Kidderminster racing driver Nathan Freke extended his championship lead in the UK Formula Ford series at Rockingham this weekend. Testing went well prior to qualifying with Nathan using his limited oval experience to good effect when driving on...
Kidderminster racing driver Nathan Freke extended his championship lead in the UK Formula Ford series at Rockingham this weekend. Testing went well prior to qualifying with Nathan using his limited oval experience to good effect when driving on the banked parts of the circuit.
Driving his Newnet backed Jamun Mygale Ford Duratec car he was always at the front end of things, but in qualifying traffic problems meant that he ended up on grid 2 for both races, not a handicap as the first turn banking probably favours the P2 man. In cool conditions the first race starts badly for Nathan as the car bogs on the line and he is away in 3rd place, but carnage on the first corner as some drivers try to use the chicane instead of bypassing it as instructed -- the result 1 car in the wall and 2 others out as well.
This brings out the red flags and an eventual restart over a reduced distance. This time Nathan makes a stunning start and he gets to the hairpin in first place, but over the next couple of laps it becomes apparent that there is a problem with the cars handling in the slow corners and the 2nd place driver soon catches Nathan. Over the next few laps Nathan is unable to maintain his advantage and slips to 3rd place when the leader spins and drops to 3rd himself.
Nathan avoids the spinning car and is into 2nd place probing for the lead over the next few laps, but having to ease off when the leader is constantly turning in on his opponent when alongside -- 'I could have tried to make the move stick but we would both have gone off I was clearly quicker and alongside, but as my nose cone shows he was driving as though I wasn't there' said Nathan afterwards.
This sparring allowed the previous leader to get back on terms and grab back 2nd from Nathan, on the last lap but one Nathan tried to retake 2nd but once again had to back out or go off, but on the last lap last corner he lined up the move, this time to the outside, and powered back into 2nd at the flag. '"I noticed that one of Nick's mirrors was facing the ground, so I stayed on his blind side until the last moment. I was quite pleased to have avoided all the damage and to have third in the bag - to get second was a bonus. This extends my lead in the championship which is very pleasing'
Race 2 on the Sunday looked as though tyre choice would be critical and the teams all made their section -- slicks -- at the last minute. As the other races did not use part of the track being used by the Fords there would be a mixture of dry and damp areas and it proved to make the race very interesting. Nathan made a blinding start again and had a 5 car length lead by the end of the first lap only for the safety car to come out to allow clearance of the track from cars that span on the damp hairpin -- this removed the advantage immediately.
The race then developed into a fascinating battle between Nathan who was quickest on the banked areas of the track and the 2nd placed car which was quicker in the infield -- however after trading places over 3 or 4 laps the 2nd car span out leaving Nathan to a controlled drive coming home to take the win, proving that under pressure there is no better driver in the field.
Nathan now holds an 85 point lead in the championship at the halfway point of the season and is looking forward to the next round on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit in 2 weeks time.