Owens misses out on silverware
Raoul Owens delivered an impressive podium-challenging performance on his maiden outing in a GT4 car at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, but missed out on near-certain silverware after a late-race incident for one of his team-mates.
Qualifying third fastest in class for the opening round of the new VLN series, the 23-year-old went on to deliver a very strong showing during the four-hour race and battled for the lead of the SP10 class. Second position was very much on the cards for Owens and Walkenhorst Motorsport team-mates Michael Lyons and Thomas Hetzer but, during the final hour, retirement for their BMW M4 was triggered after a highly unfortunate on-track incident.
While disappointed to have missed out on much deserved silverware from his first race of 2018, Owens was nonetheless very happy with the overall team performance and delighted, personally, with his seamless transition to the new BMW M4 GT4.
“Getting back out on track was great and it was nice to experience the Nurburgring-Nordschleife in a different car, it added another challenge for me as a driver”, said Owens, “The BMW M4 GT4 is a fantastic car and offers a good amount of power, a lot of grip and the latest technologies. It was a shame about the incident involving my team-mate late in the race as we were headed for a good result, but that’s racing. Reflecting on my personal performance, I was very happy, adapted to the new car very quickly and it was great to be back on the Nordschleife competing in VLN again. I’m really looking forward to coming back in a few weeks and doing it all again.”
Despite a series of Code 60 zones and yellow flags in qualifying, which did mean getting a clear lap was very difficult, Owens ensured the Walkenhorst Motorsport entry started Saturday’s race in a strong third place in class. Also taking the opening stint of the contest, Owens fought strongly and after moving up into second position he battled for the class lead. Sensibly choosing to look after the car, brakes and tyres, and not taking any undue risks with a long race ahead, he settled in to second where the squad remained for the bulk of the encounter through the various phases of the race and driver changes.
“The first lap was good, I was able to have some close battles and come out on top which put us P2 in class”, addes Owens, “I then had a good battle for P1 but wanted to conserve the car for the rest of the race as we still had three hours to go. We held our well-earned P2 for most of the race, until the incident involving my team-mate. It’s a shame how it ended, but a good performance to build on.”
The second four-hour race of the VLN season takes place at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife on Saturday, 7th April.