PLEASING TOP SIX RESULT FOR KNOCKHILL ROOKIE EPTON Scorpio Motorsport's David Epton underlined his Formula Renault UK Championship credentials at a wet, and fairly chaotic, Knockhill Circuit on Sunday -- a top six finish his reward for a strong...
PLEASING TOP SIX RESULT FOR KNOCKHILL ROOKIE EPTON
Scorpio Motorsport's David Epton underlined his Formula Renault UK Championship credentials at a wet, and fairly chaotic, Knockhill Circuit on Sunday -- a top six finish his reward for a strong showing during the eighth round of the 2006 season.
The 25-year-old, who is sponsored by Bombardier Learjet, Universal Aviation and Jet-Air, produced one of his most competitive drives of the season during the second of the weekend's races, an outing shortened by the Clerk of the Course following a dramatic collision between three competitors with less than half the allotted laps completed.
David's impressive round eight result was all the more satisfying considering his total lack of experience at the tricky 1.3-mile Scottish venue. The Preston-based star arrived at the Fife circuit on Friday for the first time in his successful racing career, but he quickly got to grips with the track during the official test session.
Although disappointed to have qualified in 17th position for round seven, during the second of Saturday's two 20-minute sessions David boosted his hopes after posting the eighth quickest time, a mere three 10ths of a second adrift of pole position pace.
The first of Sunday's races turned into a two-part outing after erstwhile championship leader Jeremy Metcalfe had a major impact with the tyre wall following a coming together with Franck Mailleux.
However, Mailleux would also have a say in the outcome of David's race following the re-start, the Frenchman unceremoniously hitting the Apotex Pharmaceuticals-backed car and forcing the Scorpio ace out of a healthy 12th position.
David recovered to finish in the final points-paying position but then gained two further places, and a brace of extra points, after the race when the Clerk of the Course excluded Mailleux and fellow competitor Josh Fisher from the results for separate infringements.
The second of the day's races was marred by a major collision between three cars less than half-way through the planned 20-lap encounter, red flags shown after eight laps and the result declared from the first seven racing laps.
Starting a terrific eighth on the grid, one position ahead of team-mate Will Bratt, David slipped back to ninth spot initially but produced a good performance during the early stages to move into sixth position by the time the red flags were shown. Fourth place for team-mate Bratt made it a double-celebration for the Scorpio team.
The 18 points David receives for sixth place, added to the three points salvaged from Sunday's earlier round seven, see him rise two positions in the Formula Renault UK driver standings to 12 place overall and with the top 10 now firmly in his sights.
"The second race was a good team result, I'm very pleased with sixth place and Will did a good job to finish fourth", commented David, "As I've been saying recently, we have the pace to be among the front-runners on a regular basis and this is proof of that.
"It was a challenge coming into the weekend with no experience of the circuit at all and even though we had the test session on Friday, it turned out to be relatively useless for us in as much as the test was dry and the races were wet.
"Things were going well in the first race so it was a shame to be taken out but we did make amends in round eight. The conditions were very tricky indeed but we improved well throughout the weekend and now we're looking forward to Croft next month which will hopefully be a good race meeting for us."
David returns to action just over a week from now, Tuesday, 27th June, for an official Formula Renault UK test day at Snetterton in Norfolk. Rounds nine and 10 of the season will then take place on 15th/16th July at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire with pre-event testing scheduled for Friday, 14th July.