Samuel Oram-Jones had a character building start to the opening two rounds of the 2011 British Formula Kart Stars (FKS) series at Rowrah in Cumbria last weekend, but still came away with his very first national class pole and a top-five finish in the round one final.

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, made a great start to the proceedings in his RL Racing Department Ltd-run kart. Indeed having been comfortably up in the top-five in practice on the Friday, he was quickest on a 48.971 second lap in qualifying for the first FKS round on Saturday, three thousandths up on his nearest rival.

He then looked well on course to capitalise on his great Q performance and was comfortably leading the first heat, until it started to rain. The 13-year-old missed the signal to slow and skidded off on lap 9, dropping down to 20th. He persevered though and fought back to 11th at the finish, ending up with the theoretical quickest lap in the process.

The second heat was similarly frustrating and on the wrong tyres he had to settle for 16th.

That left him 14th on the grid for the round one final of the Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone Formula One Management-backed series, but Sammy put his head down, moving up to 10th on the opening lap and then clawing his way back up to 5th at the finish right on the tail of the leading four.

"I was very happy to get pole position," Sammy reflected. "In the first heat it was going great but then I hit a wet patch on the track and lost control. That dropped me right down, although I managed to come back to eleventh.

"For the second heat we put on wets but as it turned out we should have had slicks and we just went backwards. The final went well however. I had a good start and made my way up the grid from there. It was a good result to get fifth, especially after what happened in the heats."

The next day promised much for Sammy, but mechanical problems, which left him down on power, meant he was only 13th in the second FKS MiniMax qualifying session.

The same issue hampered him in the two heats too, leaving him 11th and 16th, and despite a determined and comprehensive effort from his team, which saw practically every electrical part replaced for the round two final, it was to no avail and handicapped he could do no better than 16th again.

"We just had a problem all day and we never found out what it was. We were really down on power everywhere," Sammy lamented.

"It wasn't a completely bad weekend from our point of view though. Qualifying on pole was the most pleasing bit. We've just got to keep working at it and then we can move forward in the championship."

Sammy will now be back in action in the Formula Kart Series (FKS) in a few weeks time when he heads to the Three Sisters Race Circuit in Wigan on May 21-22, a place that holds fond memories for him, as he took his debut FKS win there at the end of last year - and last month also set a new unofficial fastest ever MiniMax lap record on the 3S Club Circuit.

"We were quick at Three Sisters last time," Sammy continued. "I want to win again and hopefully move up the standings.

"We had some good and bad times at Rowrah. Hopefully it will all be good at Three Sisters."

RL Racing Department Ltd team owner Steve Armstrong meanwhile was impressed with Sammy's form, but disappointed with the issues with the kart, although he has vowed that they will get to the bottom of it and ensure it doesn't hinder the Pro Performance-affiliated youngster again.

"I think Sammy drove really well," Steve commented. "The only mistake he made was on Saturday when it started to rain in the dry heat. He was leading and fell off. But obviously as leader you always tend to hit the wet patch first.

"But like I say he didn't really put a foot wrong all weekend apart from that. It was just unfortunate we had this problem on the Sunday. It was a bit strange because he put it on pole on Saturday in qualifying and led the first heat in the dry. In all the dry running on Saturday he was fastest. But there was a big problem on Sunday. It was straight line speed, that was the issue, and we could tell that from the data. But we couldn't get it fixed.

"We will be going through everything now. We have narrowed it down and it will be sorted for the next event.

"He should be able to do well at Three Sisters. A top-three is realistic and obviously victory is the main aim."



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