PA'L KISS POWERS TO THIRD WIN AT OULTON PARK TO STRETCH TITLE LEAD Atech GP's Tama's Pa'l Kiss picked up his third win of the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship at a packed Oulton Park circuit this weekend to extend his lead at the...
PA'L KISS POWERS TO THIRD WIN AT OULTON PARK TO STRETCH TITLE LEAD
Atech GP's Tama's Pa'l Kiss picked up his third win of the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship at a packed Oulton Park circuit this weekend to extend his lead at the top of the drivers' standing by 18-points.
The 19-year-old Hungarian racer just got the better of Fortec Motorsport's Tom Blomqvist (Saffron Walden) during round eight on Sunday, 6th June to take the honours together with a third place in Saturday's round seven. Meanwhile Blomqvist, son of rally legend Stig, secured two second places during the action-packed weekend as the 16-year-old continues to impress in his first season of the one-make series.
The meeting also saw an emotional first win for Manor Competition's Lewis Williamson (Golspie, Scotland) during round seven with the Scot making up for the previous round at Brands Hatch GP in which he threw away the lead on the last lap.
CRS Racing's Harry Tincknell (Exeter) picked up the remaining podium spot with third in round eight while Mark Burdett Motorsport's Fabio Gamberini (Oxford) enjoyed a double win in the Graduate Cup -- his first of the season.
Pa'l Kiss increases lead...
After picking up his first podium of the season last month, Blomqvist was full of confidence coming into this weekend which clearly showed as the youngster wasted no time in securing a double pole with two faultless qualifying performances.
With Blomqvist occupying the P1 spot for Sunday's round eight -- broadcast live on ITV4 and in front of a packed crowd -- the remaining front row place was left to Pa'l Kiss with Manor Competition's Will Stevens (Oxshott) and Tincknell just behind on row two. Gamberini had also impressed during Saturday's qualifying session to line up in sixth.
As the lights went out for the start of the 15-lap race it was Pa'l Kiss who made the better start to lead the field into the right-handed Old Hall. Blomqvist just held onto second with Tincknell moving into third ahead of Stevens. There was plenty of jostling too in the midfield with round seven winner Williamson lying in fifth ahead of Filipino driver Marlon Stockinger, racing for Atech GP, and Gamberini.
Pa'l Kiss pushed early on developing almost a second advantage over Blomqvist as the two began to pull away from Tincknell. In the midfield Gamberini had to work hard to keep Ollie Millroy (Claygate) -- now racing with Manor Competition -- at bay allowing the chasing Fortec Motorsport pair of David McDonald (Ewell) and Alex Lynn (Dunmow) to close in.
With no change in the leaders the midfield battled continued to intensify with McDonald passing Millroy before later getting the better of Gamberini who had done well to keep a three-car train behind him for as long as he did.
At the front Pa'l Kiss was impressive, looking especially quick through Druids but Blomqvist -- the championship's youngest competitor -- was matching the Hungarian for pace and subsequently set the NGK fastest lap of the race for the second time this weekend.
This wasn't enough though and Pa'l Kiss cleanly exited Lodge for the last time to take the chequered flag being sure to acknowledge his team as he flew past the pit wall. Blomqvist finished second with Tincknell claiming third to end on a high after a disappointing result by his standards, particularly on a track he's previously fared so well on.
Despite suffering a gearbox problem which kept changing up, Stevens managed to bring his car home in fourth place with 20-year-old team-mate Williamson rounding of the top five. Gamberini soaked up the pressure long enough to hang onto the Graduate Cup win completing a strong weekend for the Brazilian born driver.
Emotional first win for Williamson...
Saturday's round seven saw Blomqvist take the honours at the front of the grid after lapping almost a quarter of a second quicker than Williamson's second best time. Stockinger and Tincknell lined up on row two while title hopeful Pa'l Kiss was down in sixth.
As the race got underway it was Williamson who made the best start to lead from Blomqvist as the field completed a dramatic opening lap which saw three of the four CRS Racing drivers make contact forcing them all to retire.
By the end of the first lap Pa'l Kiss had been able to move into third with Stevens now in fourth after Tincknell and Stockinger made contact at Island Bend causing them both to drop down the order. Atech GP's Nick Yelloly (Solihull), Millroy and Gamberini also all made up ground during the early stages as the field jostled for position around the undulating Cheshire circuit.
Out in front it was Williamson leading from Blomqvist but only by half a second as the teenager continued to pressure him in the hope it would force him into a mistake. It wasn't long too before the two-horse-race became a three-horse-race as Pa'l Kiss joined the fight for the lead. Just behind Yelloly was coming under increasing pressure from Millroy with the 20-year-old eventually getting the better of him with an impressive move through Cascades on lap 10.
Graduate Cup driver Lynn was also making good progress in the midfield and briefly set the NGK fastest lap before Blomqvist took the honours with a 1min 18.556s (102.01mph average) -- a new lap record. Shortly after though, Lynn made contact with the safety barriers at Avenue causing the Safety Car to be deployed. Lynn, who also dislocated his knee during a spin in Friday's test session, was completely unharmed but racing didn't resume until four laps later as the marshals made the track safe. By which point the allotted race time was running out meaning there would only be one flying lap after the restart.
Williamson focused on making another clean getaway which he did effortlessly to lead from Blomqvist once more with the Scottish racer now less than two miles away from his maiden Formula Renault victory. Despite Blomqvist's best efforts Williamson hung on to take the win leaving Tom to settle for second and Pa'l Kiss rounding off the podium honours in third. Stevens and Millroy rounded off the top five while Gamberini finished seventh to take the Graduate Cup Scorpio Motorsport's Joe Crook (Hailsham) also impressed during the race to claim his best result with eighth.
Commenting on his performance Pa'l Kiss said: "I've not had it easy this weekend particularly in round eight when Tom kept pushing and pushing me. In round seven I tried to catch Tom and Lewis in the early stages but they pulled away too quickly so I was forced to settle for third. Overall it's been a great result for me and the team and I'm looking forward to the next rounds at Croft."
Speaking after his win in round seven Williamson said: "After what happened at Brands Hatch this win meant everything to me. The race [round seven] was all about the start and once I got the jump on Tom I knew it would be difficult for him to pass me. The Safety Car period was tricky because I was trying to work out how much time and laps were left. Overall I'm delighted with the win and I can't thank the Manor team enough for their hard work."
Commenting on his double podium Blomqvist said: "This weekend has been my best result so far this season but there's still work to be done. I think my race pace was really good and matched that of Williamson and Pa'l Kiss but my starts let me down. There's less grip starting from pole here which didn't help in either race and with it being so hard to pass you have to wait for someone to make a mistake which doesn't always come."
Speaking after his podium in round eight Tincknell said: "I've had rear suspension problems this weekend which has not helped but I'm pleased to end on a high. I nearly had Tom early on in round eight but he squeezed me out forcing me to settle for third."
Double Graduate Cup winner Gamberini added: "I'm really pleased with the two Graduate Cup wins but also to be finishing in the top 10 in both races which is great for us."
Rounds nine and 10 of the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship take place at North Yorkshire's Croft circuit on 19th/20th June.