HARD CHARGING SHAWYER EARNS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD Russell Racing's Matt Shawyer had to dig deep to fight for a podium finish at Snetterton this afternoon during round two of the 2006 Formula Renault BARC Championship, the St Albans ace staging a ...
HARD CHARGING SHAWYER EARNS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD
Russell Racing's Matt Shawyer had to dig deep to fight for a podium finish at Snetterton this afternoon during round two of the 2006 Formula Renault BARC Championship, the St Albans ace staging a superb recovery after a nightmare start to the race.
The 23-year-old, whose third position at the 1.95-mile Norfolk circuit this afternoon gave him the lead in the championship standings, ended up ruing an uncharacteristically bad getaway from the front row of the grid but a terrifically spirited and gutsy drive throughout the 15 laps ensured a deserved podium finish for the second race in succession.
Having posted the second fastest time of 1m 07.972 seconds (103.38mph) during the morning's 20-minute qualifying session, Matt headed into the race confident of a good result but his optimism was tempered after stalling on the grid.
Initially, it looked as though the BRDC Rising Star had made a good getaway from the line but he then stalled the engine and by the time he managed to get away from second spot on the grid, Matt found himself in eighth position with a lot of work to do.
He quickly moved up to seventh place and as the cars crossed the line for the start of lap two, Matt gained another position. By lap three, he was in fourth place and right on the tail of third-placed Ross Worswick, putting his rival under intense pressure as they rounded Riches Corner.
Literally driving the wheels off his Russell Racing car, Matt continued to pressurise Worswick on every part of the track. The breakthrough though came on lap 13 when the Hampshire sensation seized third position after passing Worswick at the end of the Revett Straight, as they headed into the Esses.
Instantly Matt started to pull away, underlining the fact he had been held up, and by the end of the race he was just a couple of seconds shy of second position. While disappointed knowing a win was within his grasp, Matt was still pleased with a podium finish -- especially as it gives him the lead in the championship standings.
"I messed up basically and stalled on the line", reflected Matt, "At Silverstone I made it tough for myself by starting fifth on the grid but even though I qualified second here it was a similar story today as I ended up giving myself a lot of work to do.
"It wasn't an easy race, I dropped back to eighth position on the first lap, and while I am quite proud to have come through to finish on the podium, the win was on here today really -- I just made things hard for myself.
"I think we had good pace, obviously I was following a lot of people throughout the race so our true speed probably isn't reflected in the times, but the guys at Russell Racing turned out a really great car and, again, for us to have jumped straight into qualifying with no testing I think we did a good job. For sure, I'm a bit disappointed though."
Next up for the Formula Renault BARC competitors will be the first double-header meeting of the season which takes place at Croft Circuit, North Yorkshire, on Saturday, 20th May, and Sunday, 21st May.
First though, Russell Racing will be back on track a weekend prior to the next two rounds of the BARC series with the team's Formula Renault UK driver, Matt Russell, taking part in the third and fourth rounds of the sister championship.
Official Formula Renault UK pre-event testing will take place on Friday, 12th May, with the race weekend itself held on Saturday, 13th May, and Sunday, 14th May.