Podium joy for McIntosh Oulton Park, England (June 19, 2005) -- Sean McIntosh joined in the podium celebrations at Oulton Park today following a fine drive to second place in treacherous conditions in Round 8 of the 2005 Formula Renault UK ...
Podium joy for McIntosh
Oulton Park, England (June 19, 2005) -- Sean McIntosh joined in the podium celebrations at Oulton Park today following a fine drive to second place in treacherous conditions in Round 8 of the 2005 Formula Renault UK Championship. With heavy rain threatening the running of today's race, the second of the weekend's double-header events, McIntosh skillfully avoided incident to claim his first podium finish since his victory at Donington Park back in April.
Today's result, combined with his fourth place finish in Round 7 yesterday, move the 20-year-old Vancouver racer up to third overall in the championship standings, with 174 points scored, just five back from second place in the 2005 title battle.
Sean marked his return to Oulton Park, scene of his maiden Formula Renault UK victory this time last season, by qualifying for both races in fourth place yesterday. In doing so the reigning 'Graduate Cup' Champion ensured he maintained his season-long streak of top-five qualifying positions behind the wheel of the #24 Team Firstair entry.
Round 7 was last up on yesterday's race schedule with overhead conditions proving considerably fairer than today's menacing skies. The grid was duly formed only for the race to be marred by two false starts followed by a first turn pile-up forcing out the red flag! With time constraints pressing, circuit officials amended the race distance from 13 laps to 10 and the field was once again waived off and a long-awaited clean start followed.
The pack tussled for position on Oulton Park's 2.22-mile Island Circuit with Sean holding fourth while shadowing the top-three for the duration of the race. Oliver Jarvis ultimately took the spoils at the checkered flag with Sean just three seconds adrift in fourth place -- his fourth top-five result in five starts.
The English weather would play its part in today's race, Round 8, but for Sean the track conditions merely presented an additional challenge as he looked to build on his consistent form. The race was in doubt for much of the afternoon but when the grid was summoned Sean was ready for action.
As the lights flicked green the pack lunged towards the first turn and Sean found himself squeezed onto the outside of the track having initially challenged for second place. He dropped down to fifth but some slick driving from the young Canadian allowed him to capture second exiting the Hairpin just as the Safety Car was called into action. When racing resumed a couple of laps later he was again locked in a fight for position. The running order was soon to be settled though as Stephen Simpson surrendered his lead with an off allowing Fortec's Yelmer Buurman and Sean to take over at the top.
Despite the conditions Sean closed the gap to Buurman, 1.5 seconds the difference between them with four laps remaining. Sean's chances of a lead challenge were eradicated soon after though as a repeating misfire ensured he had his hands full to maintain second let alone push for victory. Buurman duly took the win with Sean delighted to hold on for second place, not least as he wasn't confident the car would have lasted for another lap. Tom Kimber-Smith rounded off the rain-soaked podium celebrations.
Suitably pleased to return to the podium for the first time since Donington Park Sean commented:
"It's great to get a second-place finish today! I've stated before Oulton Park's one of my favorite circuits, regardless of the weather, and I've enjoyed another strong weekend here this season. The team has continued to work really hard and I think our form in qualifying and today's podium can only propel us further. We could have had pole in the second qualifying session yesterday but ultimately we just missed out. Our speed is there and I hope to maintain our qualifying record and get back to the podium when we race at Croft next month!"
Manor Motorsport's Oliver Jarvis continues to lead the championship on 215 with Sebastian Hohenthal second on 179 and Sean's Oulton Park results placing him third overall on 174 heading into Rounds 9 and 10 at Croft, 16th-17th July, the half-way point of the 2005 Formula Renault UK Championship.