TINCKNELL DOMINATES AT RAIN-SOAKED SNETTERTON
Harry Tincknell (Exeter) took an early lead at the halfway stage of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Winter Cup series with two dominate victories at a rain-soaked Snetterton circuit on Saturday, 31st October. The reigning Graduate Cup champion who recently turned 18, secured two lights-to-flag victories in rounds one and two at the 1.9520-mile Norfolk circuit to take an early lead in the series.
The weekend also saw maiden podium finishes for Manor Competition's Menasheh Idafar (London) with second in round one along with team-mate Thomas Hylkema (NED) who picked two third places. Hitech Junior Team's Nick Yelloly (Solihull) also enjoyed his first visit to the podium with second place in round two.
Meanwhile newcomer Matthew Draper (London) secured the honours in the BARC category racing in his Antel Motorsport car.
After a polished performance during the morning's qualifying session, Tincknell lined the start grid for round two as pole-sitter. The race had been scheduled to run earlier in the day but was postponed after it was red flagged prematurely and abandoned. Idafar joined Tincknell on the front row with Fortec Motorsport's Dino Zamparelli (Bristol) and 16-year-old team-mate Alex Lynn (Essex) on row two.
With the track still wet from earlier rain, all competitors began the 15-lap race on wet tyres. As the lights went out it was Tincknell who made the best start to take an early lead with Yelloly shooting up the grid from row three to move into second. A poor start by Idafar saw the 18-year-old drop to fourth on the opening lap leaving Hylkema to move into third despite starting from seventh on the grid.
The opening few laps saw Tincknell quickly develop a lead over Yelloly as the rest of the field battled for position in the spray effected conditions. With clear visibility Tincknell was able to push early on and soon set what would become the fastest lap of the race with a 1m 15.577s (92.97mph average) and earning him two extra championship points.
In the midfield, Zamparelli was trying hard to make up for his poor start by pressurising the back of Marlon Stockinger's (PHI) fifth-place Hitech Junior car. Despite his best efforts the 17-year-old couldn't find a way pass although Manor Competition's David McDonald (Ewell) was able to find a way passed him to move into sixth.
After a mistake by Yelloly, Tincknell was now enjoying a lead of more than eight seconds and able to ease off on the now drying track. The same couldn't be said for Hylkema though who was now coming under increasing pressure from team-mate Idafar eager to taste a another podium position.
Just behind, Lynn was looking impressive in his Fortec Motorsport run car and was now close enough to Zamparelli to make a move up the inside of Riches which Dino was able to defend.
Formula Renault UK debutants Fortec Motorsport's Luke Wright (Dorset) and Manor Competition's Robert Foster-Jones (Essex) were also on the pace running ninth and 10th respectively.
The race belonged to Tincknell though with the Exeter racer exiting Russell for the last time to take the chequered flag and his second win of the weekend. Yelloly finished second to collect his maiden podium with Netherland's racer Hylkema rounding off an impressive weekend with another third place. Idafar finished fourth with Stockinger in fifth while Draper took the BARC honours.
Tincknell reigns supreme in the wet...
On a damp track, Tincknell lined the start grid for the first round of the Winter Cup as pole-sitter with Idafar alongside him and Zamparelli and McDonald on row two.
Tincknell took full advantage of his P1 position as the race got underway to lead with Idafar also holding his own while Hylkema made an excellent start from row three to move into third by the end of the first lap. Series newcomer Wright had also made a promising start to move into fourth after the opening lap with McDonald rounding off the top five.
In the opening stages Tincknell quickly established his authority, setting a pace which no other driver could match and building more than a five second lead after one-third race distance.
Idafar looked comfortable in second while behind, both McDonald and Zamparelli had been able to pass Wright to move into fourth and fifth places respectively.
As the race progressed, Tincknell continued to dominate on a track which was starting to dry on the racing line. Meanwhile behind, a great battle was developing for third, fourth and fifth places with a three-car-train of Hylkema, McDonald and Zamparelli. Just outside the top five, Wright was having to work hard to keep Yelloly at bay or risk losing yet another place.
With a sizeable cushion, race leader Tincknell began to ease off slightly something which second-place Idafar was certainly not doing and consequently saw the 18-year-old set the fastest lap of the race -- earning him two bonus championship points. Zamparelli was also pushing hard in the battle behind with a move up the inside of McDonald at Riches although to no avail.
With the chequered flag insight, Tincknell comfortably crossed the line to take his maiden Formula Renault UK victory with Idafar and Hylkema following to also take their first podiums in the series. McDonald held on to take fourth with Zamparelli forced to settle for fifth. On the last lap, Wright eventually succumbed to the pressure of Yelloly to finish seventh with Draper taking the BARC win along with the fastest lap.
Commenting on his performance this weekend Tincknell said: "It's been a really good weekend for me and I'm delighted with how things have gone. It was my attention to make sure I got a good start in both races and then to push early on which I did. That meant I could ease off slightly during the later stages. The conditions were less than ideal today and the track felt very greasy which made things tough."
Commenting on his maiden podium Idafar said: "I'm really pleased with the result and my first podium and to get fastest lap too was a real bonus. Manor Competition have given me a great car which has really helped my confidence."
Second place in round two Yelloly said: "I got a good start to get ahead of Menasheh [Idafar] and wasn't far behind Harry until I made a mistake halfway through the race which cost me but I managed to hold on. I'm a big fan of the circuit and its fast corners."
Double podium finisher Hylkema said: "I've had really good pace today and I'm really pleased with my two podiums. The team have done a fantastic job with the car."
The final two rounds of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Winter Cup take place at Rockingham Motor Speedway on Saturday, 7th November.