OLLIE MILLROY TOP ROOKIE AT HOCKENHEIM Ollie Millroy bounced back from a dramatic first lap crash in the first of two Formula BMW Europe Championship races at Hockenheim to take ninth in race two and finish top rookie. The 18 year-old started...
OLLIE MILLROY TOP ROOKIE AT HOCKENHEIM
Ollie Millroy bounced back from a dramatic first lap crash in the first of two Formula BMW Europe Championship races at Hockenheim to take ninth in race two and finish top rookie. The 18 year-old started the weekend in good form running on the pace throughout Friday's free practice in a session in which the field was the closest it's been all year.
The BMW Junior development driver was 11th fastest but just three tenths of a second would have moved him up to fifth, leaving the Claygate teenager confident ahead of qualifying. "I was very happy with the pace we had in free practice as the session was particularly close throughout. Just tenths of a second could make the difference between tenth and fifth so I'm very happy with the way we've improved so far through the season."
However problems finding a clear track in the crucial 25-minute qualifying session ended his chances of showing his true potential. A good run on his second set of new tyres put him 13th quickest although the British MSA Race Elite Academy driver was disappointed as he felt he could have been in the top ten.
Ollie lined up 13th for the first race held on Saturday morning and made a superb start off the line to pass three cars as they filed into the first corner. Another determined performance by the youngster enabled him to pass another three at turn two putting him seventh as they entered the third corner.
As they turned into the hairpin, Ollie was in the perfect position to get right on terms with the leaders when from behind, fellow BMW scholarship driver, David Mengesdorf, was tapped by another car. This resulted in him careering across the track and into the side of Ollie flipping him upside down and ending his race on the spot.
Luckily Ollie was uninjured in the accident but understandably annoyed to be eliminated while in a strong position to challenge the leaders. "We were right on the pace in qualifying and in the race and I was in a strong position to be right up at the front until the crash. I'd made an awesome start and made up a lot of places but then I was taken out, which I feel could have been avoided.
"I spun round a few times while I was upside down but luckily nobody hit me, so apart from body damage, the car was reasonably OK and thankfully the team did a great job to get the car out again for race two on Sunday morning".
In the second race, Ollie lined up tenth and again made a storming start to get up to sixth on the opening lap. On lap two he moved his way into fifth where he stayed until a fuel pump problem, most likely as a result of the accident, three laps from home hampered his charge. Despite a loss of power, which cost him four places, Ollie continued to the flag to finish ninth and top rookie.
"It was very much a mixture of emotions this weekend. In race two, I made another great start and got up to fifth until the fuel surge. We're pretty certain that was caused by the fuel pump dropping into the tank while I was upside down and possibly lodged out of place, causing the car to run out of fuel early.
"Despite that I think it was a very positive weekend as I think we showed that I now have the pace to be a front-runner and could very easily have had two top six finishes.
"I had a new driver coach this weekend in Joey Foster and he's been fantastic, he really brought structure to the weekend and has helped me a lot. The whole team has worked really hard but of course we still all have a lot to learn. I'm in only my first season in cars and I know there is more to come from me and the car, but we're on the way.
"Hopefully we can build on the pace and performance we had here this weekend and take that forward to Hungary in two weeks time, where in testing a few weeks ago I was quick. It will be very hot there so I'll be spending time in the heat chamber this week with my trainers Pro-Performance to get acclimatised to the conditions before we go."