ELLIS LUCKS OUT AT HOME RACE Croydon's Bradley Ellis had a weekend littered with bad luck in his first ever race at Brands Hatch for rounds five and six of the Formula Renault UK Championship, 4 & 5 June. Despite being his home circuit, the ...
ELLIS LUCKS OUT AT HOME RACE
Croydon's Bradley Ellis had a weekend littered with bad luck in his first ever race at Brands Hatch for rounds five and six of the Formula Renault UK Championship, 4 & 5 June. Despite being his home circuit, the 17-year-old had never raced at Brands Hatch before and had just one test session prior to the double-header meeting.
The Croydon teenager's first qualifying session at the Kent track was looking promising until halfway through when a racing incident caused Jeremy Metcalfe's car to launch over the top of Ellis at Druids. Changes to the set-up to correct over-steer for the second session unfortunately did not pay off. Despite a challenging day, Ellis managed to qualify 20th for both rounds.
Overcast but dry conditions greeted the Mark Burdett Motorsport team on Sunday morning. A good start allowed Ellis to take two places going into Paddock Hill bend, promoting him to 18th by the end of lap one. Challenging hard, he then took Jean Robert Niogret (F) at Druids and moved up to 17th on lap four.
With only one set of tyres per race weekend, Ellis began to struggle halfway through the 24-lap race and dropped two places going into to Clearways on lap 12. Managing to keep a constant pace and in touch with the seven-car train battling for 11th spot, he fought back to finish 18th.
Disaster struck for Ellis on the grid for round six when the onboard computer failed at the end of the rolling lap, meaning he was unable to select the correct gear or read the engine revs for the start. After a quick recovery from stalling he set about hunting down the rest of the pack. However, still without an onboard computer and effectively driving blind, the south Londoner could only hold 25th position.
A safety car period on lap 12 gave Ellis his only opportunity to improve his situation. Cleverly, he completely shut off the car, pumps and computer as he went through Paddock Hill bend. With the car completely reset and the computer system successfully restored, Ellis pushed as hard as possible in the cooling conditions with little grip to finish 21st.
Following the race it was confirmed that one of the transponders on the pit wall located directly opposite Ellis' grid position caused his onboard computer systems to fail.
"This wasn't the result we were looking for at our home race, luck just didn't seem to be on our side," said Ellis. "However, this was our first time at Brands Hatch and we have learnt a lot. I am confident it will be a different result when we return here in October."
Ellis is next in action at Oulton Park on 19 June, when he will also be celebrating his 18th birthday.