D'Agostino's second UK Formula Ford victory foiled by foul play
Hampshire, England -- Joe D'Agostino continued the momentum from his recent race win on the Silverstone GP circuit to nearly net another overall victory at the extremely fast 2.356 mile Thruxton circuit, were the 15th and 16th Rounds of the UK Formula Ford Championship were held this past weekend.
D'Agostino arrived for official practice on Friday with no previous testing or experience around the very technical Thruxton circuit and was forced to get up to speed in changing weather conditions. D'Agostino ended the official practice day in 9th overall and looked forward to qualifying.
For the qualifying session it was the usual trend for this season's UK Formula Ford Championship with a damp but drying track and rain showers all around. D'Agostino pushed hard and steadily improved his time as he became confident around the circuit. With about 20 minutes to go in the session D'Agostino began turning in laps that were up to 0.4 seconds quicker than anyone and held the pole position up until the last 5 minutes when several drivers just bumped the American to 3rd for Race 1 and 2nd for Race 2.
In Race 1 D'Agostino had a good start and would move up to 2nd position almost immediately, only to be passed by a line of cars and shuffled back in the order due to inexperience. D'Agostino dropped back as far as 11th, but finally gained back some momentum and slowly began to claw his way back up the field only to run out of laps. D'Agostino finished 8th position overall and 2nd in the Scholarship class ahead of his nearest rival in the points.
Determined not to have a repeat of his earlier disappointment in Race 1 D'Agostino was hungry to get to the front and stay there. After a great start D'Agostino immediately took the lead and pushed to break from the field. After a short battle with Valle Makela, D'Agostino was back in front and pulling away fast. D'Agostino broke the draft and was pulling out a comfortable lead when with 4 laps to go, Makela of Nexa Racing pulled out of the pits as a backmarker in front of D'Agostino and began to block until D'Agostino forced his way passed. Unluckily the damage was done, as the group behind was now able to slipstream back onto the tail of D'Agostino. With one lap to go Charlie Donnelly made a clean pass for the lead, D'Agostino tried everything in his power but to no avail. D'Agostino had to settle for 2nd position, but was still happy to come away with another overall podium, a Scholarship class victory and fastest race lap in class.
After Race 2, the stewards and championship organizers excluded Makela from the race for ignoring both blue and black flags. The organizers are still seeking further action against both Nexa Racing and Valle Makela for the tactics used at Thruxton.
"For my first time to Thruxton I was not expecting to be right up front. It was a really difficult and fast circuit and in the end to have nearly won in the second race was pretty incredible. I could not have done so well had it not been for the fantastic car Team JLR gave me all weekend and wish to thank the entire team for their help. I am so pleased to continue the momentum from Silverstone and am looking forward to Spa in a few weeks."
D'Agostino has extended his Scholarship class lead to 31 points and has closed the gap down even further in the Overall Championship but still remains in 5th position. The 17th and 18th Rounds of the UK Formula Ford Championship will be held on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium 11th-12th of September.
D'Agostino wishes 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.