVER CLARKE ENJOYS STRONGEST BRITISH F3 WEEKEND OF THE SEASON ON HOME TURF

Oliver Clarke battled treacherous wet weather conditions at his home circuit of Snetterton this past weekend (October 3/4) to produce his strongest showing of the season in the BRDC British F3 Championship.

Born and raised in King’s Lynn – less than an hour away from the Norfolk venue – the Hillspeed driver served up a scintillating performance to extend his run of scoring points in every race; netting a brace of fourth place finishes alongside a sixth and seventh.

Entering the fifth meeting of the year with a new sponsor in the shape of Sandles Car Supermarket, the 17-year-old got to grips with the challenges of the 2.99-mile circuit across Thursday and Friday’s practice sessions.

Greeted by heavy rain battering the venue come Saturday morning, qualifying proved to be a frenetic affair as drivers battled the elements to set their best times. As he has done in the wet previously, Clarke flourished in the conditions and powered his single-seater machine to a season-best position of fourth.

However, due to the chequered flag being erroneously shown on the TSL and start line messaging screens before the end of the session, the result of qualifying was amended and the grid was taken from when the chequered flag was first shown.

Subsequently starting seventh for the opening encounter, the Torq Racewear athlete wasted no time in fighting his way back up the order as he showcased his wet weather prowess, moving up to fourth by the end of the first lap.

Settling into a groove, Clarke soon began to hound the back of third place man Nazim Azman and despite applying constant pressure for the remainder of the 20-minute contest, the former karting ace couldn’t find a way past and settled for fourth.

Clarke found himself in the thick of the action in race two as he banked yet more points. Starting tenth, the Fewkes Sport Management racer dropped down the order in the early stages but battled back to show his fighting spirit, charging back up to ninth at the chequered flag.

With the rain having only intensified come Sunday, race three started behind the safety car and lining up 11th, Clarke had plenty of work to do. That however didn’t phase him as he once again produced a stellar opening lap to march up the order into seventh by the end of the opening tour.

Holding position from there, Clarke lapped more than a second a lap quicker than his team-mate to close the gap to sixth but ultimately ran out of time to make a move, finishing seventh.

Bringing the curtain down on a dream weekend in front of his home crowd, Clarke narrowly missed out on scoring his second podium of the season. Lining up sixth as the race once again began behind the safety due to the adverse conditions, the home hero produced one final star performance.

Holding position as the action got underway, Clarke made two eye-catching moves in two laps to slot in fourth before then challenging Azman for third. Like race one, Clarke gave it his all but couldn’t find a way past onto the rostrum and settled for fourth once again.

Virtue of having his strongest weekend of the season, Clarke has now vaulted up to seventh in the overall Drivers’ Championship.

Oliver Clarke:

“On the whole it has been a great weekend! To come to my home event and have the weekend we have had, my best this year to-date, is something I’m really happy about and hopefully it can propel us onto even greater things in the races to come.

“If I’m honest, having fourth place in qualifying taken away from me was very disappointing – especially given the circumstances around it all. Had I started from fourth in race one then who know’s how the weekend could have panned out, it would have been totally different and that is frustrating on reflection.

“Those conditions really suited me though and I felt I could really push when others couldn’t. I made progress in every race and had there been an extra lap in races one and four, I think we could have come away with some silverware.

“I’ve got to say a huge thank you to the team as they gave me a great car and also thanks to my friends, family and partners, including Sandles Car Supermarket, for their support – as I’ve said before, I wouldn’t be in this position without them. Finally, the fans deserve a huge thank you as they turned out in force despite the weather.”

The penultimate weekend of the 2020 BRDC British F3 Championship will take place at Donington Park on October 24/25.

OLIVER CLARKE TARGETING ROSTRUM RETURN AS BRITISH F3 HEADS BACK TO DONINGTON PARK
OLIVER CLARKE AIMING TO MAKE HOME ADVANTAGE COUNT AS BRITISH F3 HEADS TO SNETTERTON