Update: Askew Second, Kirkwood Eighth Qualify Comfortably for the Final

Written by Team USA. Posted in Feature, Team USA News

Published on October 23, 2016 with No Comments

Askew on the podium for his Semi Final.

BRANDS HATCH, England – Oliver Askew and Kyle Kirkwood continued their impressive form this morning during their Semi Final race to cement positions on the starting grid for this afternoon’s 45th edition of the famed Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch.

Perfect weather conditions once again greeted the 64 contenders as they were split into a pair of Semi Final races.

After lining up fourth and ninth, respectively, for Semi Final 1, Askew made an excellent start to jump into third, while Kirkwood settled into ninth after some jockeying for position at the first corner, Paddock Hill Bend, and at the ensuing Druid’s hairpin. A few separate incidents necessitated an appearance by the Safety Car for a few laps, after which polesitter and 2013 Festival Champion Niall Murray immediately began to pull away in the lead. Former British champion Stuart Gough held second but remained under intense pressure from Askew, which paid off on Lap 10 when Gough made a small mistake and Askew took advantage by making an incisive move under braking for Clearways.

Askew under pressure from Luke Cooper.

“I was just dodging in his mirrors, forced him into a mistake going into the hill, and then into the last corner he tried to defend but left just enough room for me,” related Askew (left and above). “I got in there and he gave me the space and after that I just tried to put in some great laps and make a gap.”

Kirkwood, who celebrated his 18th birthday earlier this week, overcame the effects of a sore right shoulder to finish eighth.

“I’ve been struggling with my shoulder,” admitted Kirkwood. “I think I tore something in the heat yesterday because it’s something which is just persistently getting worse. It was very bad for that last race, so we’ve switched something with the gear lever and hopefully I can start using another muscle to shift because that’s where I was losing it all. I probably could have gained a couple more positions if it hadn’t been for that.”

A typically fraught Semi Final 2 was won by former British Formula Ford Champion Scott Malvern from Finland’s Patrik Pasma and Englishman Luke Williams. Houston, Texas native Chase Owen drove well to rise from 11th on the grid to fifth, while Cliff Dempsey Racing teammate Parker Thompson, carrying the colors of the Team Canada Scholarship, was unfortunately eliminated following an incident on the opening lap.

Askew and Kirkwood will line up on Rows Two and Eight, with Owen also in the mix on Row Five for the 20-lap Final which is due to start at 5:35 PM local time but is likely to commence earlier. Live streaming video and commentary will be available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTWFN_MJTA8, and timing at http://tsl-timing.com/event/164231.

About Team USA Scholarship:
The program has been providing opportunities for talented American race car drivers at an early stage in their careers since 1990. Supporters include Doug Mockett & Company, the Road Racing Drivers Club and SAFEisFAST.com, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing, Honda Performance Development, Basecamp, Robertson Racing, CXC Simulations, Lucas Oil School of Racing, PitFit Training, RaceCraft1, Sparco USA, Bell Racing, RACER Magazine, Speedstar Management, Styled Aesthetic and Manifest Group.

Action photo courtesy of Jack Mitchell/JAM Motorsport Photography

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