HILL TAKES MAIDEN FORMULA RENAULT PODIUM DURING WINTER FINALE Manor Competition's Josh Hill secured his maiden Formula Renault UK podium during the final day of the 2010 Winter Championship at Pembrey Circuit on Sunday, 14th November -- the ...
HILL TAKES MAIDEN FORMULA RENAULT PODIUM DURING WINTER FINALE
Manor Competition's Josh Hill secured his maiden Formula Renault UK podium during the final day of the 2010 Winter Championship at Pembrey Circuit on Sunday, 14th November -- the highlight of an otherwise tricky event for the Nottinghamshire squad.
The Farnham 19-year-old, son of 1996 FIA Formula One World Champion and President of the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC), Damon, delivered an excellent drive from fourth on the grid in the penultimate round of the winter series to take a deserved third place.
Arriving at the South Wales track a distant 14th in the standings after an unfortunate retirement from round two at Snetterton, Hill added sixth, seventh and 11th place finishes in the three other Pembrey races to climb to ninth in the championship in his debut Formula Renault campaign.
Ollie Millroy, who headed into the series finale with a realistic chance of title success, saw his hopes slip further and further away as the weekend progressed and a retirement in round five sealed his fate. In the end, the 20-year-old had to settle for sixth overall in the battle for the driver's crown.
Reigning Formula Renault BARC Champion Alice Powell concluded the UK winter series 12th in the standings after a pair of non-finishes in the last two rounds. Following the first day of action in South Wales, the 17-year-old had climbed to an excellent seventh in the championship thanks to a pair of terrific top 10 results in rounds three and four but Sunday's racing wasn't as fruitful.
Motor racing rookie Jordan King continued to impress with a fantastic sixth place finish in the first of the weekend's races -- the highest placed Manor driver. However, unfortunate moments in rounds five and six -- following a non-finish in round four -- meant the 16-year-old had to settle for 16th in the championship. The newcomer's rapid pace though impressed many throughout the paddock.
"After a pretty strong weekend at Snetterton we had high hopes for Pembrey", said team co-owner Sarah Shaw, "We're delighted to have seen Josh take his first podium, and for Jordan to achieve his best result -- we've been massively impressed with both of them.
"Ollie and Alice had awesome pace in testing but with qualifying not going their way, they were both in the wrong place at the wrong time in the races so ended up getting tangled up in incidents and therefore couldn't take the results they should have had and that their pace merited."
Qualifying for rounds three and four on Saturday, 13th November, took place on a greasy, damp track with Hill emerging as the highest placed of the Manor quartet with the seventh fastest time overall, Millroy was ninth, Powell 12th and King 16th. In terms of second fastest times -- determining the grid for round four -- Millroy was eighth, Hill ninth, Powell 11th and King 16th again.
Round three started with a damp track but all drivers were on slick tyres and this made the getaway very tricky for Hill and Millroy in particular as they started on the wettest side of the grid. After a Safety Car period early on, the re-start came on lap four with Millroy running in eighth, Hill in 10th, Powell just behind in 11th and King in 14th place.
Racing ceased completely on lap 10 though due to a stranded car on track. Re-starting over a new distance of 10 laps, Hill came through from 10th on the grid to finish seventh, just 0.3 seconds behind the very impressive King who got ahead of his team-mate on the penultimate lap.
Powell made it three Manor cars in the top 10 but Millroy got caught up in a first corner melee which then set the scene for a weekend of difficulties for him. Dropping to 15th on lap one, he fought back into 12th place to limit the damage as much as possible.
Round four took place on a dry track and although Millroy came through the order well to finish fifth, he lost further ground in the title race. He did as much as he could though to end up just half a second shy of the podium with Hill a mere 0.7 seconds further adrift. Powell took an excellent eighth with a fantastic drive while King retired on lap three at Spitfires after contact from another car.
Sunday's fifth round started with Hill fourth on the grid, qualifying just 0.143 seconds shy of pole position in another wet session, while Millroy lined up fifth, Powell 10th and King 11th. Hill mastered the conditions in the race to take a superb podium, grabbing third on lap one and looking a constant threat for second place until he was delayed by backmarkers later in the race.
For his three team-mates the race was far less fruitful with Powell going off on lap two and Millroy dropping out four laps from the finish after contact. King made good progress early on and did climb into the top 10 but damage to his front wing and nose cone necessitated a pit-stop. Rejoining two laps down on the leaders, he raced well and actually set the fifth quickest lap of the race.
Round six began with Hill and Millroy on row two, Powell ninth and King in 12th spot and tyre choice would prove to be crucial. Slicks, which Manor opted for, were the best option as the track dried quickly but a couple of Safety Car periods enabled the cars on wet-weather rubber to maintain more performance than would have been the case -- plus the race then ran to time limit rather than laps.
Millroy was the team's best placed finisher in seventh, Hill took 11th place after a very strong drive through following an unfortunate spin out of the top four, King was 20th and a lap down -- after a spin on lap 15 -- and Powell retired at the start after a tangle at the first corner.
Final 2010 Formula Renault UK Winter Championship driver standings: 6th Ollie Millroy, 97pts; 9th Josh Hill, 85pts; 12th Alice Powell, 53pts; 16th Jordan King, 43pts