SCOTSMAN MASON SCORES MAIDEN FORMULA RENAULT UK POINTS Russell Racing's Ben Mason enjoyed his most successful outing in a Formula Renault UK car during the third round of the 2006 Winter Championship at Croft Circuit earlier today, the Scotsman...
SCOTSMAN MASON SCORES MAIDEN FORMULA RENAULT UK POINTS
Russell Racing's Ben Mason enjoyed his most successful outing in a Formula Renault UK car during the third round of the 2006 Winter Championship at Croft Circuit earlier today, the Scotsman scoring his first ever points in the ultra-competitive category.
The Aberdeen 22-year-old, a circuit instructor at Knockhill, didn't have the most fruitful of outings at Brands Hatch last Sunday during the opening two rounds of the four-race winter series but in the third round of the championship at Croft this morning Ben took the chequered flag as the 18th classified points finisher.
Backed throughout his winter campaign by Autobar, the Russell Racing driver started round three 24th on the grid after a tricky 20-minute qualifying session this morning which presented the competitors with a drying track and a choice on whether to gamble on running with slick tyres or treaded, wet-weather rubber.
With Ben and several front-runners opting to begin the session with slicks, drizzle midway through the qualifying period didn't work in the Russell Racing team's favour and with a stoppage following with approximately six-minutes of the session remaining Ben was unable to better his best time of 1m 30.020 seconds (85.06mph).
The track dried sufficiently in time for the start of round three and after a trouble-free getaway Ben concluded the opening lap in 24th position, surprisingly ahead of pole-sitter Martin Ragginger who spun out of the lead of the race after a handful of corners.
Focused on completing the full race distance without drama, the Scotsman achieved his wish other than a slight moment heading into Hawthorn on lap 10 which saw him briefly venture into the gravel, allowing Ragginger to move ahead. Nonetheless, Ben enjoyed the outing and on lap 15 crossed the line as the 18th classified points scorer.
Speaking after round three, Ben commented: "I really enjoyed myself out there, I started to get the hang of the car a bit more and the hang of the track too as I pushed myself more and more.
"Unfortunately I did push a bit too far at one stage and took myself off into the gravel trap but, other than that, I really enjoyed myself and the important thing is that we made some progress."
The fourth and final round of the 2006 Formula Renault UK Winter Championship began on a very wet track following heavy rainfall in the minutes leading up to the race and for Ben it would mark his first ever competitive running in such conditions at the wheel of a single-seater.
Starting 24th on the grid, as he did for the first encounter, the former Scottish Legends Champion did gain a place early on but with rain starting to fall once again as he approached the end of lap 13, and with several other drivers coming to grief, Ben chose to curtail his race early and returned to the pits as conditions became more of a handful.