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Oram-Jones leaps up the standings
23 June 2011
Samuel Oram-Jones has vaulted up the championship standings following rounds five and six of the 2011 British Formula Kart Stars (FKS) series at Glan Y Gors in North Wales last weekend.
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, came into the event just outside the top-ten, but following a largely positive weekend - including taking a very fine fourth in the round five final - he is now joint seventh overall, once dropped scores are taken into account, with 665 points on the board.
The Milton Keynes-based teenager began by setting the tenth best time in the first qualifying session, even though conditions were changeable and even though he wasn't completely happy with the set-up of his kart.
Sammy then took ninth in the first heat and sixth in the second, as he got the better of his rivals immediately around him and progressed up the order in his RL Racing Department Ltd-run machine.
Those performances set the tone for the round five final of the Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone Formula One Management-backed series, and the 13-year-old ran near the front throughout, holding third early on, before gaining fifth - which later turned out to be fourth when one of his competitors was disqualified - on the very final tour.
“We weren't completely sure about the set-up in qualifying,” Sammy explained, “and with the track always changing when we were out there we didn't get it quite right.
“We moved forward in the heats though and the second one was very pleasing. That gave us a good start position for the final. The kart was really well set-up for it and we finished well.”
The next day Sammy had another tough time in the second FKS MiniMax qualifying session and had to settle for 14th.
However two determined drives in the heats saw him recover to take seventh and eighth and while the round six FKS final proved more difficult, with the Pro Performance-affiliated youngster slipping to 13th mid-race, he recovered to take tenth at the chequered flag.
“We made quite a few changes after qualifying,” Sammy continued, “and then we moved forward again in the heats and got a seventh and eighth, so it was pretty consistent. We changed a few more things for the final, but didn't really progress as much as we would have liked.
“Still it was a consistent weekend overall and the main highlight was the fourth place in the final on Saturday. We got a lot of points there.
“We have also moved up in the championship, which is the important thing. I am now joint seventh and that is really good. The people at the front of the championship aren't too far away and it is nice to have closed up on them a bit.”
Sammy will now continue his campaign in the 2011 Formula Kart Series (FKS) in August, when the series moves to Genk in Belgium for rounds seven and eight (August 13-14). Prior to that though, there is no let up as he will be back in action in the 2011 Super One Rotax Series, competing this coming weekend at Larkhall in Scotland (June 25-26) and then at Buckmore on July 23-24.
“We haven't been to Larkhall for two years - although I don't think it will influence my preparations too much,” Sammy added. “I have just got to re-learn the layout and so on and then be as quick as I can. We will try and do really well. Top five finishes would be good.”
RL Racing Department Ltd team owner Steve Armstrong meanwhile was happy with Sammy's form at Glan Y Gors and he was especially impressed with his performance in the round five final.
“Sammy had a pretty strong weekend and no major dramas,” Steve commented. “I think everyone came out of it fairly satisfied. The decent points haul is the main thing and he has moved forward in the championship. Based on our calculations he has progressed a lot further in the standings and should now be a lot deeper into the top-ten.
“Saturday was particularly pleasing and the result in the final was very good. Sunday was a bit tougher. It was a difficult day set-up wise and also you don't get a second set of tyres. The surface is very abrasive at Glan Y Gors and that is tougher for the smaller drivers'. But I think we did okay. It wasn't ideal but it was still another pretty good points' haul.
“Now it is on to Larkhall for Super One. Sammy hasn't been there for a couple of years and he didn't manage to get to the pre-race test. But we did five days there last month and with the other guys we have got a good base set-up. I'm sure he will be okay. I don't foresee any problems with him picking it up and getting quickly up to speed.”
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