Shahaan EngineerShahaan Engineer continued to deliver an exceptional standard during the latest Certina Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship test of the pre-season at Oulton Park Island Circuit this week, the single-seater rookie ending both days third fastest – a mere fraction shy of the outright pace.

On Tuesday, 13th March, the 16-year-old Fortec Motorsports racer built further on the superb progress made at Snetterton in Norfolk last week. After choosing to sit out the first session, he took to the Oulton Park circuit – his first ever run on the 2.23 mile configuration – in the second morning run and, with very old tyres, lapped in 1m20.479 seconds (120.42mph).

With new rubber for the first afternoon outing he improved to 1m18.195 seconds (122.80mph) and then in the fourth and final session of the day, the young Indian posted a quickest time of 1m17.811 seconds (124.54mph).

Ultimately placing him third fastest overall, only 0.188 seconds shy of the top of the timesheets, he did have a chance on his final lap of the day to post the best time of anyone. Producing the quickest first sector, the smallest of errors in sector two proved costly so he had to settle for third fastest.

“It felt quite frustrating not to have ended the first day fastest, we were on course to do that but I made a small mistake on my last lap and that made the difference”, explained Shahaan, “It was a very good day for us overall but you always want to be quickest if you can. The car was working really well, we had a different engine from the one damaged at Snetterton and it all felt good.”

Shahaan was never out of the top three all day on Wednesday, 14th March, and was actually second fastest in two of the day’s four sessions, which were shared with slower cars from the InterSteps and Formula Ford championships.

Beginning day two with a best lap of 1m18.564 seconds (102.00mph), a session in which he sat atop the times for a large chunk of the 55-minute period until others elected to take new tyres, Shahaan improved to 1m18.395 seconds (102.22mph) in session two to go second quickest.

Session three proved pleasing and frustrating in equal measure. The Formula Renault 2.0 UK racer set consistently impressive times once again but was prevented from snatching the top spot when the session was red flagged. He concluded the run third fastest with a time of 1m18.417 seconds (102.19mph), only 0.1 seconds away from the head of the timing screens.

Rounding out the afternoon with another top two performance in the final run, posting his quickest lap of the day of 1m17.947 seconds (102.80mph), Shahaan concluded Wednesday third overall once again and within just over 0.2 seconds of the outright pace.

“Day two was good again for us, we were very consistent and always challenging in the top two or three so I’m quite happy with that”, he added, “We’re definitely moving in the right direction and the team is very happy with what we’ve achieved so far, that’s always what you want to hear. It’s been a good couple of days, now on to Brands Hatch next week!”

Officially timed pre-season testing continues on Monday, 19th March, and Tuesday, 20th March, at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent which will also be the venue for the first two rounds of the Certina Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship on 31st March/1st April.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.