Raoul Owens started his 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship in positive fashion, with a hugely encouraging career-best top ten finish in the opening weekend of his second season in cars at Snetterton.
Driving for reigning champions Antel Motorsport, Owens started the weekend with a tough run in the wet qualifying sessions, having had no prior wet-weather experience prior to the weekend. The 17 year old struggled with this and a clutch problem to qualify 18th, 16th and 15th for the three races.
The Cape Town resident made an excellent start in the opening race and quickly moved into the top fifteen, before working his way through the field to secure a well-deserved top ten finish. Another strong getaway in race two saw Owens rise to fourteenth on lap one, before making some more good overtakes to take eleventh.
Three back-to-back points finishes unfortunately didn't materialise due to a robust final race. The opening lap saw Owens bundled back to the tail of the field, resulting in a damaged front wing. Raoul worked his way into the points positions by lap five, but had to pit on lap twelve when officials ruled he needed a new front wing, leaving him to finish at the back of the field. Despite this, Owens was happy after a tough weekend, picking up almost half as many points in the season-opening event as he managed to chalk-up in his entire debut season in 2011.
Owens said: “I'm fairly happy with the weekend, qualifying was tough as it was my first experience of the car in the wet and we had a problem with the clutch as well which made it difficult. From where we had to start, race one went pretty well and I was happier with that one than the second race. We just didn't have enough grip in race two but I'm still pleased we scored good points.”