King's Lynn racer impresses in Formula 3 season finale
Young Lynn racer Oliver Clarke posted another strong set of results at the final British Formula 3 Championship meeting of 2020 at Silverstone at the weekend.
The 17-year-old bagged two fourth places and a sixth during the meeting, ending eighth in the final championship standings.
Clarke was ninth in an ultra-competitive qualifiying session, in which he was only half a second away from a front row position.
He climbed to seventh early on before the action was paused by a safety car.
And he produced a stunning manouevre around the outside of Brooklands corner in the latter stages to secure sixth at the chequered flag.
Sunday’s first race got off to a difficult start as Clarke dropped to the back of the field.
But, once his tyres had enough heat in them the Fewkes Sport Management driver delivered a superlative drive as he carved his way up the order, jumping up two or three spots each lap.
Moving into the top five with a handful of tours remaining, Clarke closed the gap to the lead pack but was unable to find a way past and he ultimately settled for fourth.
Despite missing out on the podium, his drive is one that will likely be talked about for some time.
Clarke capped off his weekend, and his season, with another eye-catching performance as he once again came close to a return to the rostrum.
Starting sixth, the teenage racer initially dropped back two positions before once again showcasing his racecraft as he battled back to cross the line in fourth.
Had it not been for a non-finish at Donington Park, Clarke would have ended the season sitting sixth in the Drivers’ Championship.
But two podiums and a number of standout drives have cemented Clarke’s status as an exciting single-seater prospect and the future looks bright.
Clarke said: “That was a great way to end the season! I’d have loved to have come away with a podium but it wasn’t meant to be and, on reflection two fourths and a sixth is not something to turn my nose up at.
“We had phenomenal pace though in each race and I absolutely loved what we were able to do in race two.
“We rolled the dice in terms of tyres and took the pain of dropping to the back in the opening stages but once the tyres came in I just had so much grip and was able to move forward.
“It has been a really positive season, we’ve been a regular in the top ten despite having had limited testing and we’ve scored a couple of podiums along the way too. I think in the second half of the season I really hit my stride and proved that I’m more than capable of competing at this level and beyond.
“I’ve got say a big thank you to Fewkes Sport Management as the professional structure they have provided me has really proved beneficial both on and off the track.
“The support of Mojo Media, Torq Racewear, Hillspeed, my family and friends has been invaluable as well – without everyone I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what we have done this year.
“Whilst the season may have come to an end the hard work doesn’t stop and I’m already looking ahead to the 2021 season.
“We’re working on putting a deal together and I’m keen to welcome any new sponsors, partners and investors to join me on this journey.”
Will Fewkes, of Fewkes Sport Management, added: “It’s quite clear to see that in our stable we have one of the most exciting UK single-seater talents to emerge in recent years, and Oliver’s raw speed and race craft has been exceptional against a lot of year two drivers whilst running on a very limited budget.
“We’re very excited about what the future holds for Oliver and hope to return in 2021 to challenge for championship honours.
“To make this all possible, we are still in search of partners to join Oliver on his journey and will welcome any interested parties with some great commercial offerings.
“He’s certainly the real deal and has a highly experienced support team around him.”