Raoul Owens adds to FR.NEC points tally

DESPITE BATTLING ODDS AT HOCKENHEIMFormula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC) front-runner Raoul Owens salvaged a solid haul of points from a challenging outing at Hockenheim over the weekend, 14th/15th June, to conclude the third event of the season 11th overall in the provisional driver standings.Marking the first triple-header race meeting of the campaign, plenty of points were on offer across the trio of encounters at the German venue. Frustratingly though, despite delivering strong top five pace in practice, the Pembury 19-year-old was prevented from mounting a podium challenge.Starting round five on Saturday from ninth on the grid, Raoul’s race was over on the very first lap when he was the innocent victim of contact at Turn 12. After a decent start, the Mark Burdett Motorsport driver looked well placed for a solid run but his FR 2.0 was collected by an errant rival and the resulting radiator damage led to retirement a couple of laps later.For round six on Sunday morning, Raoul had a lot of work ahead from 15th on the grid but made an excellent start and climbed into the top 10 on the opening tour alone. Swiftly taking ninth place on lap two from Jorge Cevallos, the Briton then closed up behind team-mate Jake Hughes as he sized up a challenge for eighth place.With Hughes defending, it enabled Gustav Malja to challenge Raoul and he was subsequently elbowed back to 10th place on lap five. Redoubling his efforts during the final third of the race, he ran tight behind Malja and Hughes to the finish but had to settle for 10th position in the end.Not only did the vexing contact in round five impact Raoul’s championship position, the knock-on effects were felt in round seven with the race one result setting the race three grid. Starting in 23rd position, the Bright Spark Ventures-supported racer crafted an outstanding opening lap to gain 10 positions and then held 13th place until lap eight when he moved into the top 12.Hot on the heels of Ryan Tveter during the final third of the race, Raoul pushed hard but ultimately had to settle for a, nonetheless impressive, 12th place result. Despite a frustrating weekend on the whole, Raoul was relieved to have at least been able to accrue some important points.“Saturday’s race obviously wasn’t what we wanted”, he explained, “My start was OK, it was pretty tight with some close racing, but going into the stadium section a guy went wide, all over the grass, and hit the side of the car which punctured the radiator. I didn’t think the damage was as bad as it was, so I carried on for a couple of laps but the car got hotter and hotter so I retired to the pits.“Race two was a bit of a struggle, we’d been lacking something compared to the front guys and it was hard work holding on to the top 10. Obviously, the grid position for the third race was set by the result from race one so we were down outside the top 20 but we made some changes to the car and I was pretty happy with them. Finishing 12th wasn’t too bad, we got some decent points.”There is now a six week break before Formula Renault 2.0 NEC visits Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium over the weekend 25th/26th July as support to the Total 24 Hours of Spa.Provisional 2014 Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup Standings (after Rd7):11th Raoul Owens, 60pts