‘Ahmed claimed hon­ours as fog stopped play’

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

Full F3 Au­tumn Tro­phy re­port,

Ever en­croach­ing fog meant Enaam Ahmed took the BRDC Bri­tish For­mula 3 Au­tumn Tro­phy crown a race early as the weather led to the fourth race be­ing can­celled. He edged out ri­vals Joey Maw­son and Dan Tick­tum af­ter the Car­lin man won two of the three sprints.

With vis­i­bil­ity mak­ing even the safety car near-im­pos­si­ble to spot just hours be­fore Sun­day’s sole race, Ahmed made a su­perb start from pole to re­tain the lead ahead of Tick­tum.

Tick­tum, who was mak­ing his UK mo­tor­sport re­turn fol­low­ing his oneyear ban handed down by the Mo­tor Sports As­so­ci­a­tion, had readapted to rac­ing swiftly and en­tered the fi­nale just five points adrift in the stand­ings.

Know­ing how dif­fi­cult it is to pass on the Snet­ter­ton 300 lay­out in per­fect con­di­tions, let alone a deep fog, the Dou­ble R Rac­ing driver tried an early move at the hair­pin.

The move ended with the top two touch­ing, Tick­tum slid­ing onto the grass in re­tire­ment, and he blamed Ahmed for the col­li­sion.

“I went for a pass on Ahmed and he moved very, very late in the brak­ing zone and closed the door,” he said. “It’s too late for me then, I’ve al­ready com­mit­ted to the move so I was onto the grass where there’s no grip at all.

“I’ll be tak­ing it to the clerk of the course as it was just bad driv­ing. Some­thing has to be done about it.”

Any such ap­peal fell on deaf ears, with Ahmed adding: “It was a tricky race and it was very dan­ger­ous out there. I went off on the first lap ear­lier and then Dan and I col­lided at the hair­pin. I didn’t see him; I didn’t know it was him. It was bad vis­i­bil­ity, you couldn’t see down the straights and I was also caught out in brak­ing zones as well.”

He wasn’t the only one. That same chaotic open­ing lap had Ben Hin­ge­ley and James Pull col­lid­ing and prompt­ing a safety car.

With Tick­tum out of the race, it was fel­low ti­tle con­tender and reign­ing Ger­man For­mula 4 cham­pion Maw­son loom­ing in Ahmed’s mir­rors as the safety car cir­cu­lated.

When the race went green, any chance of a lead bat­tle ended when Maw­son mis­judged his brak­ing and locked up at Riches.

Maw­son re­sponded with a fastest lap to take race four pole and leave only 17 points be­tween him­self and Ahmed go­ing into it, but the wors­en­ing fog ended any hopes of a last race, let alone cham­pi­onship show­down.

“I was so glad there wasn’t an­other race,” said cham­pion Ahmed. “It was so scary out there. It’s been two nail-bit­ing days but it is so spe­cial to win a ti­tle, es­pe­cially against Euro­pean rac­ers like Cal­lan [O’ke­effe], Mar­cus [Arm­strong], Maw­son and Tick­tum.”

That quar­tet were right up there with Ahmed from the get-go on Satur­day, as the week­end started with the top 10 in the 12-car grid split by just over half a sec­ond in qual­i­fy­ing.

Ahmed’s lap, just 0.053s quicker than Tick­tum’s, would prove to be cru­cial at a cir­cuit with over­tak­ing chances at a pre­mium.

On the grid, Ahmed grasped his op­por­tu­nity, mak­ing a light­ning start as fel­low front-row starter Tick­tum made an er­ror and lost sec­ond to Maw­son.

“I held the clutch too long and I bogged down, it can be put down to the fact I’ve not raced from the grid in a while,” said Tick­tum.

Maw­son fol­lowed Ahmed closely but the dis­tance be­tween the two was too much, as Tick­tum was third.

But the Brit wasn’t too dis­ap­pointed, as the free air in third place meant he was able to set a lap time good enough to take race two pole.

De­spite hav­ing used four new tyres for the first race, Tick­tum man­aged his older set su­perbly to en­sure he won the next race and kept the pres­sure on Ahmed’s points lead.

The even­tual win­ner nailed his sec­ond at­tempt at a front-row start, as Maw­son took his turn to make a poor start. The Dou­glas Mo­tor­sport man fell to third as Ahmed jumped to sec­ond.

Tick­tum had es­ti­mated that his tyres would lose around a tenth a lap to his ti­tle ri­val, but he was helped by Maw­son’s bat­tling with Ahmed with the lost time mean­ing Tick­tum won at his favoured cir­cuit.

“The start was def­i­nitely on my mind for the sec­ond race,” he said. “I was too con­cerned with others in that open­ing race, this time I fo­cused on my­self and went for it.

“If you get a good start it’s very hard to be passed. Every­one be­hind is in dirty air and by the time you reach the hair­pin you’ve bro­ken the tow, so it be­comes about not mak­ing mis­takes.”

In the end those fine mar­gins de­cided the ti­tle, with Tick­tum’s failed move on Ahmed in the fi­nale en­sur­ing the Car­lin driver seized the crown ahead of Maw­son and the con­sis­tent O’ke­effe, who pipped Tick­tum to third in the fi­nal stand­ings.

Maw­son was the only man who ever looked likely to chal­lenge the top two, but he fin­ished be­hind Ahmed in each race. “I had more pace than Ahmed at times,” said Maw­son. “He just kept on fin­ish­ing ahead of me!”

Ahmed was on podium every race

Pho­tos: Richard Styles

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