Sparkling Formula Renault 2.0 Season Finale In Owens' Sights At Zandvoort

Raoul Owens’ highly successful debut season of European racing will reach its conclusion this coming weekend, 12th/13th October, at Circuit Park Zandvoort in The Netherlands when the final three races of the 2013 Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC) take place.Going into the last event of the year, the Mark Burdett Motorsport driver is seventh in the overall championship – which includes interlopers from the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 series – with one podium finish to his credit. Of the NEC category regulars, however, Raoul is the fourth highest placed racer and determined to make inroads towards the top three.It’s certainly been an impressive first season in one of the globe’s most competitive single-seater championships for the 19-year-old Cape Town resident, particularly the second half of the campaign where Raoul has racked-up a run of seven straight points finishes.Since delivering a season-best qualifying performance of fourth at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit back in June, the British racer has been a consistently strong front-runner. Although missing out on a deserved podium at the UK round, Pembury-born Raoul made amends after the eight-week summer hiatus to bag his first ever Formula Renault rostrum in round nine at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.Eager to add more podiums during the Zandvoort finale, the Bright Spark Ventures-backed racer is confident of a strong ending to his first year in Europe where he has shown a major improvement in pace and racecraft as the year has progressed.“Zandvoort should be good, it’s a great track and I’m feeling confident”, said Raoul, “It’s been a long break since the previous round at Most, five weeks, so I’m really looking forward to being back racing. It’s been a strong first season in the championship, we’ve been up against some of the best drivers and teams in Europe and have done a good job.“I’d have liked to have taken more podiums, and without a bit of bad luck we would have, but I’m really happy with the progress we’ve made – especially as a first year driver in the championship. I’m aiming for the podium at Zandvoort, we’ll be giving it our all to end the season on a real high.”With a total of 90 points available to any one driver across the weekend, there is certainly plenty to play for and Raoul – who enjoyed a strong test at Zandvoort earlier in the season – is determined to hit the ground running when the NEC finale gets underway a few days from now.Two pre-event practice sessions will take place at Zandvoort on Friday, 11th October, with qualifying beginning at 09.30 (local time) on Saturday, 12th October, followed by the first race of the weekend at 14.15 (local time). On Sunday, 13th October, race two will commence at 10.25 (local time) with the last outing of the season set to round off the day’s action at 16.55 (local time).Provisional 2013 Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup Standings (after Rd14):7th Raoul Owens, 126pts