Oliver Oakes produced an impressive performance on the final weekend of the British F3 International Series season at Donington Park.
Oakes stunned the field by taking his maiden F3 pole position for the second race of the weekend, with the Eurotek driver going seven-tenths of a second quicker than the man who joined him on the front row of the grid; champion elect Jaime Alguersuari.
The 20-year-old had earlier managed eleventh on the grid for race one which left him on the damp side of the grid at the start. As a result, he lost places off the start and despite making up places, found himself stuck behind John Martin – taking the flag in 13th place.
“It was always going to be tough,” he said. “I dropped to 15th on the run in to Redgate. I was quite quickly up to 13th but nearly every corner is taken in fourth or fifthh gear, and with the lap times being so close, you can't really get a run on someone and then do them under braking.”
At the start of race two, Alguersuari quickly jumped into the lead of he race with Oakes fighting to hold second through Redgate on the opening lap. Having suffered under-steer through the Old Hairpin, he dropped down to fifth place and then lost another place while fighting with Sergio Perez when he was forced wide.
Having battled hard through the remainder of the race, Oakes took the flag in sixth place, marking his best result of the season.
“I did well,” he said. “I was second off the line but Perez tapped me and then pushed me wide into Redgate. Into the Craners, everyone had the momentum on me and several cars got past.
“It was a shame because I got back up to fourth and was on the tail of Hartley and Perez. Going into the Esses, Sergio and I touched wheels and this allowed Abay past. I caught Abay and Perez again, but Ericsson and Smith then went past. I got Marcus back and that was pretty much it. It was a tough race and hard to hang onto the top boys.
“It was good though, it shows that I can mix it with them. For a privateer team with very little experience, to get sixth at the last of the race of the year is brilliant.”
Oakes will now enjoy a two-day test with the Carlin team as a result of his performances on track.
“I've had one test with the team which went well,” he said. “In an ideal world, I'd like to race with them next season but I've got to find the budget first, so we'll see.”