Sowery reigns in Oulton Park rain
Torrential rain couldn’t stop Toby Sowery adding two more winner’s trophies to his growing collection at Oulton Park last weekend.
Torrential rain couldn't stop Toby Sowery adding two more winner's trophies to his growing collection at Oulton Park last weekend, but he was made to work hard for his double by the returning Henry Chart.
Sowery put to good use his recent experience of the torrid conditions at the previous Spa-Francorchamps rounds by snaring his seventh pole position of the year on a similarly wet track. Chart, who had missed the previous four races and was driving his new-for-2014 Dallara F305 for only the second time, impressed by shaving the gap to Sowery to just 0.3s until a stellar lap by Sowery widened the gap to over 1.5s. Lee Morgan, third fastest, narrowly beat Tristan Cliffe to the inside of row two. Louis Hamilton-Smith and Mark Harrison comprised the third row, finishing the session only a few tenths shy of Morgan's time.
Chart kept Sowery honest in the opening exchanges of round nine, but a spin at the chicane handed Cliffe second and the task of chasing Sowery. The gap stabilised as Cliffe set a brace of fastest laps, but Sowery was comfortably clear and out of reach. Sowery underlined his speed with fastest lap on the last lap to deny Cliffe what would have been his first pole of 2014.
Lee Morgan was too far back to capitalise on Chart's early spin and took fourth after an entertaining battle with Louis Hamilton-Smith and Oliver Rae, who fell to seventh behind Mark Harrison on the final lap as his battery drained.
A superb start for Chart in race two saw him slingshot into the lead at turn one. Cliffe's own getaway was good, but then his advantage unravelled with wheelspin on every upshift and he dropped back behind both Sowery and Rae. Unbeknown to Cliffe, Rae had been handed a 10-second penalty for an out-of-place-start and Cliffe continued looking for a way past.
Chart's lead lasted only a lap and a half as the Enigma Motorsport racer spun out of contention, promoting Sowery into the lead. He took full advantage, romping away setting and the fastest laps of weekend.
Rae kept Cliffe at bay, but dropped to fourth when his penalty was applied. Hamilton-Smith disposed of Morgan for third but when he began to close on Cliffe he ran wide at the chicane, quickly deciding to settle for third.
Behind the fifth-placed Morgan, early leader Chart recovered to finish inside the top six. He had to pick his way through a close four-car fight between Jonathan Weston-Taylor, Nick Robinson, Oliver Stirling and Stuart Wiltshire.
The next rounds of F3 Cup take place on 16-17 August on the spectacular Brands Hatch GP circuit.