UK 2000: Russell Brands Hatch test 2006-03-16

ILLNESS CURTAILS RUSSELL'S BRANDS HATCH EXPERIENCE Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent hosted the third of four official pre-season Formula Renault UK test sessions over the last two days, but for Doncaster's Russell Racing the outing ended ...

ILLNESS CURTAILS RUSSELL'S BRANDS HATCH EXPERIENCE

Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent hosted the third of four official pre-season Formula Renault UK test sessions over the last two days, but for Doncaster's Russell Racing the outing ended unexpectedly early when driver Matt Russell fell ill.

The 22-year-old, who had been feeling progressively worse this morning, opted to abandon the second day of testing before even completing his first lap of the afternoon, thus greatly affecting his overall position on the combined timesheets.

Having ended Wednesday's opening day approximately one second adrift of the fastest time of all, Matt managed to close the gap to the front-runners this morning to just half a second, despite feeling seriously under the weather.

Wednesday's test offered the first true dry running of the pre-season with the Harlesden driver achieving a best lap of 45.108 seconds (97.86mph) but with rain returning to Kent overnight, this morning's session was conducted in damp conditions -- Matt's best lap of 48.272 seconds (91.44mph) placing him 18th overall.

Interestingly, just three 10ths of a second would have lifted him into the top eight and a further two 10ths of a second would have given him a position in the top three; time Matt is confident he will be able to find when Russell Racing returns to Brands Hatch for the first two races of the season in less than a month's time.

Commenting on the last two days, Matt said: "I haven't been feeling too good at all but things weren't going all that badly this morning. We were only half a second away from third place and I know I had more pace in me but this test has shown once again just how competitive Formula Renault UK is.

"Unfortunately we didn't have the benefit of the dry running this afternoon as I felt too unwell so we decided to end the test without even completing a lap during the second session. Frustratingly, I was quicker when we ran at Brands ourselves several weeks ago before official testing began but I'm confident next week's test will be good."

North Yorkshire's Croft Circuit will play host to the final official pre-season Formula Renault UK test next week, 22nd/23rd March, ahead of the first two rounds of the 2006 championship at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on 8th/9th April.

-mom-

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Series Formula Renault
Drivers Matt Russell