Ahmed the hat-trick hero as he claims stunning triple success on 'Super Monday' at Oulton Park
The 17-year-old was untouchable throughout the day as he made it three wins from three to open the 2017 British Formula 3 season
It was a dream weekend for Carlin’s Enaam Ahmed as he swept all before him to claim a hat-trick of race victories on ‘Super Monday’ (17 April) at Oulton Park. With all three of the weekend’s races being run across the day, Ahmed was utterly dominant as he passed Toby Sowery to claim race one victory, charged through from eighth for race two success before completing an historic achievement by taking a lights-to-flag triumph in the third and final encounter of the weekend in Cheshire.
After Saturday’s race one was forced into a Monday rescheduling owing to barrier damage at the Cheshire track, the drivers returned set for a busy day of racing. Reigning US Formula 4 Champion Cameron Das lined up on pole position in wet conditions for race one but as the lights went out, the Carlin man was slow away, enabling his fellow front-row starter Sowery to take the lead into Old Hall.
Das’ team-mates Ahmed and James Pull also moved ahead of the American along with Fortec Motorsports’ Ben Hingeley, relegating the 17-year-old to fifth. The top-three of Ahmed, Pull and Sowery began to break clear of the rest of the field as Das desperately tried to find a way past Hingeley in fourth. The Fortec man defended his position with panache though to frustrate the Carlin car’s ambitions of regaining ground that he had lost at the start.
At the front, Ahmed had reduced Sowery’s lead to less than half-a-second and was right on the back of the Lanan Racing car’s gearbox as they started lap nine. The 17-year-old dived down the inside into Old Hall but Sowery saw the move coming and switched back down the inside on the run to Dentons. Ahmed held the inside line for the left at Cascades and as Sowery attempted to stay with him, he ran wide and into the gravel. Ahmed and Pull both went through but Sowery was able to skate through the kitty litter and rejoin the tarmac just ahead of the squabbling Hingeley and Das in fourth and fifth.
The field saw out the final laps without incident and it was Enaam Ahmed who started his year in the best possible fashion by claiming the maximum 35 points in the first race of the season. Pull and Sowery joined him on the podium with Hingeley and Das completing the top-five.
After finishing eighth in race one, Chris Dittmann Racing’s Omar Ismail lined up on pole position for the partially reversed grid race two and as the lights went out, he led the field into Old Hall Corner. Just behind though there was plenty of drama, with Harry Hayek spinning as a result of contact with Toby Sowery. The Double R Racing man was left stranded on the exit of the corner and Douglas Motorsport’s Petru Florescu had nowhere to go, making contact, and ending both their races on the spot. Jamie Chadwick was also involved but managed to recover to the pit lane. She was later excluded from the results for gaining outside help however.
Sowery meanwhile made it to Cascades but after suffering heavy damage, ended up in the gravel to end his race prematurely. With a number of cars littering the circuit the safety car was deployed, with Ismail then spinning and losing the lead to O'Keeffe, with Ahmed and Hingeley both following the South African through.
With Hayek and Florescu’s cars locked together, the race was subsequently red flagged and a restarted race length of four laps announced. Once the wreckage had been cleared, the British F3 field formed up once more but this time with O’Keeffe on pole position.
As the lights went out, O’Keeffe lit up his rear tyres enabling Ahmed to take the lead and Hingeley to move into second. Ahmed soon set about opening up a gap whilst Hingeley defended from both O’Keeffe and Carlin’s James Pull. Despite attempting to pass the Fortec man on numerous occasions, O’Keeffe couldn’t quite pull off the move no matter how hard he tried.
Ahmed saw out the handful of remaining laps without incident to claim his second win of the day at Oulton Park, and maintain his perfect start to the 2017 season. Hingeley held on for second with O’Keeffe third, Pull fourth and Nicolai Kjaergaard fifth.
After setting the fastest lap over the course of the first two races, Ahmed lined up on pole position for race three and had Das alongside on the front-row. As the lights went out, it was the American who made the better getaway. However, Ahmed was able to cover him off and he led the field into Old Hall Corner.
Further back, Danish racer Nicolai Kjaergaard was slow away in third and he dropped down to seventh. Chris Dittmann Racing’s Omar Ismail took the position whilst the Double R Racing duo of Brazilian Guilherme Samaia and Brit Jamie Chadwick came to grief at Island Bend, ending both their races.
On the next tour, Ismail lost out to both Pull and Douglas Motorsport’s Callan O’Keeffe relegating him to fifth, whilst up front Das was maintaining the pressure on Ahmed. Halfway through the race, Das managed to reduce the gap to the leader down to just over half-a-second.
As the battle for the win began to hot up, Ahmed put in a number of fastest laps to extend the gap to Das to over 1.3s and regain control of the contest. The 17-year-old was able to see out the final few laps without any trouble to seal a historic treble on ‘Super Monday’ at Oulton Park. Das claimed second with Pull third, O’Keeffe fourth and Ismail fifth.
Speaking at the end of the race, Ahmed said: “It feels pretty special. I can’t really believe it! I’m lost for words. I didn’t think it was really possible to win three races in a weekend but it is a really good way to start the season. I can’t thank the guys at Carlin enough, Mark, Luke, Matt, Trev, Sam. It has been awesome, they’ve given me an amazing car and they haven’t put a foot wrong. I didn’t quite deliver in qualifying with third but to come back with the wins has been amazing!”
After his stunning day, Ahmed leaves Oulton Park with the maximum 95 points on offer and leads the overall standings by 24 points from James Pull, with Cameron Das eight points further behind in third.
2017 BRDC British Formula 3 - Standings after race three of 24
1. Enaam Ahmed, Carlin, 95 points
2. James Pull, Carlin, 71 points
3. Cameron Das, Carlin, 63 points
4. Ben Hingeley, Fortec Motorsports, 60 points
5. Callan O'Keeffe, Douglas Motorsport, 56 points
6. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, 40 points
7. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, 39 points
8. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Fortec Motorsports, 38 points
9. Chase Owen, Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing, 28 points
=. Harry Hayek, Double R Racing, 28 points