CHAMPIONSHIP TOP SIX IN REACH FOR IMPRESSIVE BRATT Scorpio Motorsport's Will Bratt remains in reach of a potential top six finish in the 2006 Formula Renault UK Championship after an impressive brace of seventh place results at Donington Park ...
CHAMPIONSHIP TOP SIX IN REACH FOR IMPRESSIVE BRATT
Scorpio Motorsport's Will Bratt remains in reach of a potential top six finish in the 2006 Formula Renault UK Championship after an impressive brace of seventh place results at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit today.
Having struggled with grip issues during Saturday's sole 20-minute qualifying session, the Apotex Pharmaceuticals-backed 18-year-old produced two action-packed drives in the 15th and 16th rounds of the 20-race championship to climb from 13th on the grid in the opening encounter of the weekend and 14th on the grid in the second outing.
Will's combined 32-point total also enabled the Adderbury teenager to finish a highly creditable third in the standings for the prestigious Donington Park Racing Association Club (DPRAC) Cup, a trophy on offer to the British driver scoring the most points over the course of the four races to have been contested at the circuit this year.
Commenting on his weekend's results, Will said: "We were so much quicker in the first race than we were in qualifying. We were half a second off the fastest lap in the race while on Saturday we were 1.5 seconds away from pole position. We took the decision to use a softer setting on the car today and it worked really well.
"It is a little bit frustrating as if we had been able to show the same pace in qualifying we would have been on the second row of the grid and maybe we could have challenged for a podium. To finish in seventh place was good though and I was pressuring David (Epton; Scorpio team-mate) towards the end and almost snatched sixth place."
Will added: "In the second race we made good progress again. Early on there was quite a queue of traffic but I passed a few cars at Melbourne Hairpin and a few more at Goddards. Overall I'm pretty happy with our results as qualifying was very disappointing and yet we've consolidated our position in the championship which is good."
At the start of round 15, Will got away from the line cleanly and was thankfully unaffected by chaos nearer the front of the grid when title rivals Patrick Hogan and Sebastian Hohenthal collided at the start.
Making good progress over the early laps, Will was inside the top 10 by lap four and a superb three-way battle involving team-mate David Epton and Dean Smith raged during the closing stages with less than half a second covering sixth-placed Smith and eighth-placed Will at the chequered flag.
However, the aforementioned incident involving Hogan and Hohenthal saw the Clerk of the Course move to exclude the latter from the race results, meaning Will's eighth position became seventh place in the final classification.
Round 16 saw the Scorpio team-mates nose-to-tail once again during the opening stages, the pair queuing up behind ninth-placed Pippa Mann, but after dispatching the Comtec driver, Markus Niemela soon became the target
While Epton was forced to retire from the race after contact from Cheng Cong Fu on lap seven, Will continued on his way but was unable to get fully on terms withNiemela during the final few laps, instead settling for seventh position and 16 very important championship points.
Following this weekend's race meeting, Will is 34 points behind sixth-placed James Sutton in the driver standings but taking the championship's double 'drop-score' ruling into consideration the gap increases so the Scorpio ace knows he needs a brace of very strong results during the next two rounds at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit.
The Kent venue will host rounds 17 and 18 of the season two weeks from now, 23rd/24th September, and the event marks the second visit of the year to Brands Hatch for the Formula Renault UK competitors, having previously raced there in April during the season opening race meeting.