Derek Hill, fresh from his starting roll at the Goodwood Revival meeting, was brought down to earth in the penultimate pair of Formula Palmer Audi races at the Oulton Park circuit on Saturday. Derek was part of what turned out to be a chaotic ...
Derek Hill, fresh from his starting roll at the Goodwood Revival meeting, was brought down to earth in the penultimate pair of Formula Palmer Audi races at the Oulton Park circuit on Saturday. Derek was part of what turned out to be a chaotic shambles which ended with both of the two races being declared null and void after a series of incidents and changing weather conditions.
Hill (24), the 1997 Barber Dodge Champion from Santa Monica, California was looking forward to the weekend. Although he had never previously visited the sweeping parkland track, he recorded fourth fastest time in the private mid-week test session.
But with changing weather conditions and fractions of seconds separating the top runners, Hill had to be content with qualifying 13th for the first race and 15th for the second.
Race one started with rain threatening and a first corner collision between Derek Hayes and Topi Serjala caused a chain reaction with ten cars involved and the race was immediately red flagged. There was a considerable delay while cars were repaired. Start two was followed by a huge rainstorm and with cars on slicks, officials again held out the red flag, after two laps. Start three featured a start line incident and brought out the red flag again. Officials decided to abandon the race without a result.
With the light fading everyone tried again for the second race only for a first lap midfield accident to bring out the red flags yet again. Officials then decided to abandon this race as dusk approached, leaving a number of unhappy drivers and sponsors.
Hill, who was uninvolved in the various incidents commented, "It was totally frustrating and like a lot of other drivers, I'm not entirely happy with some of the decisions. But that's history now, I've got to concentrate on getting a good result in the final two races of the championship at Thruxton in three weeks time."
Meanwhile Hill received some outstanding press in Europe following his drive with former World Champion father Phil in the Shelby Daytona Cobra at Goodwood, the weekend before last. Hill father and son were placed second overall in the RAC I-hour TT Celebration race, finishing behind the Jaguar E Lightweight of Neil Corner and Mark Hales. The spectacular race meeting, with most of the participants and pit crew in period dress, attracted a crowd of nearly 80,000 in spite of changeable weather.
After a slow pit stop to change drivers, Hill junior raced back up the field in such spectacular fashion that he was presented with the award for the "Finest Performance by Any Driver."