Baptism of fire on damp debut for Headlam

Regular Radical racer and Britcar competitor Chris Headlam is getting his first taste of a single seater this weekend at Brands Hatch on the Grand Prix circuit and he’s started in promising fashion.

Regular Radical racer and Britcar competitor Chris Headlam is getting his first taste of a single seater this weekend at Brands Hatch on the Grand Prix circuit and he's started in promising fashion.

Headlam looked on for a top six grid slot at one point before Robbie Watts and Mark Harrison dropped him back to eighth before the end of the session. Qualifying was only Headlam's third time in the Lanan Racing Dallara after testing at Snetterton last Friday and Brands Hatch Indy the day before his competitive debut this weekend.

A heavy downpour made things even more difficult for the more experienced F3 Cup drivers as the race started, let alone debutant Headlam. That didn't stop him enjoying himself though on the way to 10th place.

"I fell in love with it. It was an absolute baptism of fire going off onto the grid and then it raining. It was like "OK, I've got to learn everything, big time". After two laps though I was like a duck to water. On Friday I was really happy but in yesterday's race I really wanted to bring the car home. It's not my car and I had a lot to lose and not a lot to gain so I was conservative. But that was OK as I had a lot to learn.

"I'm not fussed if it rains, [for race two] I've not got a problem with it. I was learning how an F3 car works in the wet, and it was easy to make a mistake. Every time we passed a car in the barrier it reminded me how easy it would be to do it."

Teaming up with Lanan in F3 Cup, who also run his son Daniel in BRDC Formula 4 and Chris himself in Radical Clubman's Cup, partners him with championship front-runner Alex Craven. Tips have been shared, and Headlam knows where he's losing time and where he can make it up in race two. There may be some changes for race two, but mainly to seat position in the close confines of the cockpit.

Comparing his usual SR3 steed to his borrowed Dallara, Headlam said: "Everything is massively more immediate in the F3 car. You just feel completely in touch with the road. The Radical is slightly easier and you're more insulated from it. You're still exposed to it but pretty insulated. The Radical is a more forgiving car. It's more physical driving the F3 car. The Radical is brilliant but the F3 is another step up."

Race two starts at 12.35 today (Sunday 28 July), Chris Headlam starts 10th.