VALIANT EPTON BATTLES BAD LUCK AT BRANDS HATCH Formula Renault UK star David Epton produced a valiant effort to finish in 13th position during the 18th round of the season at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on Sunday, a solid result considering he, ...
VALIANT EPTON BATTLES BAD LUCK AT BRANDS HATCH
Formula Renault UK star David Epton produced a valiant effort to finish in 13th position during the 18th round of the season at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on Sunday, a solid result considering he, quite literally, only just made it onto the grid in time for the start.
Having been on the receiving end of some errant driving on the opening lap of the day's first encounter at the Kent venue following a collision between Armaan Ebrahim and Fabio Onidi, Preston-based David ended the race in the gravel at Druids Hairpin having sustained fairly substantial damage through no fault of his own.
With just two and a half hours in which to repair his car for the afternoon's race, the Apotex Pharmaceuticals-backed Scorpio Motorsport team worked feverishly to get the 25-year-old onto the grid in time for the start, a terrific effort by all involved.
At the beginning of Round 18, the Bombardier Learjet, Universal Weather & Aviation Inc and Jet Air International Lebanon & Germany-sponsored star quickly realised his car was far from ideal with the team having had no time in which to set it up to his liking but David did a great job nonetheless to come home in 13th place.
At one stage, fighting a car which just didn't want to turn in to right-hand corners, he had fallen to 14th position behind Daniel Welch but as the race entered the final laps David's pressure paid off, Welch running wide out of Paddock Hill Bend on lap 23 and opening up the opportunity for the Scorpio ace to pass on the run to Druids.
Explaining his rollercoaster weekend, David said: "In the first race, Ebrahim went onto the grass at Druids and hit Onidi before Onidi then came into me and that was it, the race was over.
"For the second race we, literally, just got onto the grid in time before the formation lap started. The team did a great job to get the car ready but it was a case of just bolting on all of the bits without being able to set the car up.
"I locked my brakes everywhere as I struggled with the car, so to get some points for 13th place isn't all that bad. Silverstone is the focus now, testing there was very good so if we can get qualifying right, we stand a great chance of some good results."
Heading into the Brands Hatch meeting reasonably confident of two good results, bad luck returned to trouble David in qualifying on Saturday when grip problems seriously compromised what he was able to achieve. The front-runner had to settle for 12th on the grid for Round 17 and 10th on the grid for Round 18.
David hopes the situation will be different in three weeks, however, and is now focusing on signing off the 2006 Formula Renault UK Championship in style at Silverstone National Circuit for the season finale.
During official Formula Renault UK testing at the Northamptonshire venue recently, the Scorpio ace excelled having achieved the third fastest time, just eight 100ths of a second away from the top spot, so he is rightly confident ahead of the Silverstone meeting with a finish inside the top 10 of the championship still a possibility.
Both of Sunday's races, which were covered live on Motors TV, will be replayed in full tomorrow, Tuesday, 26th September, starting at 09.00. Sky Digital viewers can watch the action on channel 413 while NTL cable customers should visit channel 545.
The final two rounds of the 2006 Formula Renault UK Championship at Silverstone National Circuit will take place on 14th/15th October with pre-event testing scheduled for Friday, 13th October.