British F3 Practice: Ahmed on Top at Snetterton

Thursday Practice for the upcoming BRDC British F3 Championship has suggested a heated battle ahead between the top five. But in the final session, when most of the fastest personal laps were set, it was Championship leader and Carlin driver Enaam Ahmed who topped the time sheets.

Who needs the riviera when you can have the Monte Carlo of Norwich? Snetterton is a tricky circuit, the Brundle and Nelson esses after Bentley straight are particularly challenging, with a high entry speed making it easy to overshoot and stagger off-line into these following two corners. The final few corners aren’t a walk in the park either. Coram is a lengthy right hander that narrows into Murrays, a tight-left final corner. Changing direction into Murrays can catch drivers out given that Coram is downhill and misjudging this can hinder the exit speed out of Murrays, which can be damaging to lap time given the length of the start/finish straight that follows. Who needs Massenet or the Nouvelle chicane, right?

Enaam Ahmed was able to set an impressive lap in his #65 Carlin car in the final session, which we will talk about given that it is this session where most drivers set their fastest times of the day. Ahmed put in a 1.44.058, with a 0.174s gap to his teammate James Pull, who had set the fastest times in the opening two Practice sessions earlier in the day.

We’re expecting a really tight scrap at the front this weekend, and the fact that Toby Sowery posted exactly the same time as Pull in his Lanan Racing machinery does suggest there will be some seriously close battles this weekend. Cameron Das was 4th fastest in the other Carlin car with a 1.44.361. Whilst he was just over three-tenths down on Enaam Ahmed today, the young American has picked up a nice habit in British F3 having collected two pole positions in the championship already. He can’t be discounted from a front-row start once again this weekend. Rounding out the top five was Fortec’s Ben Hingeley, yet another young driver who is regularly fighting at the sharp end of the F3 grid this season. He registered a time that half-a-second down on pace-setter Ahmed, with Hillspeed’s Chase Owen and Double R’s Guilherme Samaia both whiskers away from Hingeley’s 5th place time and within a tenth.

The early leader in the Championship Enaam Ahmed is hoping to add to his win tally this weekend. He said,

“I think it’s looking good for Snetterton. Obviously because I’ve won the Autumn Trophy [there] and the first round of the year last year, but I think it’s probably going to be the closest weekend of the year, just because everyone has done a lot of practice round there.

I think it’s one of the best tracks in the UK. It’s definitely one of my favourites, just purely because there’s quite a lot of corners, and also the variety of corners, the last sector is one of the most challenging sectors of any race track in the world.”

– Enaam Ahmed

One driver hoping to also add to his win tally is Fortec’s Ben Hingeley, who found himself within the top five of the final three practice sessions at Snetterton. He looks like the biggest threat to Carlin this weekend. He said,

“Every time I’ve gone there [Snet] we’ve been quick, even the first round last year I had a good start and Snetterton’s usually gone very well for me pace-wise.”

– Ben Hingeley

Qualifying commences at 11:35 on Saturday, followed by Race One at 15:20. If you’re not in Monaco this weekend, then we’d highly recommend checking out this close contest between some of the most promising drivers currently on the UK Single-seater scene. Enaam Ahmed has secured four victories from six races so far, and his time in the final session of Practice suggest that more could be in the pipeline this weekend. One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be a close contest.