EXCELLENT POINTS HAUL FOR EPTON AT DONINGTON David Epton enjoyed his most successful race meeting of the 2006 Formula Renault UK season at Donington Park National Circuit over the weekend, the 25-year-old recording top eight and top six results...
EXCELLENT POINTS HAUL FOR EPTON AT DONINGTON
David Epton enjoyed his most successful race meeting of the 2006 Formula Renault UK season at Donington Park National Circuit over the weekend, the 25-year-old recording top eight and top six results in Rounds 11 and 12 respectively.
At the Scorpio Motorsport team's home circuit, hopes were high for a strong weekend at Donington and David certainly didn't disappoint the Apotex Pharmaceuticals-backed squad, particularly in Sunday's second race which saw him climb from 12th on the grid to a superb sixth position at the chequered flag.
Sponsored this season by Bombardier Learjet, Universal Weather & Aviation Inc and Jet Air International Lebanon & Germany, the Preston-based driver's performance this weekend has also put him firmly in the running for the prestigious Donington Park Racing Association Club (DPRAC) Cup.
Awarded to a Formula Renault UK driver for the first time in the category's history, the DPRAC Cup will be presented to the British driver who has amassed the most points from the four championship races which are being contested at Donington this year.
On Sunday, David scored a combined total of 32 points and is therefore just two points adrift of James Sutton in the battle for the DPRAC Cup and a single point ahead of Scorpio team-mate Will Bratt who achieved his second career podium in Round 12. The next two Donington races, Rounds 15 and 16, will take place in September.
"It's been a good weekend and I think we certainly made some progress while also taking away some very good points for the championship", commented David, "I'm pretty happy with our pace, we just need to get the last little bit out of the car and then we'll be able to challenge for the podium for sure."
Round 11 saw David make a terrific start from ninth on the grid and in no time at all he was mounting a challenge for the top six, before unfortunately slipping back a couple of places by lap four. Embroiled in a battle with Josh Fisher and Franck Mailleux, the latter soon fell out of the equation after a coming together with Dean Smith on lap 10.
David, meanwhile, maintained his composure and although unable to depose rival Fisher from seventh position, the former Hampshire resident was nonetheless pleased with the result.
Better was to come in Round 12 though, the Scorpio ace enjoying an entertaining battle with James Sutton early in the race having leapt from 12th on the grid to the top eight by the time the Safety Car was deployed on lap two, following a coming together between Sam Bird and Jeremy Metcalfe.
The re-start came on lap six and by the ninth tour, David really was putting Sutton under incredible pressure for sixth position. As the race entered the closing stages, the battle intensified and after forcing two errors in quick succession from the sixth-placed runner, David produced a wonderful overtaking manoeuvre at Coppice to move ahead.
"My battle with Sutton was good fun and for four or five laps he looked quite quick", explained David, "He was attempting to pass Mailleux ahead of him but I could see Sutton was sliding around quite a lot so it was a question of waiting for the right moment.
"I tried to pass him at Redgate but then he made a mistake at the Old Hairpin so I was right underneath him as we approached McLeans. He made another mistake there and I was in a position to move alongside on the run up the hill to Coppice and then pass him with quite a good move up the inside."
The weekend's results have seen David climb two places up the 2006 championship standings to 11th position, just 24 points adrift of the top 10, having only contested 10 of the 12 races which have so far taken place this season.
Both of Sunday's races, which were broadcast live on Motors TV, will be replayed in full tomorrow, Tuesday, 1st August, at 07.00. Motors TV is available to Sky Digital viewers at channel 413 and via channel 173 of the NTL cable network.
Rounds 13 and 14 of the 2006 Formula Renault UK Championship will take place two weeks from now at Snetterton in Norfolk on 12th/13th August.