Lost weekend at Oulton Park: Long knocked out in lap 1 melee. OULTON PARK, Cheshire, UK - Sometimes nothing goes right. Californian Patrick Long endured a lost weekend in round two of the Formula Renault UK Championship at the Oulton Park...
Lost weekend at Oulton Park: Long knocked out in lap 1 melee.
OULTON PARK, Cheshire, UK - Sometimes nothing goes right.
Californian Patrick Long endured a lost weekend in round two of the Formula Renault UK Championship at the Oulton Park Island circuit last weekend, qualifying a disappointing 15th then being knocked out of the race on the first lap.
Long's puzzlingly slow qualifying time was attributed in part to a powerplant that was "tightening up," necessitating a fresh engine prior to the race. Still, the 20-year-old American was only 6-tenths off pole. (The first 17 cars on the grid qualified within one second.) Set-up problems also plagued Long, as well as his Manor Motorsports teammates, with Lewis Hamilton the highest Manor starter in 9th position .
Long judged the start brilliantly on the challenging 2.4-mile circuit, passing, by his estimate, seven cars before reaching Oulton Park's notorious hairpin in 8th position. Upon exiting the turn, however, Ireland's Matthew Griffin, another of Long's teammates, was punted from behind and into Long, who spun off the track. Amazingly, Hamilton and Venezuela's Ernesto Jose Viso, Long's third teammate, were also involved in the same incident; Viso, Griffin and Hamilton all continued after repairs.
"Well, that was a tough weekend," Long explained in a classic &understatement. "The team has been mystified at my car's lack of pace &over the past few weeks of testing, so I was looking forward to the race &with the new motor. The hairpin melee was all part of the game of racing. &If you qualify in the middle of the pack you can expect trouble. I'm still &very confident of my chances and I'm looking forward to testing this week &at Brands Hatch. I think we're headed in the right direction."
The championship chase continues on May 5-6 at Thruxton. For more information on Patrick Long, visit his website at: www.patricklong.com.
<pre> Championship Points 1. Danny Watts 66 2. Mark McLoughlin 55 3. Robert Bell 44 4. Ryan Sharp 36 5. Lewis Hamilton 31 8. Patrick Long 20