RUSSELL EQUALS SEASON'S BEST AT BRANDS HATCH Harlesden racing driver Matt Russell equalled his best result of the Formula Renault UK season at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit today, the 22-year-old snatching 13th position on the final lap of round ...
RUSSELL EQUALS SEASON'S BEST AT BRANDS HATCH
Harlesden racing driver Matt Russell equalled his best result of the Formula Renault UK season at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit today, the 22-year-old snatching 13th position on the final lap of round 17.
The Russell Racing star made a good start to the race from 20th on the grid and after managing to avoid lap one chaos at Druids Hairpin, which involved four cars, he moved up to 14th position prior to the Safety Car being deployed at the start of lap two.
After the re-start on lap six Matt started to chase down Pippa Mann and by lap 13 he was beginning to get on terms with the Comtec driver. Over the next 10 laps, Mann began to fall back from 12th-placed Peter Rees while Matt, in-turn, edged ever closer.
Just eight 10ths of a second adrift of Mann into the final lap, the Russell Racing driver had certainly produced his most competitive performance of the season. An engine problem for ninth-placed Will Bratt at the final turn, however, enabled Matt to gain one more spot before the chequered flag.
"I'm very pleased with our pace this weekend", commented Matt after round 17, "It would have been nice to qualify a little better and, on reflection, I think we could have done that but the race went well anyway and we showed we've made some big steps forward.
"My laps times were only about four 10ths of a second slower than the drivers at the front so I'm happy with the progress we made. We were the closest to the front-running pace we have been all season so I'm very happy."
Round 18 wasn't quite as successful for the Doncaster team after Matt suffered an unfortunate spin on the exit of Clark Curve on lap 17. Running slightly wide, the Leoline Travel and Maltings Leisure & Fitness-backed star dropped a wheeloff the track and the small error was enough to pitch the car into a spin.
Although his lap times were a 10th of a second of an improvement on what he was able to achieve in the first of the day's races, Matt was unable to climb back into the points after his spin, crossing the line in 22nd position on lap 24.
Bentley shines again in Formula Renault BARC With Russell Racing also participating in the final two rounds of the Formula Renault BARC Championship at Brands Hatch over the weekend, FR2000 Class runner Andrew Bentley produced another action-packed performance during round 12 this afternoon.
The 24-year-old, taking part in only his third race meeting of the year of any description, knew he had a battle on his hands starting from 17th on the grid and although he initially struggled to get away from the line cleanly, the Northampton ace managed to pass three cars in one corner to move into 14th place on the opening lap.
Newly-crowned Club Class Champion Ian Pearson, who was competing in FR2000 for the first time, would be Andrew's next target and the Russell Racing star produced a tremendous piece of overtaking at Clearways to move into 13th place before the end of lap one.
Although running on very old tyres, Andrew's pace was impressive and after moving up to 12th place on lap two he attempted to pass Chris Lamare at Clearways seven laps later but the move saw him run slightly wide, allowing Thomas Arme through.
As he attempted to get back on terms with Arme, a backmarker badly blocked Andrew at Surtees costing him a lot of time but he was still able to end the race in the top 12 after problems for front-runner Ross Worswick late-on in the race.
"I didn't have a very good start off the line initially but managed to pick it all up and then overtook three people around the outside at Druids which was good", said Andrew at the conclusion of the final BARC round of the season.
"We had a good run through Graham Hill Bend and then at Clearways I managed to gain another place. Then we got to the point where the cars in front were just quick enough to be able to hold me off. I didn't want to spend the entire race in 12th place though so I tried something on about lap nine but it didn't quite work unfortunately.
"I ended up running wide on the exit of Clearways, allowing Tom Arme to pass me and from then on I just got my head down and tried to put in consistently quick lap times. The pleasing thing was that I set my fastest lap of the whole weekend late on in the race, even on very old rubber, which showed we have constantly improved all weekend."
Andrew added: "I think I've proven myself as a genuine racer in a Formula Renault now, it's all about time in the car. Had we done a few days testing prior to coming back into the championship for the last couple of rounds, and also used new tyres, I don't think it would have been inconceivable for us to challenge for a podium.
"Each time I step into the car is very pleasing from my point of view and I think, given the correct budget and support through the winter, we would be able to go into either Formula Renault BARC or even the UK series next year and do a very good job. I'd love to get back out there so hopefully we can make something happen for next season."
Today's Formula Renault UK race action, which was broadcast live on Motors TV, will be replayed in full this Tuesday, 26th September, at 09.00. Sky Digital viewers can tune-in to the coverage on channel 413 while NTL cable customers should visit channel 545.
Russell Racing now has a three-week break until the final race meeting of the Formula Renault UK season at Silverstone National Circuit on 14th/15th October.
-credit: russell racing