25 May Podium finish for O’Keeffe
This weekend, Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup took on Fortec’s home circuit of Silverstone, resulting in a podium finish for South African, Callan O’Keeffe.
The first race of the weekend saw a number of battles take place throughout the grid. Starting in third, O’Keeffe was on Sasahara’s tail from the go.
In the first lap, after starting in eleventh, Alex Gill had progressed up into tenth. Jehan Daruvala and Ferdinand Habsburg also got off to an impressive start with Daruvala gaining four places in the first lap, progressing from twentieth to sixteenth while Habsburg moved from twenty-third to seventeenth, making up six places. Charlie Eastwood retained his position of thirteenth.
O’Keeffe continued to put pressure on Sasahara, fighting to claim second place.
With sixteen minutes remaining two of the Fortec pack made further progress, with Daruvala moving into fifteenth place and Habsburg into sixteenth.
As the race continued, a new battle was brewing between Gill and Noble in the fight for ninth position. Gill continued to close the gap and with 8 minutes left of the race, he was just 0.7 seconds behind Noble.
Into the closing stages of the race, the gap between teammates Habsburg and Daruvala was narrowing rapidly. Habsburg fell behind while Deruvala took the place.
After a consistent race, O’Keeffe made the podium in third position. Gill enjoyed a top ten finish in tenth while Eastwood crossed the line in thirteenth. Daruvala finished in sixteenth position.Habsburg finished in eighteenth, closely followed by Chudleigh in nineteenth and Claman De Melo in twentieth.
“It was a good race” commented O’Keeffe. “Obviously the beginning was unfortunate, as I’d gone back a grid position which set us back a little bit. However, I then got a good start and was able to keep up with Deletraz and put some pressure on Sasahara. He started to check out at the front and then it was just bringing the car back. Luckily the team gave me a great car and from then on I was able to bring in my first podium for Fortec. I am really pleased and hopefully it is the first of many and we’ll be on the top step sooner rather than later.”
The second race of the weekend was interrupted by a long lasting safety car period after just one lap.
O’Keeffe, starting on the grid in fifth, showed consistency from the green flag while Gill started his race from tenth. Daruvala began the race in fourteenth position, followed by teammate Eastwood in fifteenth. Chudleigh started on the grid in nineteenth, behind Claman De Melo in seventeenth. Habsburg made his race start from twentieth.
During the first lap, Chudleigh collided with Mazepin, causing an early retirement to the second race of the weekend. The safety car was quickly deployed whilst the track was cleared.
With just eleven minutes left on the clock, the safety car returned to the pits, signalling a restart for the cars.
With such little time left on the track, there was not enough time for significant progress to be made.
O’Keeffe crossed the line in fifth while Gill finished in eleventh. Eastwood made up a place to fourteenth, closely followed by Daruvala in fifteenth. Habsburg was able to progress through the grid, gaining four places and resulting in sixteenth. Claman De Melo finished the final race of the weekend in nineteenth.