D'Agostino crowned 2004 UK Formula Ford Scholarship Class Champion
Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium Joe D'Agostino and Team JLR clinched the 2004 UK -- Formula Ford Scholarship Class Championship this past weekend with another strong performance at Spa-Francorchamps circuit for the 17th and 18th Rounds of the UK Formula Ford Championship. For the weekend the UK Formula Ford Championship combined with the local Benelux Formula Ford Championship and made for a field of 23 cars with some exciting racing.
With confidence high, the American took to the 3.6 mile Spa Grand-Prix circuit well having been very quick throughout the practice sessions and looked strong for qualifying. In Qualifying, D'Agostino made a few setup mistakes and struggled to match his earlier testing pace, qualifying 7th position for both races.
With conditions constantly changing for Race 1, both the UK and Benelux teams did not know whether to switch to rain-tires or to stay on the spec Avon racing slick-tire. D'Agostino and Team JLR made the decision to stay on slick tires and it proved to be a wise decision as the slicks proved to have more grip in majority of the circuit. In difficult conditions when many fell off or spun D'Agostino gradually worked his way forward to record his fifth podium of the year by finishing in 3rd position overall, winning the Scholarship class and taking maximum points for pole-position and fastest race lap in class.
For Race 2 conditions were similar with the circuit being damp but drying, although this time everyone started on slick-tires. After another strong start D'Agostino began to push to the front but was blocked by Japanese driver Yuya Sakamoto, as Sakamoto held everyone up D'Agostino made a lunge up the inside at Rivage corner. The two then made contact and although D'Agostino lost several places in the fiasco he quickly recovered and stormed back to 5th position. However, being hampered by damaged suspension due to the contact D'Agostino was unable to catch the lead group in front and had to settle for 5th position. By winning both Scholarship class races and taking maximum points available for 2 pole-positions and 2 fastest race laps D'Agostino achieved his goal and captured the Scholarship Class Championship.
"I am so pleased to clinch the Scholarship Class Championship as we have been strong all year, it's a big weight off my shoulders and now I can race for Overall wins! I was disappointed in myself for not doing a better job in qualifying as I had been extremely quick in testing, but I think I just tried to hard. It was nice to finish on the podium yet again and hopefully my results will help for sponsorship for next year. I cannot wait to go back to Brands-Hatch and see the progress that I have made from the beginning of the year and I am looking forward to finishing on a high note."
D'Agostino still remains in 5th position in the Overall Championship Class, although the gap shrinks each weekend to those in front. After some recent dominant performances in both Overall and Scholarship Class, D'Agostino has been crowned 2004 UK Formula Ford Scholarship Class Champion. The 19th and 20th Rounds of the UK Formula Ford Championship will be held on the famous Brands-Hatch Indy circuit 2nd-3rd October.
D'Agostino would like to thank Team JLR and all of his sponsors: Arai Helmets, Skip Barber Racing School, Sparco, The Mayes Group, and all of his personal sponsors.