Despite a challenging start to his weekend Cameron Das has once again shown grit and determination to secure another podium finish in the BRDC British Formula Thee Championship. The sixth round of the competitive 2017 season at Brands Hatch was a mixed weekend for the rising American single seater racing star which started with an engine failure resulting in vital track time lost in his only free practice session around the full length Grand Prix circuit. Further incidents on track left him out of position for two of the three races however he bounced back strong in the final race of the weekend to finish second overall – and claim a rightful spot back on the podium.
The sixth round of the British F3 Championship began with two days of official testing around the shorter Brands Hatch Indy circuit, at the very least giving the 17 year old a chance to get to know a handful of the corners on the circuit before the cars were released to the full length Grand Prix configuration on Saturday morning for Free Practice. However misfortune struck Das when his Tatuus-Cosworth Carlin car suffered an engine failure after just three laps. Not exactly a quick fix, this set back meant that the reigning F4 US Champion had to sit on the side lines and watch his vital track time slip away from him – putting him on the back foot to his competitors for qualifying later in the day.
Not one to let the issue get to him, Das refocused and jumped back in to his car later on to set the seventh quickest time; securing his race one starting position. Das said of his challenging start to the weekend, “The engine failure was really unfortunate and it wouldn’t have been such a big deal if I had experience on the Grand Prix circuit. It meant that I had to try and get up to speed really quickly in qualifying later in the day, which I believe I did as well as I could considering the circumstances.”
The first race of the weekend was marred by bad weather which struck at the mid-way point; despite being in a position where he would have clinched a reverse grid pole, the dark clouds overhead let loose with a torrential downpour which caught many drivers out. Sadly Das was one of those to hit the barriers before the race was red flagged. This is turn left him at the back of the field for the second race of the weekend during which bad luck hit again. Tapped by another driver from behind, having made great progress in the initial stages, Das’ right rear tire was punctured which forced him to pit for new rubber and left him well and truly down the order with the only option being to set a fast lap in order to qualify well for race three.
Das reflected on the races, “The first race was a bit frustrating to say the least. In race one, I was in position to have the reverse grid pole for race two, but I understeered off the track in turn one as rain started coming down seemingly out of nowhere. It was a mistake on my part, but I’ve learned tremendously for it.
“In Race two, I moved up from 15th to ninth and I was battling for eighth when another driver punctured my right rear tire. I rushed back to the pits as fast as I could on three wheels in order to get a new tire. It was a bit annoying but the real goal after that was to set a qualifying lap for race three, and I was able to do that well.”
For race three Das was back where he belonged. Having qualified in second he didn’t look back as the lights went out and raced well to return to a brilliant podium position in second – also ensuring that he moves up to fourth place in the Championship standings with two rounds to go.
“This has definitely been the most challenging weekend yet but I think the final result and getting on the podium showed how hard we worked as a team despite the hardships we faced.”
Speaking of the championship he said, “I moved up a position in the standings despite the issues we had early in the weekend so that’s certainly a promising sign for the final segment of the season.”
The penultimate race weekend of the 2017 BRDC British Formula Three season will take place at Snetterton at the end of August.