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Oram-Jones remains resolute at Three Sisters

24 May 2011

Samuel Oram-Jones put in a steadfast performance in rounds three and four of the 2011 British Formula Kart Stars (FKS) series at Three Sisters in Wigan last weekend and his team finally overcame an elusive problem with his kart.

Sammy, who competes in the MiniMax class for 11-16 year-olds and who also contests the same class in the British Super One Rotax Series, was initially slowed by the same mechanical issue which left him down on power last month during the opening two rounds of FKS at Rowrah. Despite the best efforts of his team the problem has persisted since then and it wasn't until Friday practice that it was finally resolved after a complete engine re-build.

By then however the 13-year-old was already left playing catch-up having missed crucial time to set-up his RL Racing Department Ltd-run kart. In practice on Saturday he was 17th quickest, but he found more speed in qualifying and was up to 12th. His recovery continued in the two heats and in both he battled his way up to seventh.

Sammy then took a very commendable fifth in the round three final of the Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone Formula One Management-backed series, despite slipping to eleventh at the start.

“Coming into the weekend we still had the problem we had at Rowrah,” explained the Milton Keynes-based teenager. “We figured out what it was though and I felt much more confident on the Saturday and we got up to fifth in the final after taking two sevenths in the heats.

“The final went really well after the start. I moved forward quite a few places and we got some important points on the board.”

The next day Sammy was eager to maintain the momentum, but unfortunately he found himself hindered by traffic in the second FKS MiniMax qualifying session and had to settle for 15th.

Undeterred, he bounced back in the first heat and finished fourth, making up ten positions during the 18-lap race. Although he couldn't match that in the second heat, he still took ninth, the same position he claimed in the round four FKS final.

“I started 15th in the heats as I just never got a clear lap in qualifying,” Sammy recalled. “But in the first heat we came through to fourth. I was quite pleased with that.

“For the final we started seventh, but people started defending really early and the front pack just broke away. We ended up ninth again, like we were in the second heat. Overall we were a bit unlucky. The main thing however is that we have moved forward from our problem and have moved forward in the championship. That is encouraging.”

The Pro Performance-affiliated youngster will now be back in action in the Formula Kart Series (FKS) in mid-June when the series heads to Glan-Y-Gors in North Wales (June 18-19). Before that though, he will be competing again this coming weekend in the prestigious four-day ABkC 2011 'O' Plate Meeting at Rowrah, something that will give him valuable track time ahead of the Super One Rotax Series event at the same venue on June 4-5.

“I'm confident at that track,” Sammy continued. “I came third there at the last club meeting - and that was with the problems with the kart. So without the issues it should be fine.”

RL Racing Department Ltd team owner Steve Armstrong meanwhile was relieved to finally get the kart sorted and is confident Sammy will now go from strength-to-strength.

“Basically for the last few weeks we've still had the same problem [as we had for the second FKS round],” Steve commented. “But we finally nailed the issue on the Friday and then we were back to the speed we had before.

“Sammy had some solid heats on the Saturday, but was on the outside of the grid for the start of the [round three] final. It is quite difficult there and he got put off. He came back through however, and got to the lead group at the end and was fifth.

“On the Sunday he made things a bit difficult after only qualifying 15th. But he still ran in the lead group. He just couldn't get up as far as he needed too, having starting that far back. If you do that you are always on the back-foot. But the speed is definitely back.

“It is just a matter of building his confidence back up now. He has to find his feet again. I am sure he will be okay at the 'O' Plate Meeting and back to form. He was on pole at Rowrah in FKS last month, so there is no reason he shouldn't be back on top.”

Sammy's father and manager, Emil, echoed those thoughts: “We were hoping for a little bit more at Three Sisters, but given where we were with the significant problems over the last few weeks we are happy with the outcome,” he added. “Sammy's determination, despite the fact we've had these issues, has really shone through.

“He has remained focused on the job and he could have finished fourth in the final on Saturday but he got knocked wide on the last lap. He is getting quite close to being back to where he should be and being consistently on the podium.”


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