MECHANICAL GREMLINS HAMPER OLLIE'S WEEKEND
Ollie Millroy had a challenging outing at rounds 11 and 12 of the Formula BMW Europe Championship, at the Valencia street circuit this weekend. Racing alongside the F1 drivers at the European Grand Prix, the Fisichella Motorsport International star struggled with a front brake problem during free practice and qualifying which prevented him from achieving his aim of a top six finish.
The problem resulted in one bar of pressure being applied to the brakes, which made handling difficult in the corners and resulted in a loss of speed down the long straights of the very impressive new street circuit of Valencia. In Friday's free practice Ollie was again amongst the quickest for the first few laps until the problem with the car started to reduce the lap times.
Heading onto the unknown Valencia circuit, the Claygate teenager had high hopes of a strong finish but was again plagued with the problem in the crucial qualifying, which resulted in 20th and 23rd grid slots.
In the first 10-lap race on Saturday afternoon the MSA Race Elite Academy driver drove solidly to make up nine places to cross the line 11th at the flag and get himself comfortably into the points.
In race two, held on Sunday morning, with a new brake system fitted, another great drive from the BMW Junior Development Driver to get up to 15th showed his capability. However his charge was thwarted when the race was stopped after seven laps and not restarted, due to an accident, bringing an end to his progress.
"Unfortunately I was struggling for pace for most of the weekend, because of an unusual brake problem that occurred when the system got hot," said Ollie. "After four or five laps, pressure of about one bar was being applied, which was rubbing off speed down the straights and making the car difficult to handle in the corners.
"I'm disappointed because I know I can do a lot better, but the team are paying the price for the lack of pre-season testing and having to learn about the car and set up at race weekends.
"Valencia is a fantastic place to be in the summer and the circuit is absolutely awesome. It's very different to any other track that we drive on and although it's a street circuit it's quite wide and very fast. I enjoyed the experience immensely and although it was a difficult weekend I know the circuit now and I am looking forward to racing there again".
Ollie's next outing is the penultimate round of the Formula BMW Europe championship, at the fantastic Spa Francorchamps in Belgium, on September 5th/6th/7th.