D'Agostino wins award, but not the race after being crashed out of the lead
Wiltshire, England -- After a brief trip home to the U.S., young American Joe D'Agostino returned to England last week determined take the championship lead in the UK Formula Ford Championship, but his first race weekend back was a difficult one, as he was crashed out the lead in race one and then lost a motor while leading again in race two at Castle Combe.
D'Agostino, who scored six wins in the first ten races, was quick again in qualifying for the two races, taking second on the grid for the first race, and then notching his ninth pole position of the season for race two in his Mockett.com Team JLR Van Diemen.
At the start of race one, D'Agostino a had clear run to the first corner, but he wisely slotted into second position and avoided a banzai run into the corner by Dunnan Tappy. With a fast car and a good measure of patience, D'Agostino stalked Tappy in the opening laps, and took the lead under braking on the fifth circuit.
Tappy, however, who is not a significant factor in the championship battle, was not content with second place, and damaged D'Agostino's suspension when he hit the back of the American under braking for a chicane. Undeterred and still in the lead, D'Agostino kept the pace, but Tappy was unrelenting, and two laps later once again he struck D'Agostiono. The second hit was even more severe, and sent D'Agostino off-track at high speed and out of the race.
D'Agostino wasn't the only one to object to the move, as the incident also did not find favor with race stewards, who excluded Tappy from the race results.
After a great effort from Team JLR to repair the damaged machine, D'Agostino was back on the grid for the second race with one goal on mind--to win. Taking the start from the pole, D'Agostino quickly converted his advantage into the lead, which grew with every lap. With just six laps to go in the race, D'Agostino's weekend turned even more sour as his engine lost power and he was forced out of the race.
The failure, which is highly unusual in the category, is suspected to have been a result of the incident in race one, and put a cap on a miserable weekend for D'Agostino.
Despite his race results, D'Agostino was awarded the "Motorsport News Race Ace" of the weekend for his performances while on track.
"I drove my heart out all weekend as I always do but it wasn't to be," said D'Agostino. "This one really hurt, especially the second race. I was pretty overcome with emotion but I did my best to put on a smile for the Team and to be a professional."
After being taken out many asked if D'Agostino would seek revenge, "No, it wouldn't accomplish anything and I'd rather just let my driving speak for me. It was a very difficult weekend, one I look forward to forgetting, but at least Motorsport News singled me out as a strong performer this weekend and I am going to be working even harder next weekend to put myself back in the championship hunt."
The 13th and 14th Rounds of the UK Formula Ford Championship will be held on the 30th-31st of July at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in Kent.
D'Agostino would like to thank Team JLR and all of his supporters: Arai Helmets, Kuzzins Kustoms, Mockett.com, Sutton Images, Sparco USA, and all of his personal sponsors.