UK 2.0: Metcalfe wins appeal

MSA NATIONAL COURT OVERTURNS METCALFE'S DONINGTON EXCLUSION Jeremy Metcalfe saw his exclusion from the 12th round of the Formula Renault UK Championship completely overturned earlier this week in a successful appeal to the Motor Sports...

MSA NATIONAL COURT OVERTURNS METCALFE'S DONINGTON EXCLUSION

Jeremy Metcalfe saw his exclusion from the 12th round of the Formula Renault UK Championship completely overturned earlier this week in a successful appeal to the Motor Sports Association (MSA) National Court on Wednesday, 30th August.

The 18-year-old AKA Lemac star was originally, and controversially, excluded from the results of the race in question at Donington Park National Circuit on Sunday, 30th July, after what appeared to be nothing other than a racing incident involving fellow competitor Sam Bird as both drivers headed through Hollywood Corner.

Contact between the pair resulted in a heavy collision for Bird and although Jeremy was adjudged by the Formula Renault UK Clerk of the Course to have been at fault for the incident, the decision by the Metcalfe family to appeal has now been fully vindicated.

Not only was the Fleet teenager excluded from the race results by Renault officials for "driving in a manner incompatible with general safety", he also received a four-point endorsement on his licence.

But thanks to Wednesday's successful appeal, Jeremy will now return to Donington Park next weekend, 9th/10th September, for the 15th and 16th rounds of the season feeling completely re-invigorated and confident of challenging for a brace of podium results with the endorsement wiped off his licence and a re-instatement into the round 12 results.

The Tribunal heard representations from both sides and went on to allow the appeal on the grounds of there being "insufficient evidence" to support the view Jeremy was guilty of the original charge of driving in a manner incompatible with general safety.

Commenting after the appeal, Jeremy's father Robert said: "We're absolutely delighted that our decision to ask the National Court to take a view on this matter has been vindicated and we'd like to express sincere thanks to our professional adviser Jamie Champkin.

"We are also grateful to the court for granting leave to appeal and, at the same time, hugely impressed with both the calibre of personnel and the professional way in which the proceedings were conducted. It's good to know if you have to go to a higher authority within the judicial process, you can expect a quality service delivered in a professional manner.

"We were never going to let the original decision go unchallenged and we're very pleased with such a favourable outcome. The exclusion should never have been imposed in the first place and our appeal has proven our decision to take the matter to the National Court was the correct thing to do."

Metcalfe Aiming For Donington Glory With the exclusion overturned, Jeremy has an additional seven points to add to his championship total which places him just 15 points adrift of the top three in the driver standings. Furthermore, the round 12 race result of 14th position can now be counted as one of his two 'drop-scores' at the season's close before calculating his final total.

This also means great news for Jeremy in the Donington Park Racing Association Club (DPRAC) Cup standings, a trophy which will be presented next weekend to the British driver who has scored the most points over the course of the four Formula Renault UK races which will have been contested at the Leicestershire venue this season.

With a combined 29-point haul from the Donington Park National Circuit races at the end of July, Jeremy is now just five points adrift of DPRAC Cup leader James Sutton in the battle for the trophy and able to go into next weekend's 15th and 16th rounds of the season as a genuine contender for the coveted prize.

Rather than its usual slot as a support category to the British Touring Car Championship, Formula Renault UK will appear at Donington alongside the World Series by Renault for a meeting which is expected to attract a minimum of 50,000 spectators.

In addition to World Series by Renault action, Formula Renault UK will share billing with Formula Renault Eurocup, Renault Clio Cup and Eurocup Megane Trophy. There will also be a special on-track exhibition of Fernando Alonso's 2005 Formula One World Championship-winning car with Renault F1 test driver Heikki Kovalainen at the wheel.

Speaking ahead of the race meeting, Jeremy said: "I'm really looking forward to being back in the car and very confident we'll have a good weekend at Donington. Obviously, I'm very pleased with the outcome of our appeal and I'd like to thank everyone involved for their help, support and guidance.

"I've known and raced with Sam (Bird) for a long time now, without incident. What happened was unfortunate and I'm glad to see Sam is okay. Bit I want to refute any suggestions I was in any way happy with the incident upon my return to the pits after round 12, as has been suggested in some quarters. I was as shocked as I imagine Sam was.

"You don't crash into anyone deliberately in single-seaters and I am pleased the court took the view it was nothing other than a racing incident. I am just glad it's all over. We shook hands after the hearing -- which is the way it should be -- and talked about the competitive race we both enjoyed at Snetterton during the last race meeting."

He added: "I'm fully focused on the next two races now and with a chance to challenge for the DPRAC Cup as well it should be an exciting weekend. I'm keen to return to the podium and with the recent test at Silverstone having been so positive for us, I'm certain we'll be on the pace at Donington."

Official testing ahead of rounds 15 and 16 of the season will take place on Wednesday, 6th September, with qualifying scheduled for Saturday, 9th September. Both races are timetabled for Sunday, 10th September, with round 15 expected to start at 10.00 and round 16 set to commence at 16.00.

-credit: jm

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Fernando Alonso , Heikki Kovalainen , Sam Bird , Jeremy Metcalfe , James Sutton