SCOTT SECURES MAIDEN VICTORY AT RECORD BREAKING WSBR In front of a record breaking World Series by Renault crowd, CRS Racing's Josh Scott (Milton Keynes) secured his first win of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship during rounds 11...
SCOTT SECURES MAIDEN VICTORY AT RECORD BREAKING WSBR
In front of a record breaking World Series by Renault crowd, CRS Racing's Josh Scott (Milton Keynes) secured his first win of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship during rounds 11 and 12 at Silverstone Grand Prix circuit on Sunday, 5th July. Eighty-five thousand spectators, the highest ever attendance for a Formula Renault UK meeting, watched the Australian claim a superb lights-to-flag victory in round 11.
Meanwhile current Championship leader Fortec Motorsport's Oli Webb (Knutsford) took the honours in round 12, also held on Sunday, to increase his lead in the one-make series to 19-points. A consistent weekend for team-mate James Calado (Worcester) saw the 20-year-old secure two second places with Manor Competition's Dean Smith (Wolverhampton) also taking a double podium to move him into second in the drivers' standings.
In total 135,000 people attended the free two-day motorsport festival which was returning to the Northamptonshire circuit -- surpassing 2008 -- attendance of 110,000.
Win for Webb extends lead...
In front of the packed sun-soaked crowd, James Calado lined the start grid as Michelin pole-sitter following Saturday's qualifying session which saw the returning driver lapping in the mid 1min 46s -- well inside the lap record for the 3.19-mile circuit (1m 48.494s).
As the lights went out for the start of the 16 lap race it was fellow front row runner Webb who made the better start to lead the field into Copse closely followed by Calado. Hitech Junior's Jordan Oakes (Hopton on Sea) also made a great start from fifth on the grid to move into third with Smith slipping to fourth.
By the opening few laps, Webb was already beginning to pull away while behind the leading four Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton) was putting Scott under sustained pressure for his fifth place.
As the leading pair began to pull away from the chasing group, third place Oakes was now coming under increasing strain from Smith with the Black Country racer eventually getting the better of the 20-year-old on the exit to Copse. With Stoneman and Scott continuing to battle, Graduate Cup driver Will Stevens (Oxshott) was able catch in his Fortec Motorsport car.
With the leading three now well away, behind the battle for position continued with Oakes, Stoneman, Scott and Stevens swapping places every other corner before returning to the foremost order.
Meanwhile further down the order, Driver entry Jordan Williams (Tavistock, Devon) -- returning to the Championship after a four-race absence -- and Hillspeed's Menasheh Idafar (London) were battling hard for 13th and 14th places before contact between the two caused Williams to retire with a rear puncture.
As the race entered the final few laps, there was no change in the top three unlike in the midfield where Oakes, Stoneman, Scott and Stevens were still jostling for position and showing the closely fought nature of the series. Stoneman did eventually get the better of Oakes though to move into fourth while the patient Stevens timed his move well to pass Scott and move into sixth dropping the round 11 winner to seventh.
Out in front, there was little Calado could do to catch Webb as he crossed line to claim his second win in the Championship -- eleven races after taking his first one during the opening round at Brands Hatch. James finished a comfortable second with Smith taking third along with two extra Championship points for setting the NGK fastest lap. Stoneman held on to fourth with Oakes rounding off the top five. Stevens -- who was awarded the ELF/Atol Driver of the Day -- finished sixth and the leading Graduate Cup driver, the second time of the weekend.
Scott scores maiden victory...
Round 11, held earlier on the Sunday, saw returning driver Scott as the Michelin pole-sitter, the first time the 19-year-old has taken the P1 spot this season.
As the lights went out it was Scott who took full advantage of his pole position to lead the field into the first corner followed by Calado and Smith who had moved into third from fifth on the grid. By the end of the opening lap all 28 drivers were safely through with Scott already beginning to pull away from Calado.
Behind the leading three, Stoneman and Webb were battling hard for fourth and fifth followed by Oakes and Fortec Motorsport's Fredrik Blomstedt (Northampton).
On lap four, SSS Motorsport with Hillspeed's Lee Dwyer (Huddersfield) and Driver entry Michael Lyons (Essex) made contact at the exit to Club causing both drivers to retire and forcing the Safety Car to be deployed. This allowed the whole field to bunch up and end any advantage Scott had built up.
Racing resumed on lap eight with the race distance increased to 19 laps from the original 16. Despite it being his first re-start behind a Safety Car this season, Scott judged it to perfection to lead once more followed by Calado and Smith.
As the top five continued to press, the midfield battle was hotting up in particular between Oakes and Blomstedt with the two swapping positions for sixth and seventh with the Finnish driver eventually losing out and dropping further down the order. CRS Racing team-mates Harry Tincknell (Exeter) and Matias Laine (FIN) -- who was also competing in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 at the weekend -- were also jostling for position just outside the top 10 before Tincknell outbraked himself at Abbey to lose both time and position.
With the race nearing its full distance there was still no change at the front despite Calado's best efforts which also saw him set the NGK fastest lap for the race and also a new lap record with a time of 1min 47.582s (172.0kph average) -- beating the current record set by Adriano Buzaird last year.
As Scott crossed the line to start his 15th lap the allotted 30 minute time limit for the race had now expired meaning the next lap (16th) would be his last.
As with the entire race, Scott -- who was awarded the ELF/Atol Driver of the Day -- didn't put a foot wrong to lead his CRS Racing car home to his first win of the 2009 season. Calado finished second followed by Smith, Stoneman and Webb. Stevens, who turned 18 prior to the weekend, took the Graduate Cup win.
Commenting after his first Formula Renault UK win in round 11, Scott said: "I made a couple of mistakes in the race but overall it went really well and I'm delighted to be stood on the top step. The re-start was key and I judged it well even if I was a bit eager through Priory."
Round 12 winner and current Championship leader Webb said: "It's been a while since my last win so it's great to be winning races again, especially at World Series. The car has felt good all weekend and round 12 couldn't have run better."
Commenting on his weekend, Calado said: "I tried to keep Scott under pressure throughout round 11 but he drove really well apart from when he crossed the line and slowed down so much that I nearly hit him! Given I was on pole I was hoping for more in round 12 but given my recent fortune it's just great to finish both races for once! I know I need to step things up though at Snetterton."
Double podium finisher Smith added: "The first half of round 11 went well but my tyres started to go off towards the end which hampered things. The team made some changes to the set-up of the car before the race but it still wasn't quite working as well as it could. Round 12 was much the same but it's been a positive weekend overall for us and I'm looking forward to the next meeting."
Rounds 13 and 14 of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship take place at Norfolk's Snetterton circuit on 1st/2nd August 2009.