In the blazing Corby sun, Toby Sowery spoke briefly to The Checkered Flag about the state of the BRDC British F3 Championship and his trouble-hit season so far.
Even with one race still to run, he was already looking towards the next round at Snetterton, going into the weekend sixth in the standings, 70 points behind series leader Enaam Ahmed. He finished last season third in the overall standings, but minimal testing prior to the season, due to a last-minute deal has fractured his chances.
Talking briefly about his Rockingham encounters, Sowery commented on the difficulty to overtake around the oval. While his battle with Callan O’Keeffe proved great excitement for the fans, the lack of progress from any driver did concern the Lanan Racing star.
“It’s a difficult track. We’ve got a decent amount of aero and all the corners that lead into slow sections require quite a bit of extra aero, so we can’t follow close. To be honest, although its early days, these boys know points make prizes, so they’re not risking everything for one place.
“Obviously though it can get a little boring if there is no overtaking. When we get to Silverstone and Spa, there’ll be a lot more.”
With the Snetterton round approaching this weekend, the 20-year-old remained unconvinced that anything would change, especially with the abundance of medium speed turns.
“It’s the same situation again, long straights leading into tight corners, but they’re not hairpins either. You carry a lot of speed in and there’s only one line, which is good to drive round, but not ideal to race on. It’s something we’ve all got to try a work-on as much as we can.”
Sowery was likely making a reference to the Bentley straight, which despite being great for slipstreaming, hinders overtaking by having the shallow left hand Brundle turn quickly followed by Nelson’s right hand kink, as well as the front straight which has a shallow line into Riches.
Despite his pessimism, Sowery commented on his preference for close racing, even if he seemed frustrated that the Rockingham track provided little chance for him to get past O’Keeffe during their titanic race two battle.
“He [O’Keeffe] made it very difficult, but fair, so if we get the chance, drivers love to go wheel to wheel like that. We had the new tyres, but at this moment in time, every point counts because we’re so far back. But it was good for the spectators, which not many series can say at the moment.”
Going into the season, many expected Sowery to be the man to beat along with BRDC F3 Autumn Trophy champion Ahmed, but with the Carlin driver winning the first four races on the bounce, title aspirations are starting to look shady for Sowery who has struggled for no fault of his own.
“Enaam’s stepped into the best car on the grid and the teams won every race this season” he said before Ben Hingeley‘s race three success. “You can’t say it’s not a good car, but equally they have the edge. It’s tough because, he’s always at the front and they’ve got a competitive car, but so should we.
“We’ve just had some bad luck with certain scenario’s. Hopefully that’ll end soon, but we’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Like many of the F3 contingent, Sowery has remained loyal to single-seaters, despite the narrow market that currently exists. With his team; Lanan, running cars in the British GT championship, Sowery was quick to shut down any possible drive.
“British GT is the head of the weekend and it’s good to support the GT division of our team. I’m not entirely interested in driving it, I’ve had my hand in GT3/4 before and it wasn’t really for me. Though it’s good to support the other boys and good luck to them.”
During last season, Sowery picked up a pole position, a fastest lap and three podiums over the two independant Snetterton rounds, with the venue being one of the few circuits he tested at pre-season.
The third British GT / F3 round takes place this weekend at Snetterton. Follow TCF for continued coverage of the event.