HOGAN EXTENDS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD AT KNOCKHILL Irish star Patrick Hogan proved exactly why he is the Formula Renault UK Championship leader at a wet Knockhill over the weekend, the 21-year-old keeping his head while his chief rivals seemed to lose...
HOGAN EXTENDS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD AT KNOCKHILL
Irish star Patrick Hogan proved exactly why he is the Formula Renault UK Championship leader at a wet Knockhill over the weekend, the 21-year-old keeping his head while his chief rivals seemed to lose theirs during two chaotic races.
The AKA Lemac star, who now heads the title chase by an impressive 33 points, achieved a solid fifth position finish during round seven before going on to take a well deserved podium after just seven racing laps of a truncated eighth round.
Most importantly, Patrick scored heavily in both races at the Scottish venue to further strengthen his hold on the championship and as the midway point of the season approaches, he returns home to Killiney on Monday delighted with his weekend's work.
"It's been a very positive weekend", commented Patrick, "The results are nothing too spectacular but you have to think, the wins are the glory days and it's the kind of results we've achieved this weekend which are the ones that really go to making a successful championship run.
"It was important to come away from Knockhill with two strong results, especially after we struggled a little bit in qualifying. It was a crazy weekend with the weather, the red flags and what have you but the end result is we've extended our lead in the standings and what could have been a bad weekend has turned into a very good one."
Patrick began his weekend in good form, setting the second fastest time during official testing on Friday, but Saturday's two qualifying sessions were not what the Irishman had hoped for and he found himself lining up eighth on the grid for the first of the weekend's races, a more satisfactory fourth place awaiting him for the start of round eight.
The first of Sunday's outings ended up being a race of two halves, the first part seeing Patrick make up good ground early on but on lap four he sustained some damage to his front wing after being clipped by another car.
Nonetheless, he maintained sixth place but on lap five the Safety Car was deployed after AKA Lemac team-mate Jeremy Metcalfe went off the circuit quite heavily. As the marshals attempted to recover the damaged car, a decision to bring out the red flags was taken by the Clerk of the Course.
After a 15-minute delay, the race was re-started as a 12-lap encounter and Patrick got away cleanly to hold sixth position. On the last lap it looked as though he had snatched fifth place from Cheng Cong Fu at the hairpin but as the two former team-mates went slightly wide on the exit, it was Finnish driver Valle Makela who took the position.
Patrick crossed the line in sixth place but several hours later he was handed fifth position when the Clerk of the Course moved to exclude second-placed finisher Josh Fisher from the results after a rule infringement.
"It wasn't worth pushing things too hard in the first race", explained Patrick, "I was happy with sixth position as a good, solid result but Fisher was rightly excluded so I'm very happy to have the two extra points for fifth place."
Round eight was the subject of much consternation, a huge accident at the end of the eighth lap seeing Daniel Roos airborne after hitting the rear of Peter Rees' slowing car on the approach to the pits. The ensuing damage left the officials with no choice but to red flag the race.
At the start, Patrick made a good getaway from fourth on the grid and he took third position from title rival Sebastian Hohenthal almost immediately. Contact from the Swede as he made an over-ambitious attempt to regain lost ground at Clark Curve wasn't enough to disrupt the series leader though.
Due to the Roos accident, which thankfully saw no major injuries incurred by any of the involved drivers, a result was declared after seven racing laps with Patrick taking a welcome third place -- his sixth visit to the podium from only eight races this season.
Patrick's next on-track action will take place at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk on Tuesday, 27th June, as part of an official Formula Renault UK test day. North Yorkshire's Croft Circuit will then host the ninth and 10th rounds of the season on 15th/16th July with a pre-event test session on Friday, 14th July.
Please note, there will unfortunately be no television coverage from this weekend's races at Knockhill.