DOUBLE PODIUM THRUSTS HOWSON BACK INTO CONTENTION Matt Howson turned around a run of difficult races with two hard-earned podium finishes in rounds 15 and 16 of the 2005 Formula BMW UK Championship at Knockhill on Bank Holiday weekend. The ...
DOUBLE PODIUM THRUSTS HOWSON BACK INTO CONTENTION
Matt Howson turned around a run of difficult races with two hard-earned podium finishes in rounds 15 and 16 of the 2005 Formula BMW UK Championship at Knockhill on Bank Holiday weekend.
The Filsell Motorsport driver led the points in the spring, but was stymied by a series of car problems in the June and July races, costing him vital ground. Knockhill saw Matt firmly back where he should be -- at the front of the field fighting for victory. He started well by qualifying fourth for both races, but wasn't totally satisfied with this.
"Qualifying fourth was average," he said. "We're still working on getting the car right, and we still have a couple of little problems. Also, Knockhill is a bad circuit for traffic, and you have to get yourself in the right place. But it was definitely better for me."
While the practice day had been dry throughout, the weather became more stereotypically Scottish on race day -- when incessant wind and rain turned Knockhill extremely treacherous. Reasonably unfazed by this, Howson moved up to third at the start of race one, then found himself stuck behind Philip Glew, a late addition to the series who is ineligible for points.
"Glew openly says that he's not very quick in the wet, and you have to respect him for being so honest about it," said Matt. "But I wasn't really free to attack Phil because I had Ross Curnow right behind me, and with the way my year's gone I can't afford to chuck away the chance of a good result. So it was an awkward situation -- chasing Glew whole having to defend hard at the same time. Because Phil can't score, I knew I had second place points in the bag, so I was happy with a podium."
Race two was even wetter, and even more frenetic, as early leaders Glew and Oliver Turvey struggled for speed and grip and caused something of a traffic jam.
"The first few laps were absolutely mental," said Howson. "Conditions were appalling, and everyone was stacking up behind Ollie and Phil, and I went three-abreast into the hairpin at least twice. It was just crazy, but fantastic racing, the sort of thing that's not always possible in the dry. If it hadn't rained, it would have been hard to progress from fourth on the grid."
Howson emerged from the chaos in a strong second place, and then closed in on leader Curnow after a safety car period. Once again, Matt had to attack and defend simultaneously as Nathan Antunes appeared on his tail. He made sure of second place, set fastest lap along the way, and leapt a lot closer to points leader Sam Bird.
"The championship is still a long shot, but I am very pleased with the weekend's results," said Howson. "Sam's got to have at least two bad results if I'm going to catch him. He's starting to feel the pressure, while the pressure on me is that I know I have to get a good result in every race if I'm going to have a hope of being champion or even second in the standings."
The chase of Bird continues at Silverstone on 17-18th September,