Formula Palmer Audi ace, Gideon Cresswell claimed a‘ double top’ of a pole position and a race win during rounds seven and eight of the championship, held at his home circuit of Brands Hatch last weekend.
Session 1: 1st: 46.389s
Session 2: 2nd: 46.551s
A dry and sunny first qualifying saw Cresswell immediately setting the pace. Despite slipping to fifth as the session progressed, he put in a string of sizzling laps towards the end to reclaim pole with a best time of 46.389s.
A similar story in second qualifying again saw Cresswell topping the times early on before dropping back mid-way through the session. Although he recovered to work his way back up to pole, the Maidstone ace was pipped at the flag and forced to settle for second, just 0.007 of a second off the top spot.
Heavy rain and standing water on the track for Sunday’s round seven meant the race was preceded by two warm up laps, allowing the drivers to get to grips with the tricky conditions.
An uncharacteristically poor start from Cresswell allowed Rob Lofting to seize the initiative, beating the QAS-backed car into the first corner. Cresswell quickly recovered his composure and set about passing the leader, making his first attempt at Surtees. When the leader slowed on the entry to Graham Hill Bend next time around, Cresswell ran wide and in doing so, lost two places.
Gathering it all together again, Cresswell quickly repassed Atkinson but found that his incorrect brake balance was costing him time running wide through Graham Hill bend. Suffering the same fate on lap four, Cresswell found himself in a lowly mid-field position but faster than the cars in front through most of the rest of the lap.
Shadowing Tim Whale through Druids on lap five, an ambitious move by Arthur Atkinson through the apex of the corner knocked Cresswell into the gravel and out of the race.
“ I was closing on Tim (Whale) towards Druids when I saw Atkinson was way back in my mirrors so I didn’t expect him to try anything,” Cresswell remarked.“ Then when I turned into Druids, Atkinson was suddenly up the inside of my car. I knew he wouldn’t make the corner unless he hit me and that’s what he did, putting me into the gravel. It was a very disappointing end to the race after starting from pole.”
A reversal of fortunes in round eight began with a dry track and clear skies. As the lights changed to green, Cresswell bounded off the grid and pulled alongside pole sitter, Whale on the run down to the first corner. Nosing alongside on the outside of Paddock, Cresswell surged past on the exit and defended the position with a strong line into Druids.
Building his lead over the rest of the field, Cresswell was temporarily halted in his tracks due to yellow flags at Graham Hill Bend. Trapped behind a back marker and prevented from making a passing move on the bottom straight due to a beached car, the QAS-backed driver’s lead was whittled away.
After finally streaking past the back marker into Clearways, Cresswell had set about rebuilding his advantage when the Safety Car was scrambled. When the Safety Car indicated that it would return to the pits, Cresswell held back to ensure a good run down to the first corner.
Approaching Paddock on cooled tyres, the leader began to suffer from understeer, allowing the chasing pack to close up once again. Pulling away in the latter stages of the twenty-five-lap race, Cresswell took the flag in style for his second win of the season. “ I’m really pleased with this result as it puts me back in contention for a good championship finish,” he said.“ As ever, I’d like to thank my sponsors, QAS Systems and Kerry Ingredients.”
Next race: Donington Park, 8-9 September.