BFREN: Thruxton: Round three preview

Watts seeking hat-trick in 160mph race. Danny Watts (Northampton) arrives at Thruxton this weekend, 5th/6th May, looking to extend his Formula Renault UK Championship lead in a race in which speeds are expected to reach a staggering...

Watts seeking hat-trick in 160mph race.

Danny Watts (Northampton) arrives at Thruxton this weekend, 5th/6th May, looking to extend his Formula Renault UK Championship lead in a race in which speeds are expected to reach a staggering 160mph.

The INS-sponsored Fortec Motorsport driver currently holds an 11-point advantage over nearest rival, Paston Racing's Mark McLoughlin (Milton Keynes), thanks to wins at Brands Hatch and Oulton Park which were effectively secured with bursts of blistering speed in the opening laps. However, he does not expect victory at Thruxton to be as straight forward.

The 22-year-old says: "It could turn into a very tactical race with drivers slipstreaming and draughting past one another up the long straights. Given a tail wind and a `tow' off the car in front, we'll be touching 160mph on the run up to the chicane. It could get very exciting, especially in the closing stages."

Meanwhile, McLoughlin and, on her `home track, Watts' Fortec team-mate Katherine Legge (Haslemere) - who started from pole position at Oulton a fortnight ago - will both race with cameras on their cars for Granada ITV's Motorsport UK programme which is covering this year's championship.

Motaworld Racing's Robert Bell (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) is also sniffing a win at Thruxton. The 2001 winter champion was fastest in official testing and lies third in the points standings. John Village Automotive's Ryan Sharp (Aberdeen), Motaworld's Australian Will Davison (Buckingham) and Manor Motorsport's Lewis Hamilton (Tewin, Welwyn) follow. Although still to win in 2002, the Manor team, a multiple title-winner during the past decade, is undefeated in Formula Renault at Thruxton since 1996.

Points (provisional):
1st, Watts, 66pts
2, McLoughlin, 55
3, Bell, 44
4, Sharp, 36
5, Davison, 34
6, Hamilton, 31
7, Gary Turkington (GBR), 24
8, Patrick Long (USA), 20

- www.renaultsport.co.uk

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Gary Turkington , Katherine Legge , Patrick Long , Will Davison , Ryan Sharp , Danny Watts