MAIDEN PODIUM FOR YELLOLY IN WINTERSERIES OPENER
Hitech Junior Team's Nick Yelloly scored a superb maiden podium finish in the opening rounds of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Winter Cup series at Snetterton this weekend. The race also marked a strong performance by Marlon Stockinger, the 18 year-old making up four places on the opening lap to finish in a season-best fifth place.
After consistently being among the pace-setters in pre-event testing, 18 year-old Yelloly was left frustrated with the fifth and seventh quickest times in qualifying for the opening two rounds of the four-race series. While Stockinger, also among the quickest in testing at both Rockingham and Snetterton two weeks ago, ninth and eighth fastest laps in the rain-affected qualifying left the Swiss Fillipino determined to make amends in the races.
The first round kicked off on Saturday morning, but was red-flagged early on and subsequently rescheduled for later in the day. That left round two kicking off proceedings in which a fairly uneventful race for the Hitech duo resulted in a strong sixth place for Nick, the Solihull teenager making a great pass on Luke Wright at the Esses on the final lap to take the position.
Stockinger recovered from a spin on the penultimate lap to finish tenth, the teenager pleased with his increased pace from qualifying and looking to better that result in the second race of the day.
With the rescheduled race one now rounding off the day's racing, both drivers headed to the grid confident of moving up the order in the still tricky conditions. Yelloly made a lightening start from the third row and was up into second place by the first corner, chasing leader Harry Tincknell.
Stockinger, despite momentarily being boxed in off the line, was equally impressive, moving up four places in the first few corners to cross the line fifth at the end of the opening lap. With spray seriously affecting visibility, Tincknell was able to pull away at the front, leaving Yelloly to take second, his best result of the year.
A steady drive in difficult conditions netted a superb fifth place for former FBMW Asia-Pacific front-runner Stockinger, in his first season racing in the UK.
The four-race mini-series resumes at Rockingham Motor Speedway next weekend 6/7 November with testing on Friday and qualifying and two races on Saturday.