HOGAN EARNS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD WITH INCREDIBLE DISPLAY Patrick Hogan scorched into a 19-point lead in the Formula Renault UK Championship standings at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire today, two supreme wins seeing the Irish sensation become the...
HOGAN EARNS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD WITH INCREDIBLE DISPLAY
Patrick Hogan scorched into a 19-point lead in the Formula Renault UK Championship standings at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire today, two supreme wins seeing the Irish sensation become the first driver this year to take more than one race victory.
Not only did the 21-year-old double his season's tally with a richly deserved win from second on the grid during round five, the AKA Lemac driver went on to control round six from pole position to claim his third victory of the year and make it five podium finishes from six race starts in 2006.
Patrick, who hails from Killiney in Co.Dublin, marked himself out as the star of a truly glorious weekend and now heads to Scotland's Knockhill Circuit in a fortnight's time confident of further extending his series lead.
After qualifying on the front row of the grid for the first of today's races, just two 10ths of a second adrift of championship rival Sebastian Hohenthal, Patrick went one better in round six qualifying, just managing to edge out the Swede for pole position -- his first of the current season -- to give himself the best possible chance of at least one victory.
As it stood, a good start at the beginning of the weekend's first race put Patrick in a great position to attack Hohenthal and by lap four the Irish star was all over the back of his rival as he pushed for a way past.
Try as he might, Hohenthal was unable to break Patrick and on lap seven the Killiney star produced the overtaking manoeuvre of the weekend -- an incredibly brave pass at Church Corner, the fastest turn on the notoriously quick 2.35-mile circuit, giving him the deserved lead, one which he wouldn't relinquish.
Not only that, Patrick's consistently rapid lap times allowed him to extend his advantage over Hohenthal and at the chequered flag he took victory by almost six seconds. The Swede did bang wheels with Patrick as the Irishman made his gutsy lap seven pass, but the AKA star was more than up to the challenge and completely unfazed by his rival.
"You've no idea how hard it was in the heat", said a delighted Patrick following his round five success. "Just to keep the car on the circuit with the rear tyres having lost most of their grip in these kind of conditions is very difficult so I'm very happy to win.
"We've been very quick all weekend through Goodwood Corner, Sebastian made a small mistake on the seventh lap and so I went for it and it paid off. He kept moving in to block me and we did bang wheels but as we got to Church he had nowhere to go and that was that. I'm so pleased to win, it was a great race and a great result too."
The Irish star's round five victory also saw him receive his trophy and winner's champagne from 1996 Formula One World Champion, and recently elected President of the British Racing Driver's Club, Damon Hill, who was Renault Sport UK's guest of honour over the weekend.
The second of the day's races, round six, saw the Lease Plan and Spin 103.8-backed sensation make another good start to lead from pole position and after settling into another consistent rhythm of lap times, Patrick took a completely unchallenged win on lap 17 and with it a healthy lead in the championship.
Speaking after his third win of the season, and second of the day, Patrick said: "What can I say? It's been a perfect weekend really, the goal was to come here and take the lead in the championship and that's what we achieved.
"I have to say thank you so much to all the boys at AKA, they've done an absolutely phenomenal job with my car. Every test, every race -- not just this weekend but each time we've been out on track - they've produced a fantastic car for me. They're a top bunch of lads and I'm delighted to win for them."
Today's fifth and sixth rounds of the season, which were broadcast live on Motors TV this afternoon, will be replayed in full this Tuesday, 6th June, at 08.30. The station is available via channel 413 of the Sky Digital platform and through cable provider NTL on channel 173.
Patrick will be back in action in a fortnight's time as the Formula Renault UK series makes its annual visit to Scotland on 17th/18th June. Knockhill Circuit, near Fife, will be the venue for the seventh and eighth rounds of the season and Patrick's first taste of action will come during the pre-event test session on Friday, 16th June.