Raoul Owens managed to maintain his thirteenth position in the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship despite two retirements in Rounds Eight and Nine of the series at Croft.
Owens headed into the weekend suffering from a bout of tonsillitis, but was trying not to let this phase him as he aimed to build on a season's best eighth place result last time out at Thruxton. The weekend got off to an unexpectedly fiery start however, as his car set ablaze briefly as he entered the pitlane during practice.
After it was quickly put out, his Antel Motorsport team managed to repair the car ahead of qualifying, however those sessions saw a tracking issue leave him with ninth row starts for each encounter. Despite continued issue with his steering, Owens was able to get into the top 15 on the opening lap and be challenging for the top 12 when a mistake on lap seven saw him clip the tyre stack at the chicane, instantly ending his race.
“The car kept scrubbing the tyres, Croft is quite abrasive as it is, and eventually the tyres really went off – it was a struggle just to keep the car on the track”, said Owens. “I was almost having to guess where to turn-in at the chicane each lap and I just turned in a bit too early on lap seven which bent the left side of the car.”
With an improved car for race two, Owens had high hopes and got into the top 12 early on. It all went wrong when the driver in front clipped the same tyre stack at the chicane, firing them directly into the path of Owens, who had no time to react and smashed into them, leading to his second non-score of the weekend.
“The car felt better for race two, I felt a lot more confident and we went well”, he said, “I took advantage of an incident at Tower early on, about five guys came together so I just went up the inside of all of them.
“I got a good re-start after the Safety Car and was hassling the guy in front, I was all over him for a few laps but then he clipped the tyre stack and brought it on the track directly in front of me. I had nowhere to go and it wiped the front off the car. It's been a really tough weekend, one to forget, but I must say a big thank you to the team for doing such a great job after the fire in practice.”