THE INSIDE TRACK: OLI WEBB ON A YEAR WITH FORTEC, RACING IN BAKU AND THE DANGERS OF MOTORSPORT

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“I think you just have to put these dangers to the back of your mind because, as soon as you can’t, you stop”.

Formula Renault 3.5 finished its European journey in France and Spain where the championship went to the final round and Kevin Magnussen was crowned champion. For Oliver Webb, two disappointing races at Paul Ricard were followed up with two consecutive points finishes in his last run in the 3.5 litre model. This left Oli, 15th in the overall 2013 championship standings. Our regular columnist took time from his busy schedule to talk exclusively to ‘stoodonthepodium’ about his season with Fortec, his other racing commitments and how he faces the dangers of Motorsport.

 

ImageA YEAR WITH FORTEC

Not much changes when it comes to the final races, just to fight even harder than before to end the season on a high! It was a great start to the season with some very good testing but the qualifying hurt us throughout the year. Our race pace was always one of the best so it’s a shame we didn’t crack it sooner. Monza was probably my favourite race! I didn’t expect to be battling Felix da Costa, Magnussen and Stoffel for the podium.

Stoffel and I became good friends however us drivers are used to having different team mates each year so we come accustom to staying in touch even if our paths split. We learnt a decent amount from each other as we have different driving styles and ways of feeling the car which has helped us, as a team, pull together to get second in the championship. Every driver needs a good team and the support has been very good. Overall it’s been a good but not great year.

There is a small chance I will stay within the Fortec Motorsports family but it all depends on the offers.

ImageBACK IN ACTION

Speaking of next year, I would say qualifying is the main aspect I would like to improve on in 2014. I remain focused on my 2014 plans but, unfortunately, it’s not really an off-season for me! I’m on route to London, Spain, LMP2 testing with Sebastian Loeb, Munich then Dubai, Abu Dhabi Gulf 12 hours GT race with McLaren until Saturday. I then return to Manchester and Liverpool on Sunday, working for Mono. And that’s just this week!

Following the season finale in Spain, I took to the streets of Baku. It was great fun and the Mercedes SLS did a great job, it’s just a shame the McLaren in front of us had a failure which broke our car with debris. Top 5 in the FIA official finale would have been great and to start the race next to the 9 times world champion, Loeb was amazing! I did get to experience some parts of Azerbaijan – it’s a cool place but the outskirts are a little dodgy!

 

ImageREMEMBERING THE RISK

Being a part of the Blancpain series next year is a possibility and driving a rally or Indy Car, one day, would be amazing as I enjoyed my time in Indy Lights last year. These are challenging cars and circuits which require concentration for long periods of time at high speeds.

It is sad that Dario Franchitti has been forced to retire and it’s news which affects us all. Hearing the news was hard but with both Henry Surtees and Dan Wheldon also passing at races I was at; it is always hard to see injury and death in the sport like this. I think you just have to put these dangers to the back of your mind because, as soon as you can’t, you stop.

 

Onboard with Oliver Webb in the LMP2 prototype car at the Navarra race circuit in Spain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t99Z5ZbEUxY&feature=youtu.be&a

Congratulations to the winners of the Oliver Webb give-away; the winners have been announced and notified. Thank you to all who took part!

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