FRUSTRATING BRANDS RACES ALL BUT END BRATT'S TOP SIX HOPES Oxon race ace Will Bratt saw his hopes for a top six finish in the 2006 Formula Renault UK Championship standings all but ended at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit today following a weekend of...
FRUSTRATING BRANDS RACES ALL BUT END BRATT'S TOP SIX HOPES
Oxon race ace Will Bratt saw his hopes for a top six finish in the 2006 Formula Renault UK Championship standings all but ended at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit today following a weekend of total frustration and misfortune.
The 18-year-old, who is backed by Apotex Pharmaceuticals, was unhappy on Saturday after qualifying in 10th position for round 17 and 12th on the grid for round 18, knowing full well overtaking in the weekend's races would be all but impossible on the tricky 1.2-mile Indy Circuit which historically provides processional Formula Renault UK races.
Initially though, it looked like Will would be able to buck the trend during the first of today's two encounters after managing to avoid lap one chaos at Druids Hairpin which accounted for the loss of Indian driver Armaan Ebrahim.
The incident, which also caused Will's Scorpio Motorsport team-mate David Epton to retire from the race, resulted in the deployment of the Safety Car but at the re-start on lap six, Will maintained ninth position and stayed on the tail of eighth-placed driver Franck Mailleux.
Although unable to find a way past Mailleux, Will would have been satisfied to have ended the race in ninth position. Dreadful luck on the last lap ruined his chances though when his engine mysteriously cut-out as he rounded Clearways. Baffled, and thoroughly annoyed, Will did still manage to get the car going again and finished in 14th place.
In round 18, the Adderbury teenager did manage to make up one place on the opening lap with demise of Pippa Mann at Surtees and then moved into the top 10 when Epton dropped back. On lap 13 though, Dean Smith managed to find a way past Will, pushing him down to 11th position where he would then remain to the chequered flag.
Arriving at Brands Hatch confident of closing in on the championship top six, the grip problems which blighted his weekend -- combined with the round 17 engine issue -- now mean Will can realistically aim for a top seven finish in the title race at best but he is hoping for more successful outings at Silverstone in three weeks.
"I'm very annoyed the weekend has been such a disappointment", commented Will, "The car was still sliding around like it was in qualifying, it was quite a handful to say the least, but ninth wouldn't have been a bad result in the first race. Why the engine cut-out though is a complete mystery.
"I was fired-up to do well in the second race and while the points for 11th place are welcome, it certainly wasn't where we thought we would end up this weekend. At least we finished round 18 though, the grip was a bit better but there hasn't been much of an improvement all weekend.
"We need to put it behind us now though and make sure Silverstone ends up being a good end to the season. It'd be great to get back on the podium and if the car is good from the off I'm sure we'll be in a position to challenge near the front."
Silverstone National Circuit will host the final two races of the season, rounds 19 and 20, three weeks from now on 14th/15th October. As Will's 'home' event, he will be aiming to conclude his second season of single-seater racing in style.