FINAL LAP TROUBLES SNATCH TOP 15 FROM RUSSELL'S GRASP Russell Racing saw its bid for the team's first top 15 finish of the Formula Renault UK season taken cruelly from its grasp at a rainy Oulton Park Island Circuit this afternoon, Saturday,...
FINAL LAP TROUBLES SNATCH TOP 15 FROM RUSSELL'S GRASP
Russell Racing saw its bid for the team's first top 15 finish of the Formula Renault UK season taken cruelly from its grasp at a rainy Oulton Park Island Circuit this afternoon, Saturday, 13th May, less than a lap from the end of the third round of the championship.
While the day's two qualifying sessions hadn't seen a great deal to cheer about for the Doncaster-based squad, the opening Formula Renault UK race of the weekend saw driver Matt Russell produce perhaps his best display of the year until a last lap incident saw him record his first race retirement of the season.
The Harlesden 22-year-old, made a good start to round three and while several of the front-runners came to grief at Old Hall Corner on the opening lap as they struggled for grip in the tricky wet conditions, Matt maintained his composure and made big gains as he moved up from 24th on the grid into 16th position.
Due to the lap one chaos at the head of the field, it was necessary for the Safety Car to be deployed in time for the start of the second lap in order to clear away some of the stricken cars at Old Hall and Cascades.
The re-start came on lap seven but confusion with the delayed removal of trackside Safety Car boards saw Matt lose out. As the race neared its conclusion though, he put ex-Formula Renault BARC rival Alex Morgan under pressure but on the very last lap Matt slid into an unfortunate retirement with a season's best slipping from his grasp.
"I'm pretty downcast to come away from the race with no points as the start was good, I made a clean getaway from the grid and made up quite a few places on the first lap", said a dejected Matt.
"Thankfully there was no real damage to the car but I am frustrated with myself as things had been going well up until the last lap. Qualifying was the main problem again, I just wasn't able to string a good enough lap together but at least we start a little further up the grid tomorrow. If we can challenge around the top 15 again, I'll be pleased."
For tomorrow's fourth round of the season, which is scheduled to commence at 15.00, Matt will line his Russell Racing car up in 21st position on the grid, one spot ahead of Portuguese driver Joao Vasconcelos who finished round three in fifth place.
The race will also be broadcast live on digital satellite station Motors TV, channel 413 of the Sky Digital platform.