UK Winter: Series Croft race one report

SURTEES CLAIMS FIRST WIN IN FORMULA RENAULT WINTER OPENER Henry Surtees (Lingfield) scored his first Formula Renault UK win with victory in round one of the Formula Renault UK Winter Cup at Croft on Saturday, 1st November. The son of the...

SURTEES CLAIMS FIRST WIN IN FORMULA RENAULT WINTER OPENER

Henry Surtees (Lingfield) scored his first Formula Renault UK win with victory in round one of the Formula Renault UK Winter Cup at Croft on Saturday, 1st November. The son of the former Formula One world champion led the entire race from pole position to win for Manor Competition. Fortec Motorsport's James Calado (Cropthorne) took second place, with Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton) third having started 13th.

On a wet track in North Yorkshire, Surtees made the perfect start to retain the lead ahead of Calado and CR Scuderia Formula Renault's Fredrik Blomstedt (Stockholm). Stoneman made an electric start from the seventh row gaining several places at the first corner before passing Highland Arena's Lewis Williamson (Golspie) at Tower Bend and Manor's Tom Armour (Billericay) at the hairpin to lie fifth at the end of the lap.

Lap two saw Calado run wide at the exit of Tower allowing CR Scuderia's Antonio Felix Da Costa (Torre) and Stoneman to move into third and fourth. Felix Da Costa, unable to score points due to his participation using a non-MSA race licence, then spun exiting the hairpin to fall to sixth and promote Stoneman to third.

In the FR BARC Class, which had three entries following the late withdrawal of Immanuel Bryson-Haynes, Welch Motorsport's Kourosh Khani (Corby) led from Hillspeed's James Theodore (Tadlow) and Apotex Scorpio Motorsport's Henrique Baptista .

At the head of the field, Blomstedt was slow through the Complex on lap three as the wet conditions played their part and Stoneman pounced to take second place. The following lap saw Calado relegate the Swede to fourth place. Lap five saw Felix Da Costa pass Armour after contact at the hairpin caused Armour to have a slow exit. Armour then lost a place to Fortec's Wayne Boyd (Temple Patrick) before more contact, this time with CR Scuderia's Harry Tincknell (Sidmouth) ended the unfortunate Manor driver's race.

Surtees, meanwhile, had set the fastest lap to that point on lap five to build a 2.5s lead as Calado passed Stoneman for second place. Immediately pulling away from the 2008 Formula Renault UK Graduate Cup champion, Calado steadied the gap to the leader before gradually making inroads into Surtees' advantage.

Khani lost the lead of the FR BARC Class when contact forced him to pit with a damaged rear wing and Theodore inherited the lead having started last on the grid after a spin in qualifying. Felix Da Costa moved back into fourth place by passing team-mate Blomstedt who continued to tumble down the order.

As the second half of the 16-lap race ensued, Surtees, Calado and Stoneman were evenly spaced but while Calado was catching the leader, Stoneman was paying the price for overworking his tyres during the early laps. Lap 10 saw Calado take a massive 0.8s out of Surtees' lead with a new fastest lap.

The lead duo were in a class of their own, some 10 seconds ahead of Stoneman, passing backmarkers in the latter stages. For five consecutive laps, Calado gained ground on the leader and began the final lap just half a second adrift. Although the deficit was halved on the final tour, Surtees held on for a maiden Formula Renault UK win.

Just behind, Boyd came through to take fourth place from Felix Da Costa on the penultimate lap as the Portuguese driver retired. Da Costa's retirement looked set to rescue sixth place for Blomstedt after he had fallen to seventh when team-mate Tincknell passed him across the start/finish line. The Swede was unable to hold off another team-mate, Finnish racer Matias Laine (Joensuu), who drove a solid but quiet race behind Tincknell to claim sixth at the chequered flag.

Commenting after the race, Henry Surtees said: "It may have looked straightforward leading all the way but it was far from it. James was really catching me quickly towards the end but luckily I had been able to keep my tyres cool early on when there was no pressure and that enabled me to hold him off."

Second-placed James Calado said: "I'm a bit disappointed with my start because that put me on the back foot. My car was set-up to improve later on and that's how it worked out but Henry was just too far ahead and I ran out of laps."

Third-placed Dean Stoneman said: "To start 13th and be third at the end of the second lap was incredible. We knew we had to go for it with the set-up early on but I think we overdid it so by the end it was hard work. It's still good to get a podium from where we started and hopefully I can repeat this in round two."

-credit: renaultsport.co.uk

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Henry Surtees , Wayne Boyd , Dean Stoneman , James Calado , Matias Laine , Lewis Williamson , Harry Tincknell
Teams Williams