2006 British Formula Ford Champion, Nathan Freke, impressed at his debut race in the Porsche Carrera Cup at Oulton Park last weekend.

In his first competitive race of 2007 Nathan was under pressure to perform well, despite not racing since the Formula Ford Festival of 2006. The weekend began with 2 open testing sessions on Friday, both of which were wet, Nathan showed his class with 7th quickest in the first session and then holding 2nd quickest until the last lap of the 2nd session, eventually finishing 3rd. ‘I was really pleased with my performance considering that I have only had 8 laps of Snetterton prior to this, I could have been quickest but had a minor off when pushing hard on the last lap,’ commented Nathan after practice. With rain forecast for the weekend hopes were high for a good result.

Saturday morning and dismay as the predicted rain does not materialise, this would make it very difficult as Nathan has had no dry testing in the car at all. Also the track is a bit greasy, but in typical fashion Nathan gets on with the job and qualifying starts well until a red flag curtails the session for 8 minutes allowing all of the heat to dissipate from his tyres. In the remains of the session Nathan pushes hard and eventually ends up 8th after having his last 2 laps ruined by a slower car.

The day continues dry and when the race time arrives Nathan takes his place on grid 8. He gets an excellent start only to be baulked by the next row on the grid, however he gets by one of the cars in front on the first lap hairpin and then spends the next 5 laps chasing and eventually passes the next car for 6th place. By now the first 5 have disappeared into the distance and Nathan continues in 6th place to the flag getting valuable track time as he gets quicker with each lap.

Sunday afternoon sees a dry track once again and Nathan takes his place on grid 6, knowing that a good start is essential. The start is good and he chases the train of cars up to the hairpin, and getting the better exit fro the corner is alongside the 5th place car at the next chicane, being on the outside the other car has to give up the place and Nathan is into 5th. Over the next 6 laps he builds a small gap to the car behind and is holding station behind the 4th place car, when on lap 7 the same car that ruined qualifying also appears in the centre of the track as he is being lapped at the exit of the chicane. This slows Nathan and the 6th place car is now able to get back on terms and take back the place at the end of the lap. Nathan is now struggling to get back on terms as the car starts to misbehave – a soft setting on the roll bar for the expected rain proves to be the culprit. 6th place is the result but in terms of lap times Nathan is now on a par with the top drivers, and with perhaps one more session would have been competing for a podium.

Overall an excellent weekends competition against a very strong and experienced field. ‘I am looking at ways of finding funds to compete in some more rounds of the series so that I can show that I can win in this category of racing as well as single seaters. My thanks to Porsche GB for the car and excellent engineering setup.’

Story by Clive Freke