PODIUM JUST ELUDES METCALFE AT BAKING HOT CROFT Jeremy Metcalfe remains firmly in touch with the top three positions in the 2006 Formula Renault UK Championship standings after climbing from sixth on the grid to claim a hard-fought fourth place...
PODIUM JUST ELUDES METCALFE AT BAKING HOT CROFT
Jeremy Metcalfe remains firmly in touch with the top three positions in the 2006 Formula Renault UK Championship standings after climbing from sixth on the grid to claim a hard-fought fourth place during today's ninth round of the season at Croft.
In scorching hot conditions at the 2.1-mile North Yorkshire circuit, the AKA Lemac star had hoped to challenge for his first win of the season following an impressive test on Friday. Problems with traffic in round nine qualifying, however, saw him start lower on the grid than expected -- albeit just three 10ths of a second outside pole position.
At the start of this afternoon's race Jeremy didn't make the best getaway which allowed seventh place qualifier Fabio Onidi to get ahead of him. By lap four though, Jeremy was well placed to attempt a pass on the Italian at Clervaux but Onidi kept the door firmly shut resulting in the AKA sensation taking a minor excursion into the gravel.
The lost momentum saw Jeremy drop back to seventh place but he gained a position back on lap nine after team-mate Patrick Hogan, who was in second position at the time, went off the circuit at Sunny Out.
Although struggling with grip problems, Jeremy continued to lapwell and managed to keep in touch with Onidi and fellow championship rivals James Sutton and Cheng Cong Fu. On lap 11 though, Sutton clashed with Cheng when attempting to overtake, providing Jeremy with an opportunity to move into fourth place, which he duly did.
"I tried to get back past Onidi after he managed to get by me at the start as I could see he had a faster car today", reflected Jeremy at the end of the race, "But I was unable to do much about him as our car just wasn't working as well as we would have liked.
"It's a shame we didn't qualify further up the grid but I'm happy with fourth position from sixth on the grid. The points are very good for the championship and it allows us to stay well in touch with the other front-runners."
This afternoon also saw qualifying for tomorrow's 10th round of the season but in a difficult session, Jeremy's progress was cruelly halted when the driveshaft on his BillChaser-backed car broke. Prior to the problem, the Fleet 18-year-old had posted a lap of 1m 18.889 seconds (97.06mph) which was good enough for eighth on the grid.
Speaking ahead of Sunday's race, he said: "We need to make some changes to the car but the problem for us is that tomorrow's race is at the same time so if it's as hot as it was today there's a danger we could struggle for grip again. We need to try and make some improvements to the car overnight but I'm confident the team will do a good job."
Round 10 of the 2006 Formula Renault UK Championship is scheduled to take place at 16.05 tomorrow, Sunday, 16th July, and will be broadcast live on Motors TV -- available to Sky Digital viewers on channel 413 and via cable provider NTL on channel 173.