Watts and Fortec Draw First Blood Danny Watts (Northampton) and the Fortec Motorsport team emerged fastest in the first official Formula Renault UK Championship test of the season at the high-speed Snetterton circuit in Norfolk, 27th-28th ...
Watts and Fortec Draw First Blood
Danny Watts (Northampton) and the Fortec Motorsport team emerged fastest in the first official Formula Renault UK Championship test of the season at the high-speed Snetterton circuit in Norfolk, 27th-28th February.
Watts, a title favourite after finishing third in the series last year, headed the times on both days, his best lap of 1m06.142s around the 1.96-mile circuit an average of 106.24mph. However, times among the 35 drivers taking part in the test were so close that less than a second covered the top 21.
Manor Motorsport's new Venezuelan signing, Ernesto José Viso (Caracas) - still only 16 years old - was the sensation of the test, setting the second fastest time on his first ever visit to Snetterton. Team-mates, American Patrick Long (Santa Barbara), last year's Formula Ford Zetec runner-up, and Briton Lewis Hamilton (Tewick), the McLaren Formula One team-backed 17-year-old - also making his Snetterton debut - made it three Manor drivers in the top six with the fifth and sixth fastest times respectively.
Current title-holder Motaworld Racing also figured heavily, its winter champion Robert Bell (Newcastle) third overall with team-mates Alex Lloyd (Macclesfield) and Gary Turkington fourth and seventh.
Likewise Fortec, who, in addition to Watts, saw its Brazilian Luciano Garcia (Campo Grande) and Briton Jamie Green (Broughton Astley) end the test eighth and ninth fastest.
Saxon International's Alex Buncombe (Taunton) was the highest-placed non-Fortec, Manor or Motaworld driver in 10th spot, while new team John Village Automotive's Stuart King (Watford) and Swede Stefan Soderberg (Gaule) both managed to squeeze into the top 12.
Other impressive performances came from the championship's two female racers, Fortec's 21-year-old Katherine Legge (Haslemere) and Team DFR's 19-year-old Susie Stoddart (Oban), each getting within one second of pace-setter Watts.
Teams and drivers now head to Donington Park, Leicestershire, on Wednesday, 6th March, for the second official test of the season to continue their preparations ahead of the championship's opening round on Easter Monday, 1st April, at Brands Hatch, Kent.
For all the latest Formula Renault news visit the official Renault UK motorsport website www.renaultsport.co.uk <pre> Formula Renault UK Championship: Official Test Times, Snetterton, Norfolk Date: 27th/28th February 2002 Weather: Sunny/Dry/Cold
Pos/Driver (NAT) Team Time 1. Danny Watts (GBR) Fortec Motorsport 1m06.142s 2. Ernesto José Viso (VEN) Manor Motorsport 1m06.248s 3. Robert Bell (GBR) Motaworld Racing 1m06.322s 4. Alex Lloyd (GBR) Motaworld Racing 1m06.524s 5. Patrick Long (USA) Manor Motorsport 1m06.535s 6. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Manor Motorsport 1m06.539s 7. Gary Turkington (GBR) Motaworld Racing 1m06.597s 8. Luciano Garcia (BRA) Fortec Motorsport 1m06.671s 9. Jamie Green (GBR) Fortec Motorsport 1m06.721s 10. Alex Buncombe (GBR) Saxon International 1m06.791s 11. Stefan Soderberg (SWE) John Village Automotive 1m06.806s 12. Stuart King (GBR) John Village Automotive 1m06.822s 13. Matt Griffin (IRL) Manor Motorsport 1m06.828s 14. Will Davison (AUS) Motaworld Racing 1m06.830s 15. Mark McLoughlin (GBR) Paston Racing 1m06.866s 16. Ryan Sharp (GBR) John Village Automotive 1m06.890s 17. Robin Rudholm (SWE) Falcon Motorsport 1m06.954s 18. Katherine Legge (GBR) Fortec Motorsport 1m06.974s 19. Keith Dempsey (IRL) Cliff Dempsey Racing 1m06.984s 20. James Rossiter (GBR) Falcon Motorsport 1m07.067s 21. Susie Stoddart (GBR) Team DFR 1m07.140s 22. James Murphy (IRL) Paston Racing 1m07.182s 23. Oliver Scullion (GBR) Scorpio Motorsport 1m07.236s 24. Charles Hollings (GBR) Mackie Motorsport 1m07.292s 25. Steven Kane (GBR) Mackie Motorsport 1m07.335s 26. Ivor McCullough (IRL) Status Motorsport 1m07.366s 27. Robert Scott (IRL) Aztec International 1m07.370s 28. Matt Howson (GBR) Saxon International 1m07.393s 29. Takahiro Ito (JPN) Status Motorsport 1m07.418s 30. Chaz Small (GBR) Aztec International 1m07.465s 31. Philip Kershaw (IRL) Status Motorsport 1m07.649s 32. Ben Reeves (GBR) Falcon Motorsport 1m07.655s 33. Paul Warren (IRL) Cliff Dempsey Racing 1m08.069s 34. David Hall (IRL) Scorpio Motorsport 1m08.163s 35. Vasilije Calasan (FRA) John Village Automotive 1m08.521s