ACTION APLENTY FOR RUSSELL RACING AT DONINGTON Doncaster-based Russell Racing was in the thick of the action at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit today during the entertaining 15th and 16th rounds of the 2006 Formula Renault UK ...
ACTION APLENTY FOR RUSSELL RACING AT DONINGTON
Doncaster-based Russell Racing was in the thick of the action at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit today during the entertaining 15th and 16th rounds of the 2006 Formula Renault UK Championship.
Having qualified a season's best 18th on the grid for round 15 during Saturday's single 20-minute qualifying session, team driver Matt Russell was unfortunate to come away from the first of the weekend's races with no points and damaged steering after a coming together with Portuguese competitor Joao Vasconcelos on lap two.
The start of the race was chaotic with title rivals Sebastian Hohenthal and Patrick Hogan coming together on the run to Redgate Corner but Matt did well to avoid incident and by the time the cars came across the start/finish line to begin lap two, the Harlesden ace had fought his way into the top 13.
With the very real prospect of at least equalling his career-best Formula Renault UK finish of 13th place -- achieved at Knockhill, Scotland, in June -- Matt's bid was dealt a bitter blow on lap two following the contact with Vasconcelos.
Reflecting on the race, Matt explained: "I think my steering was damaged a little bit almost immediately as Daniel Welch banged wheels with me as he tried to pass at Redgate on the first lap.
"Things were going well though but on lap two, heading down to the Melbourne Hairpin, Vasconcelos braked late to come down the inside of me to try and take the place. I thought I had given him enough room and he was going to go straight on but as I turned in my right-front wheel caught his left-rear and that was that unfortunately, race over."
For round 16, the 22-year-old Leoline Travel and Maltings Leisure & Fitness-backed star knew the importance of a points finish at the team's 'home' circuit. Sporting Reg Vardy livery following a special promotional event at the Doncaster-based Renault dealership last weekend, Matt was also hopeful of giving Russell Racing's guests plenty to cheer.
Starting 20th on the grid, Matt got away well from the 10th row and made good progress straight away, taking at least three positions during the early stages, but lap six was a turning point as the Russell Racing star made a small mistake at Fogarty's Esses.
He did mount a recovery to finish the race in 17th position and in doing so posted some notably good lap times, his best comparable with the drivers fighting over the positions at the sharp end of the top 10.
Speaking after the race, Matt said: "I made a good start, taking a place immediately at the start, another at Redgate and then I passed another car on the exit of Melbourne loop so I'm frustrated to have had the spin.
"The top 15 was definitely on the cards in the second race. It was my fault though, I should have been more patient but I got on the power a little too much at the chicane and the back of the car came round on me."
Russell Racing's Formula Renault UK operation will be back in action two weeks from now, 23rd/24th September, at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit. The Kent track was, of course, the venue for the season-opening event in April.