SUPER QUALIFYING EFFORT BY BIRD AT OULTON PARK Despite his inexperience in Formula Renault, Sam Bird, from Claygate dominated qualifying for the Formula Renault UK double header at Oulton Park this weekend. The challenging Cheshire track...
SUPER QUALIFYING EFFORT BY BIRD AT OULTON PARK
Despite his inexperience in Formula Renault, Sam Bird, from Claygate dominated qualifying for the Formula Renault UK double header at Oulton Park this weekend.
The challenging Cheshire track holds no fears for Sam, who had a double win here last year in Formula BMW. At 8.30am on a wet Saturday morning, yesterday, Sam went out and was topping the time tables right until the very last minute of the qualifying session, when he was pipped by a mere 3/10 second by Markus Niemela. "My pitboard told me I had pole position" said Sam afterwards, so I was a little surprised when I returned to the garage to find I was second "never mind, a front row in only my third Formula Renault race is a great result and I shall do my very best to capitalise on it".
In the second qualifying session, no fewer than six drivers topped the time sheets, but the consistent name was Bird, setting faster and faster laps, finally being the only one of 28 competitors to achieve a laptime of under 1min 20 seconds. "I'm thrilled to achieve a pole here" he commented "I really enjoy driving at Oulton Park and hoping for my first Formula Renault podium tomorrow".
However, Sam's hopes were short-lived, when a first corner incident saw him punted off the track from behind in the first race.
In the second race, on Sunday afternoon, Sam made a poor start and was downgraded to third place by the first corner. Pushing hard to retake his position, he tried every which way to pass the more experienced Hogan, but it wasn't to be. After an incident which brought out the safety car, Sam maintained his third position, until a flying Metcalfe overtook him with just a couple of laps to go. "He literally caught me napping" said Sam afterwards "Although the result of the first race was beyond my control, in the second one I definitely made a couple of mistakes, which you can be sure I have learned from and I will now go to Thruxton confident that I can now qualify well and aim to improve my championship position."
Sam now lies 9th overall in the championship. The next rounds are on June 4th at Thruxton.