Nathan Freke wins rounds 5 and 6 of UK Formula Ford Championship and grabs Championship lead.
Kidderminster Motor Racing Driver Nathan Freke was the star of the show at the 5th and 6th rounds of the UK Formula Ford Championship at Snetterton yesterday. Following testing on Thursday and Friday the Newnet sponsored driver was confident of a top performance in the races. Qualifying on Saturday afternoon was very close with Nathan achieving grid 2 race 1 and pole for race 2, however after studying the times later it was evident that he had missed pole in race one by 0.06 of a second, to a lucky lap by the pole man, whose lap time for race 2 was only good enough for grid 5 -- nearly a whole second slower. Nathan also being the only driver to lap in qualifying consistently at below 1 minute 11 seconds.
With long straights Snetterton Circuit is very difficult to make a break when leading because the Formula Ford cars are designed to encourage slipstreaming. So although it was important to make a good start leading would not necessarily mean being able to control the race. However when the lights went out Nathan took the lead and lapped consistently under huge pressure for the championship leader for the first 3 laps, when Nathan started to eke out a small lead to get a gap enabling him to break the tow the other cars were getting down the straights. By the end of lap five and in clear air with a battle going on behind him, Nathan continued to ease away making the fastest lap and establishing a new lap record on the way to his first ever car victory by the huge margin of over 7 seconds. Afterwards Nathan commented ' I am really pleased with the victory, we always knew we could win, but the last 2 meetings we have not had the rub of the green, this time it was ours. We were able to do the times from the front, which the others could not match even when in the slipstream. I'm sure that race 2 will be more of a challenge'.
Race 2 in the late afternoon did turn out to be more of a race, starting from pole Nathan was immediately into the lead again, but pursued very closely by a gaggle of cars. Holding the lead for only 2 laps this time before losing it at the end of the straight on lap 3 it became obvious that leading would not be so easy as race one. Lap 4 and Nathan is back in the lead of the pack but still unable to pull away, the lead changes hands again on lap 5 and then again on lap 6 when a crash in the chicane brings out the safety car which backs up the whole of the front of the pack onto Nathan's rear bumper. This was now uncharted territory for Nathan as he had never led a safety car restart, but had more experienced drivers behind him, however the start went well, but at the end of the straight he lost the lead again this time down into 3rd place. Next lap round and Nathan is back into the lead this time with a small gap and one of the 3 lead cars not on the track. From here as the car began to come on nathan pulled out a 2 second lead by the chequered flag setting the fastest lap on the last lap of the race. ' That was far more difficult and a more pleasing result, winning after a battle with the other more experienced drivers, the car was good, and the team and my sponsors Newnet have had their reward for the hard work we put into this' nathan said afterwards.
These results now place Nathan firmly into the lead in the Championship, but there is a long way to go, starting at Brands Hatch this coming weekend with rounds 7 and 8 of the championship.