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Round-up: Teenager Clarke confident of a breakthrough

PUBLISHED: 12:12 10 July 2019 | UPDATED: 12:12 10 July 2019

Oliver Clarke joining the Pittsburgh International Raceway, Pennsylvania circuit to contest the latest round of the USA Formula 4 Championship Picture: Fewkes Sport Management

Oliver Clarke joining the Pittsburgh International Raceway, Pennsylvania circuit to contest the latest round of the USA Formula 4 Championship Picture: Fewkes Sport Management

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Oliver Clarke's latest trip to contest the United States Formula 4 Championship proved challenging for the Downham Market 16-year-old, with a best result of 10th place.

Downham Market’s Oliver Clarke at speed in the latest round of the USA Formula 4 Championship at the Pittsburgh International Raceway Picture Fewkes Sport ManagementDownham Market’s Oliver Clarke at speed in the latest round of the USA Formula 4 Championship at the Pittsburgh International Raceway Picture Fewkes Sport Management

"It has been a tough weekend," reflected Clarke. "One top-10 finish is frustrating, but we are well aware of how competitive this championship is."

The teenager took part in the two-day test prior to the Pittsburgh International Raceway round, but was unable to post better than 15th fastest lap time during the qualifying session.

A demon start to race one saw Clarke make progress and he quickly latched on to the battle for seventh place, but despite several attempts to make further progress he took the chequered flag in 10th.

Clarke started race two from the same position, but a difficult race saw him finish a lap down at the end.

Attleborough'’s Jeremy Clark battling away in the early stages of the latest Historic 70s Road Sports race which took place at Brands Hatch Picture: Paul LawrenceAttleborough'’s Jeremy Clark battling away in the early stages of the latest Historic 70s Road Sports race which took place at Brands Hatch Picture: Paul Lawrence

From 14th on the grid for race three Clarke duelled with Josh Bethune and Guilherme Peixoto, but narrowly missed out on another top-10 finish, by just one position.

"I don't think we are too far away from that breakthrough result," he said. "We've just got to keep working hard as a team, make progress and I'm sure it will come."

Pole position, fastest race lap and a hard-fought victory at Brands Hatch has elevated Attleborough's Jeremy Clark into second place in the Historic 70s Road Sports Championship.

Reigning title holder Clark, who has to make up for non-starting the opening round due to an engine oil leak, saw rival Jim Dean blast past his Lotus Elan with his Lotus Europa at the start of the race.

The Historic Formula Two GRD 273 of Glenn Eagling who was holding a podium place at Brands Hatch until engine problems late in the race ended the Dereham racer's event Picture: Paul LawrenceThe Historic Formula Two GRD 273 of Glenn Eagling who was holding a podium place at Brands Hatch until engine problems late in the race ended the Dereham racer's event Picture: Paul Lawrence

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"It's a longer race today so I just waited and watched," said Clark, who flew by the race leader when a gearbox problem struck the Europa but had to fend off Will Leverett's Europa before taking the chequered flag.

After burning the midnight oil repairing the engine in his Ferrari 308 GTB, John Dickson just made it to the Kent track but suffered a water leak from the head gasket in qualifying.

Undeterred, the Rickinghall racer attempted a quick fix in the paddock which failed shortly after the start of the race.

Reigning British Touring Car title holder Colin Turkington claims his 50th series victory at Oulton Park with his BMW 330i M Sport which has dominated the series so far this season Picture: Jakob Ebrey PhotographyReigning British Touring Car title holder Colin Turkington claims his 50th series victory at Oulton Park with his BMW 330i M Sport which has dominated the series so far this season Picture: Jakob Ebrey Photography

"I had to try," said Dickson on his efforts to make the race.

Glenn Eagling's fantastic run of results with his Historic Formula Two Griston-built GRD 273 came to an end at Brands Hatch when a suspected valve problem locked up the engine just as the Dereham racer was in a podium place.

Fans of the British Touring Car Championship will be able to get a preview of the Snetterton round, to be held over the weekend of August 3-4, next Tuesday and Wednesday when the series conducts a mid-season tyre test at the Norfolk venue with free admission.

Currently the new-for-2019 BMW 330i M Sport, produced by West Surrey Racing, is the car to beat, having clocked up nine wins from 15 races in the hands of reigning champion Colin Turkington and former title holder Andrew Jordan.

Rob Smith’s accident at Oulton Park which wrecked his EXCERL8 Motorsport MG6. Picture: Dickon SiddallRob Smith’s accident at Oulton Park which wrecked his EXCERL8 Motorsport MG6. Picture: Dickon Siddall

Giving chase are the Honda Civic-mounted Josh Cook and Rory Butcher plus the Subaru Levorg of Ash Sutton, who will all be hoping to close the gap when the series returns to race at Snetterton in August.

Meanwhile, the locally-based EXCELR8 Motorsport will be flat out readying their pair of MG6s which were heavily damaged at the previous round in the hands of Rob Smith and Sam Osborne.

Christopher Wesemael lost his unbeaten RGB record on Saturday at Snetterton when Danny Andrew passed him mid-way through the first race to inflict his first defeat of the season. Retirement from race two gave Andrew an easy run to his second victory.

Having taken the lead of the opening Toyota MR2 on lap three, Bury St Edmunds racer Shaun Traynor sailed off into the distance while in the second race he had to settle for fourth place.

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