Enaam Ahmed has made BRDC British Formula 3 history by becoming the youngest driver ever to win three races and set three fastest laps over a weekend as he opened his 2017 campaign in the best way possible at Oulton Park.
The 17-year-old’s clean sweep of three victories and fastest laps at the season-opener marked the first occasion the feat has been achieved in BRDC British F3, let alone in a single day. Enaam’s success also makes him the youngest driver in British F3 history, including the previous British Formula Three Championship, to win three races and record three fastest laps across one weekend. Ahmed’s treble means he leaves Cheshire as championship leader with a perfect score of 95 points, 24 points clear of Carlin teammate James Pull.
After making an impressive start to the weekend by topping four of the eight practice sessions held in mixed weather conditions during two days of disrupted running around the 2.6 mile Oulton Park circuit, Enaam narrowly missed out on taking pole position in qualifying on Saturday. The 2016 British F3 Autumn Trophy Champion sat on provisional pole position having set the pace at the mid-way stage of the session, but ultimately finished just 0.254s down on teammate Cameron Das as he was forced to settle with third on the grid for race one.
Significant barrier damage from an earlier support race caused Saturday’s opener to be rescheduled for Easter Monday. Unperturbed by the new situation of facing three races in one day, Enaam made a great start to move into second place when the action finally got underway, leapfrogging Das into Old Hall corner as the pole-sitter bogged down on the wet track when the lights went out.
Ahmed broke free at the front along with Lanan Racing’s Toby Sowery and Carlin teammate Pull, before he set about reducing Sowery’s lead. A fastest lap helped cut the deficit to less than half a second by lap nine, when Enaam made his move and dived down the inside at Old Hall. Sowery drew back level as they went side-by-side through Dentons but when the pair swept into the left-hander at Cascades, it was Ahmed who came out on top as Sowery ran wide. From there on in the BRDC Rising Star made victory look easy as he took the chequered flag at the end of lap 11 to claim his first win of the year, leading home Pull by three seconds to complete a Carlin one-two.
Starting from eighth in the partially reserved grid race two, Enaam – along with the majority of the field – took to the drying circuit on slick tyres in what was to prove to be a dramatic outing with drizzle still falling. As a number of drivers hit trouble on a chaotic opening lap, Ahmed somehow managed to avoid all the mayhem and worked his way into second place by the time the safety car was deployed to neutralise the action. The race was soon red-flagged in order to remove several cars that had become stranded at turn one.
With the grid re-formed and the race distance shortened, another lightning-quick getaway allowed Enaam to snatch the lead from Callan O’Keefe heading into Old Hall at the restart. A remarkable display of speed from Ahmed put the youngster in command as he set another fastest lap and ultimately sealed a comprehensive win, having built up an advantage of nearly eight seconds to his closest challenger in just four laps.
Thanks to two fastest laps from race one and two, Enaam sealed pole position for the final race of the meeting. A perfect launch ensured Ahmed held his lead intact from teammate Das heading into Old Hall for the first time, as the pair began a race-long battle to the flag. Das kept Enaam honest in the early stages by running within a second of the Briton, before a succession of fastest laps, including the outright quickest of the race, enabled Ahmed to pull clear by two seconds and complete his hat-trick of victories, leading home a Carlin podium lock-out.
Speaking about the weekend, Enaam 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 P3 but to come back with the wins has been amazing!”
Carlin racing director Trevor Carlin added: “We couldn’t have asked for a better start to the British F3 season. All three drivers have done a fantastic job, and Enaam’s achievement of three race wins and three fastest laps is beyond any of our expectations. The team have been working so hard back at the factory over the winter and I couldn’t be more proud of the start they’ve made to 2017.”
The next round of the 2017 BRDC British F3 Championship takes place at Rockingham on April 29-30, where Enaam will be looking to build on his perfect start to the season.
Press release by Lewis Larkam