UK: Russell Racing Croft Saturday notes

SHAWYER AIMING TO BOUNCE BACK AFTER TOUGH DAY AT CROFT Russell Racing's Matt Shawyer is hoping for an improved performance, and better weather, at Croft tomorrow for the fourth round of the 2006 Formula Renault BARC Championship after a...

SHAWYER AIMING TO BOUNCE BACK AFTER TOUGH DAY AT CROFT

Russell Racing's Matt Shawyer is hoping for an improved performance, and better weather, at Croft tomorrow for the fourth round of the 2006 Formula Renault BARC Championship after a difficult start to his weekend in North Yorkshire earlier today.

Awful conditions greeted the Doncaster team for the start of this morning's 30-minute qualifying session, which would determine the grid for both today's third round of the season and also Sunday's fourth round of the championship.

Having headed the times for the majority of a very wet qualifying period, the 23-year-old from St Albans, who held a one-point lead in the championship prior to today, wasn't quite able to hold on to a front row grid start for round three and would eventually be credited with the third fastest time overall.

Persistent rain throughout the morning all but ceased in time for the start of the race and as the lights went out for the beginning of round three, the BRDC Rising Star made a terrific getaway as second place man Thomas Arme struggled off the line, resulting in Matt assuming second position as the field headed to Clervaux for the first time.

By the start of lap two, Matt was forced to drive defensively in order to keep James Littlejohn at bay and a lap later it was the same situation but with the Russell Racing star now having to resist the challenge of chief title rival Richard Singleton.

As the track began to get increasingly drier on the racing line, Matt was clearly struggling with rear-end grip and could do little about Singleton's successful passing attempt through Hawthorn and the chicane on lap four.

Two laps later, Matt was within the sights of Jordan Oakes but he maintained his composure while Oakes made two unforced errors on consecutive laps resulting in a recovering Arme making his way through to fourth position.

As the race neared its conclusion, Russell Racing's hope of a third Formula Renault BARC podium finish on the trot evaporated after Matt was boxed in behind a backmarker on the run to Tower Corner. Arme was in the right position to seize the advantage and so Matt was forced to settle for fourth position at the flag two laps later.

Speaking after the race, a disappointed Matt said: "I am a bit frustrated, it's a shame to have lost the championship lead but qualifying didn't quite go our way and then in the race there wasn't enough grip at the rear end as the track started to dry.

"The front end grip was very good but that emphasised the difficulty with the back-end of the car. I tried my hardest to keep some of the guys behind me as long as I could but in the end we weren't able to challenge the leaders, which is disappointing."

He added: "Fourth place certainly isn't a disaster, especially as we started on the second row of the grid, but we're hoping for a much stronger showing -- and some better weather -- for tomorrow's race."

With each driver's second fastest lap time being taken to determine the grid for round four, Matt will start tomorrow afternoon's race in fifth position. The whole team will be hoping for a similar outcome to the opening round of the season at Silverstone last month when the Hertfordshire ace qualified fifth and finished a career-best second.

The fourth round of the 2006 Formula Renault BARC Championship is scheduled to start at 13.05 tomorrow, Sunday 21st May.

-www.russell-racing.com

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers James Littlejohn