MAIDEN FPA PODIUM FOR BRATT AT BRANDS HATCH INDY
Will Bratt took his first ever podium finish in Formula Palmer Audi with third place during race two of the 2007 Autumn Trophy at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent earlier today, but the 19-year-old remains disappointed not to have taken more from the weekend having been the dominant force in qualifying on Saturday.
Conquering the FPA car on his first fully competitive run yesterday by taking two pole position starts from the three qualifying sessions, the Apotex UK backed racer headed into today's opening encounter aiming to win on his Formula Palmer Audi race debut but a series of grip issues prevented that from happening.
Nonetheless, since Will's 11th hour signing for the Autumn Trophy his sole aim for the opening weekend at Brands Hatch was to gain experience of the car in order to prepare for the all-important McLaren Autosport BRDC Award 'shoot-out' at Snetterton in Norfolk seven days from now so, to that end, the Banbury ace met his objectives.
From pole position, Will led the first quarter of a wet race one but a challenge from Richard Keen into Paddock Hill Bend after a short Safety Car period forced the Oxford University scholar wide, resulting in a trip into the gravel on the exit of the corner.
Rescuing his maiden FPA race by guiding his car through the gravel and back onto the damp asphalt, Will was disappointed to end the encounter in fifth position and hoped for more from pole position in race two.
Problems off the line in the second outing, however, meant Will's start was compromised immediately and having dropped to fourth position by the time he reached Paddock Hill Bend, the BRDC Rising Star did at least manage to fight his way back into the top three to claim a maiden FPA podium.
In a re-started third race, Will fell to the tail of the field early on following contact with a rival when attempting an overtaking manoeuvre but he showed grit and determination to fight his way back from 18th place to 12th position at the chequered flag.
"Being on the podium in race two was something positive but to have been so strong in the dry in qualifying with two pole positions and a second row start and to have come away with the results we have is disappointing and not what we wanted", said Will, "We had some problems with traction and grip in the wet but I think we know why now.
"What I am happy about is that I'm pretty confident we know where we need to go now with the car at Snetterton and this weekend's seat time has been good preparation for the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award shoot-out. This weekend was always going to be about preparing for Snetterton where I'm aiming for nothing less than race wins."
Races four, five and six of the 2007 Visma Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Trophy will take place next weekend, 3rd/4th November, at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk. While hoping for a hat-trick of race wins, Will's priority, of course, is to succeed in the final two races of the event which will determine the winner of the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award 'shoot-out'.
Earning the highest points scorer over the course of the last two races a finalist's place in the 2007 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award evaluations, the concluding meeting of the FPA Autumn Trophy is certainly set to be a spectacular and action-packed one.
Following a 20 minute practice session at 09.00 on Saturday, 3rd November, race four qualifying will take place at 10.35 with the race five and race six qualifying sessions set to follow at 12.25 and 14.20. On Sunday, 4th November, race four of the Autumn Trophy will begin at 10.00, race five is scheduled to start at 12.20 and race six will follow at 14.50.