It looked as if Carlin’s Enaam Ahmed would top every session of the day at Oulton Park on Thursday, but a last-gasp flying lap from Fortec Motorsports’ Ben Hingeley ensured that the afternoon spoils in Cheshire were shared.
The third session of the day got underway in slightly improved conditions from the morning, but the running would soon be brought to a halt as Lanan Racing’s Aaron di Comberti came to grief at Druids. The teenager was unharmed but the tyre barrier was less well off, and 15 minutes of the session were lost to rebuilding work.
Once it resumed, it was reigning US Formula 4 Champion Cameron Das on top from Toby Sowery and Double R Racing’s Harry Hayek. The order would soon change again though with morning pace-setter Ahmed jumping back to the top of the timing screens. Sowery improved his time again to slot into second, but remained 0.348s in arrears to Ahmed. American Chase Owen took third ahead of Carlin duo Das and James Pull, as the session came to a close.
The fourth and final hour of running on Thursday would prove to be just as eventful. Cameron Das once again led the way in the opening 15 minutes from team-mate James Pull and Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing’s Chase Owen.
Chris Dittmann Racing’s Omar Ismail then went off and caused a red flag stoppage before the session resumed. Ahmed moved into first position with a 1m30.526s lap before James Pull came to grief and the red flags appeared once more.
A frantic five minutes of track action remained in the day once Pull’s car had been recovered and Ben Hingeley took full advantage. Lowering his deficit to Ahmed, he lapped within just 0.082s of the pace-setter on his penultimate lap before on his final tour of the day, he posted a 1m30.494s to move just 0.032s clear of Ahmed to take top spot.
Behind the leading duo, Das settled for third ahead of Sowery and Pull. Double R Racing’s Harry Hayek was sixth quickest with Douglas Motorsport’s Petru Florescu seventh. The top-10 was completed by Jamie Chadwick, Callan O’Keeffe and Jordan Cane.
More practice awaits the 2017 BRDC British Formula 3 grid tomorrow, with the first half-hour session of the day getting underway at 09:40.
BRDC British F3 – Oulton Park – Thursday Third Practice Top-10
1. Enaam Ahmed, Carlin, 1m30.340s
2. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, +0.348s
3. Cameron Das, Carlin, +0.349s
4. Chase Owen, Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing, +0.376s
5. James Pull, Carlin, +0.409s
6. Ben Hingeley, Fortec Motorsports, +0.455s
7. Harry Hayek, Double R Racing, +0.531s
8. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Fortec Motorsports, +0.627s
9. Callan O’Keeffe, Douglas Motorsport, +0.916s
10. Jordan Cane, Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing, +1.027s
BRDC British F3 – Oulton Park – Thursday Fourth Practice Top-10
1. Ben Hingeley, Fortec Motorsports, 1m30.494s
2. Enaam Ahmed, Carlin, +0.032s
3. Cameron Das, Carlin, +0.327s
4. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, +0.555s
5. James Pull, Carlin, +0.591s
6. Harry Hayek, Double R Racing, +0.638s
7. Petru Florescu, Douglas Motorsport, +0.650s
8. Jamie Chadwick, Double R Racing, +0.660s
9. Callan O’Keeffe, Douglas Motorsport, +0.662s
10. Jordan Cane, Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing, +0.709s