UK: Matt Howson Rockingham report

MATT HOWSON RACE REPORT VICTORIOUS HOWSON RETAKES CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD Matt Howson came to Rockingham Motor Speedway for the third meeting of the 2005 Formula BMW UK Championship season intending to "bounce back" after a mildly disastrous Thruxton...

MATT HOWSON RACE REPORT VICTORIOUS HOWSON RETAKES CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD

Matt Howson came to Rockingham Motor Speedway for the third meeting of the 2005 Formula BMW UK Championship season intending to "bounce back" after a mildly disastrous Thruxton weekend. He duly rebounded in some style, finishing a very close second in race one, dominating race two, and moving back into the championship lead.

"I went into the weekend knowing that I had to bounce back and start stamping my authority on things," said Howson, who won the first race of the season but took zero points home from Thruxton after incidents in both races. "I thought it would take a few races to get back on terms, but here I am back in the lead already."

Wet weather on qualifying day caused problems for many, but not Matt. He put his Filsell Motorsport car second on the grid for the first race, beaten only by Simon Walker-Hansell, whose team-mate Felix da Costa had been in Howson's way for most of the session. A few hours later there were no such impediments, and Matt was able to take a dominant pole position.

The weather cleared up for race day, and with his main title rivals having struggled for speed in the wet, Howson had a great chance to make up the ground he had lost at Thruxton. He duly scorched off the grid and looked set to take the lead at the first corner. Walker-Hansell had other ideas, however.

"I did actually get into the lead at the Deene Hairpin, but Walker-Hansell came across and took his usual line as if I wasn't there," said Matt. "I had to go right up onto the kerbs to get out of the way and that cost me a lot of momentum, but if I'd stayed where I was then we would have collided."

That incident allowed Walker-Hansell to make a slight break, but Howson rapidly reeled him in and provided constant pressure throughout the race, finishing right on the leader's tail.

A few hours later, Matt made a clean start from pole position and duly left Walker-Hansell behind, pulling away for a beautifully uncomplicated victory.

"I could have maybe pushed a bit harder in the first race," said Howson. "The car is still not 100% right, but it's definitely getting better and I set the fastest lap right at the end of race one just to prove a bit of a point.

"Then in the second race I pushed hard for the first few laps to take of advantage of being in front, then just controlled the gap. It was relatively easy, really."

After double headers at Brands Hatch and Oulton Park in the next month, the Formula BMW series takes a five week summer break before reconvening for the second half of the season. Howson's aim is to go into that 'holiday' period at the head of the standings.

"The car is still a bit nervy, so we have work to do," he said. "I want to stay at the front, be consistent, keep scoring points, and lead into that summer break, because although there are still plenty of races afterwards, I think it would be an advantage to be in front at the halfway point."

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Series Formula BMW