Maiden F3 victory, pole and podiums as Das shines bright
Cameron Das has enjoyed an incredible weekend of racing action at Rockingham during the second round of the BRDC British Formula Three Championship. Das started the weekend off well with a strong day of testing on Friday and then stormed his way to pole position on Saturday morning. He then finished the day with a podium position before carving his way through the field during Sunday morning’s reverse grid race to claim his maiden victory in the series in dominating style. Das rounded off his weekend with a further podium position and fantastic points which see him close the gap to the championship leader.
It was clear once again as soon as the 17 year old American took to the track on Friday that he had another strong weekend well within his sights. Four solid 30 minute practice sessions set him up extremely well and ensured that he was ready to fight heading in to qualifying on Saturday morning.
Feeling at one with his Carlin Tatuus-Cosworth BRDC British Formula Three car, Das took to the track slightly later than some – waiting for his opportune moment he went out on his first set of tyres in order to get a representative lap time on the board. Upon coming in to the pit lane, Das made the call to only change two tyres, this in turn left him in a position where warming tyres wouldn’t take quite so long as those around him. As it was, he quickly moved up to the top of the timing screens and, as had been the case at Oulton Park, seemed completely untouchable in his position there. The end of the session was shortened somewhat following a red flag for an incident on track with his fast lap meaning he took his second pole position of the season.
As the only driver this season to top a qualifying session Das reflected, “In the first tyre run we didn’t get quite as many fast laps in as we wanted so we knew we had more in it for the rest of the session. We made the call to only go for two new tyres as they wouldn’t take quite so long to get up to temperature which was the right decision for us in the end as we were fast out there and took our second pole of the season.”
Off the line as the lights went out for the opening race of the weekend, Das had a small amount of wheel spin which meant he had team mate Enaam Ahmed hot on his heels as the grid streamed through the opening corners. Das and Ahmed went side by side but eventually it was Ahmed who took the lead of the race. Das followed the championship leader, keeping close behind him the whole way and pulling a gap to those behind, to come home and take a further podium and a great haul of points.
Having finished second in the opening race of the weekend, Das lined up in seventh for the reverse grid race. When the lights extinguished, Das was extremely quick off the line; carving his way through the field he avoided an incident just in front and was soon in contention for the lead of the race. Taking his chance at the Deene hairpin, Das forced the issue and brilliantly moved his way to the head of the field – taking the lead from Omar Ismail. From then, it was a commanding display of speed and talent as the young American pulled a gap and let nothing trouble him on his way to claiming a stylish maiden victory in the BRDC British Formula Three Championship.
Das said of victory in race two, “Off the line I had a good start and was able to get in to a good position going in to the hairpin. I knew that if something was going to happen, it was going to be there – so I made sure to keep clean and managed to avoid the incident that James [Pull] got caught up in ahead. Soon I was up to third having fought with Ben [Hingeley] and knew that I had the pace for more. Then I managed to go up the inside at the Deene hairpin, take the lead of the race from Omar [Ismail] and start to pull a nice gap to the field. I was also able to push to get a good lap to secure pole for the final race too.”
Starting from pole for the third and final race, Das held the advantage at the first corner however was squeezed at the hairpin as the cars ran three wide. This pushed him down to third, where he finished as the flag fell marking the end of an extremely successful weekend of racing. The fantastic finish ensured that he graced the podium in every race he took part in and also means that Das has successfully closed the gap to championship leader Ahmed as he chases hard in the Championship hunt.
Reviewing his weekend Das said, “In the last race I was happy to take third because it meant I was able to get more really good points and begin to chase Enaam [Ahmed] down in the championship hunt – which is our goal this season. Three podiums, lots of points and a win this weekend – we have to be happy with that.
“It feels really good to get my first win of the season – I knew that we had a strong car but I didn’t expect to get a win quite this soon in the season. I’ve managed to get in to the groove quickly and equally our preparation has been really good so I’m extremely pleased to be on the pace from the beginning of the year.
“I want to add a huge thanks to my engineer Paul, my mechanics on the car and the rest of the Carlin crew for giving me another rapid car this weekend. Also a big thanks to my sponsors Expedia, Autobahn Indoor Speedway and Red Lion Hotels for their continued support.”
Das now has a slight break in the Championship before the third round the season takes place at Snetterton at the end of the month.