FREKE CLOSES ON TITLE AT KNOCKHILL
4 September, 2006: Nathan Freke edged closer to the UK Formula Ford Championship crown yesterday when he claimed twin wins at Knockhill in Scotland to bring his victory tally for the season to seven.
Newnet backed Freke refused to let a wet weekend at Knockhill dampen his spirits at what was the Ford-backed championship's first appearance on the BTCC bill in three years.
The 22-year-old Jamun Racing driver claimed both pole positions after an intense battle with James Nash in Saturday's qualifying session. Nash had held the top spot for the majority of the session until Freke pinched it with just five minutes remaining. Nash quickly responded and retook pole but Freke bounced back again to seal it with his last lap of the session. Nathan's 2nd fastest time was enough to take pole in the 2nd race by the smallest of margins gaining both of the extra points available for qualifying.
Freke made it away in the lead of the first race and was able to open a decisive gap as Nash came under threat from Peter Dempsey, who found a way around on the third lap and set off in pursuit of Freke, but it was too late to mount a serious challenge, Freke had broken away and Dempsey was never able to make inroads into the gap. Freke controlled the race brilliantly from the front and scored a well-deserved win with a faultless drive.
In race two Freke put in another mistake-free performance to claim his second win but had to work a little harder for this one thanks to pressure from Nash.
Nash chased hard in the opening laps and even looked like he might pass Freke after a brief safety car period. He looked to challenge at the first corner but wasn't quite close enough to make a move stick. He was able to follow Freke for much of the race but, ultimately, the championship leader's pace, including setting a new lap record, proved too much and Nash had to settle for his second podium of the day.
"It was the perfect weekend for me," said Freke. "It was so important to get off the line well and make it really tough for everyone behind who had to deal with driving through the spray. I managed to get away in the lead and open a gap in both races, and the damp patches actually worked in my favour a little because they made overtaking very difficult."
Freke's championship lead is now a whacking 119 points - a good score at Silverstone in three weeks time ought to be enough for him to clinch the crown.