SIXTH FOR MILLROY IN CANADA Ollie Millroy took a superb sixth place on his North American debut when he competed in front of the Canadian Grand Prix crowds at Montreal on Sunday. The 18 year-old Formula BMW Europe driver, switched to ...
SIXTH FOR MILLROY IN CANADA
Ollie Millroy took a superb sixth place on his North American debut when he competed in front of the Canadian Grand Prix crowds at Montreal on Sunday. The 18 year-old Formula BMW Europe driver, switched to the Atlantic Racing Team for a one-off visit to the Formula BMW Americas series and was delighted with the experience.
"Just to be here this weekend is a great experience," said Ollie. "Normally I race alongside F1 on the European trail so it's nice to take a trip to one of the far-away races and to finish sixth, first time out, is not a bad result. I'd never even met the team before this weekend and we worked well together, they did a great job and the car felt good."
The Claygate teenager has been travelling around a lot over the past few weeks and this weekend's race came just a week after the second round of the European series in Zolder.
The weekend started on a wet Friday morning with just one half an hour free practice. The BMW junior development driver and British MSA Race Elite Academy driver had only done a few laps before his throttle cable snapped and put an end to his session.
By Friday afternoon the weather had changed and the track was dry. A reasonable run in qualifying resulted in Ollie claiming two ninth place starts for the races on Saturday and Sunday. "I would have liked to get it further up the grid but I wasn't too disappointed because I felt I had a good car and could go forward in the races."
In the weekend's opening race on Saturday Ollie made a very good start and within a couple of laps was up to fifth place and chasing the leaders. "I was going well and was in touch with the leaders when there was an incident behind me which brought out the safety car. After the restart there was a lot of pushing and shoving and with only three laps to go I went to make a move up the inside of another car but unfortunately took myself out."
The second race on a hot and dry Sunday morning again saw Ollie starting on row five and another very good start and some brave overtaking at the first corner enabled him to move up a couple of places. As the race progressed, and with some well judged moves, Ollie moved up to third and was chasing down the leaders when he was hit from behind. This resulted in a big loss of engine power which dropped him down to sixth. "I was probably more disappointed in this race than I was in the first one because for sure I could have finished on the podium. I got hit from behind and lost a lot of engine power. When the team checked the car after the race they found that the exhaust was broken, so I suppose I was quite lucky to finish sixth.
"It's been a fantastic experience this weekend and the atmosphere and crowds here in Canada are unbelievable. I have spent a big part of the weekend in the Formula 1 paddock with my manager Enrico Zanarini, where on Friday I had lunch with Giancarlo Fisichella, Tonio Liuzzi and Honda boss Nick Fry. On Sunday I watched the Grand Prix from the Force India garage and got a taste of hopefully, what I've got to come."
Ollie is straight back to the UK now and on Tuesday he flies to Switzerland with BMW for a visit to the BMW F1 factory on Wednesday. He then flies to Barcelona on Wednesday evening to join the F1 team who are testing on Thursday. "After a BMW one-two this weekend I bet the atmosphere is going to be great. What a weekend for the drivers and team who with Robert Kubica are now leading the driver's championship by four points."
Next weekend Ollie is off to Belgium for a two-day official test at Spa Francorchamps on Monday and Tuesday. "My next race is at Silverstone alongside the British Grand Prix, over the weekend of the 3/4/5 July. I feel that myself and the team are improving all the time and if I have a good car at Silverstone I can get a good result. I'm really looking forward to racing at home. The British Grand Prix is such an amazing event and I am sure the crowd will really get behind the British drivers. Hopefully this year my name will be one that they're cheering for on Sunday."