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Das is good for British F3 pole at Rockingham

Saturday, April 29 2017

American Cameron Das stormed to his second pole position of the 2017 BRDC British Formula 3 season, as he topped qualifying for race one on Saturday at Rockingham. The reigning US Formula 4 Champion ended the session nearly three tenths clear of his rivals, with Chris Dittmann Racing's Omar Ismail putting in a stunning performance to claim second and he will line up alongside Das on the front-row for this afternoon's race.

As many drivers were threatening to improve and setting personal best sectors, the session was brought to a premature end with Callan O'Keeffe skating off into the gravel at turn three with just under three minutes left on the clock. That ensured Das took pole ahead of Ismail, Fortec Motorsports' Ben Hingeley, championship leader Enaam Ahmed and the aforementioned Callan O'Keeffe.

In dry but overcast conditions, the 30-minute qualifying session got underway at the unique banked Rockingham circuit in Northamptonshire. The majority of the BRDC British F3 field took to the track almost immediately whilst a handful employed varying strategies, with American Chase Owen and Callan O'Keeffe choosing to remain in the pit lane until midway through the session.

As the drivers warmed their Pirelli tyres, it was standings leader Ahmed who was the first man into the 1m13s bracket with a lap time of 1m13.972s. That put him ahead of Ben Hingeley and Omar Ismail but as the session ticked over the halfway point, Cameron Das better his Carlin team-mates lap by just 0.048s to head the session.

A plethora of pit stops ensued with many drivers choosing to change on to an entire new set of Pirelli tyres, but fastest man Das chose to only switch his right-hand side tyres and that would prove a sound decision at the close of qualifying.

After a few minutes, the drivers began to improve on their earlier times and it was Ben Hingeley who jumped to the head of the field with six minutes remaining. Omar Ismail followed him across the line moments later however, and he snatched provisional pole away from the Fortec man.

Cameron Das meanwhile was blitzing his way around the circuit, lighting up the timing screens with purple sectors and as he crossed the line, he moved into top spot with a 1m13.543s.He bettered that time on the very next lap, a 1m13.470s extending his advantage over the rest of the field. Ismail remained in second with Hingeley third, before O'Keeffe improved his time with the South African jumping up to fifth, just behind Enaam Ahmed.

Despite his progress, O'Keeffe's session would some come to an end as he spun into the gravel at turn three. The double waved yellow flags came out and they soon turned to red with the Douglas Motorsport man stuck in a dangerous position. With just over two minutes left on the clock, the chequered flag came out, confirming Das' second pole position of the season.

After Ismail, Hingeley, Ahmed and O'Keefe, who completed the top-five came the Double R Racing trio of Guilherme Samaia, Harry Hayek and Jamie Chadwick. The top-10 was rounded out by Carlin's James Pull and Fortec Motorsports' Nicolai Kjaergaard.

Race one of the weekend gets underway at 14:00 and you can follow all the action through live timing and updates on the official British Formula 3 website here.

BRDC British Formula 3 - Rockingham - Qualifying

1. Cameron Das, Carlin, 1m13.470s
2. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, +0.282s
3. Ben Hingeley, Fortec Motorsports, +0.376s
4. Enaam Ahmed, Carlin, +0.400s
5. Callan O'Keeffe, Douglas Motorsport, +0.436s
6. Guilherme Samaia, Double R Racing, +0.460s
7. Harry Hayek, Double R Racing, +0.571s
8. Jamie Chadwick, Double R Racing, +0.661s
9. James Pull, Carlin, +0.760s
10. Nicolai Kjaergaard, Fortec Motorsports, +0.790s
11. Toby Sowery, Lanan Racing, +0.985s
12. Chase Owen, Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing, +1.063s
13. Aaron di Comberti, Lanan Racing, +1.153s
14.Jeremy Wahome, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1.284s
15. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, +1.601s
16. Nick Worm, Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing, +2.195s