THIRD PODIUM OF SEASON FOR IRISH ACE HOGAN Formula Renault UK title contender Patrick Hogan remains firmly on course in his quest for the 2006 championship crown after achieving his third podium finish of the season at Oulton Park Island Circuit...
THIRD PODIUM OF SEASON FOR IRISH ACE HOGAN
Formula Renault UK title contender Patrick Hogan remains firmly on course in his quest for the 2006 championship crown after achieving his third podium finish of the season at Oulton Park Island Circuit this afternoon, Sunday, 14th May.
While delighted to have finished in second position during round four, the AKA Lemac star did suffer a weekend of mixed fortunes having been forced out of Saturday's third round of the season at the first corner, Old Hall, following an errant move by rival Sebastian Hohenthal.
Patrick, who unlike the vast majority of his rivals has only been racing since 2002, was relatively happy with the outcome of Saturday's two qualifying sessions, having secured fourth place on the grid for round three and taking third position for round four.
Mere yards into the opening encounter of the weekend though, the 21-year-old's hopes for his second victory of the season soon evaporated on the wet track after Hohenthal made a rash bid for the lead of the race at the first corner and ended up careering into Patrick, the Swede's own team-mate Sam Bird and French driver Franck Mailleux.
Forced to watch the remainder of the race unfold from the sidelines, Ireland's most exciting young single-seater prospect saw second position in the championship slip from his grasp but Sunday afternoon's encounter revealeda certain amount of order restored with Patrick regaining the runner-up spot in the driver standings after a great performance.
Starting from the second row of the grid in his Lease Plan and Spin 103.8-backed car, the Co.Dublin resident made a good getaway and soon disposed of pole-sitter Bird before turning his attentions to race leader Will Bratt on the second of 15 race laps.
Patrick continued to press Bratt and after a Safety Car period on lap seven, which became necessary when Josh Fisher ventured off the 2.2-mile circuit, the Irish sensation redoubled his efforts in an attempt to grab the lead.
As the race entered its final stages,Patrick appeared to be almost glued to the rear of Bratt's car and although applying as much pressure as possible he couldn't quite manage to force the race leader into the sort of mistake which would present a viable passing opportunity.
"I'm happy really", commented Patrick following round four, "Will drove a very good defensive race and I couldn't quite find the room to make a decisive move. We had the pace to win today, there's no doubt about that at all, but I'll settle for second as it's another good haul of points for the championship - we're in good shape for Thruxton.
"I was absolutely gutted after Saturday's race when Hohenthal drove into three of us and took us all out of the race but I like to look at the bigger picture and with a win, a second and a third from four races, we're right up there in the championship so I can't complain."
Patrick added: "I'm really looking forward to Thruxton, I absolutely love it there and I'm confident we'll be strong and will be able to return to the top step of the podium. AKA gave me a great car again today and I know we'll be quick when the championship resumes next month."
The second of the Oulton Park races, which was broadcast live on digital satellite channel Motors TV earlier today, will be replayed in full at 08.30 on Tuesday morning, 16th May. The station is available through channel 413 of the Sky Digital platform.
Patrick will return to competitive action three weeks from now on 3rd/4th June at the UK's fastest circuit, Thruxton in Hampshire, for the fifth and sixth rounds of the 2006 Formula Renault UK Championship.