BRATT CONSOLIDATES TOP EIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP FINISH Formula Renault UK star Will Bratt consolidated his top eight placing in the 2006 driver standings at Silverstone National Circuit on Sunday afternoon during the 20th and final round of the ...
BRATT CONSOLIDATES TOP EIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP FINISH
Formula Renault UK star Will Bratt consolidated his top eight placing in the 2006 driver standings at Silverstone National Circuit on Sunday afternoon during the 20th and final round of the season.
The 18-year-old, a category race winner of course at Oulton Park earlier in the season, qualified a highly creditable fourth fastest during the second qualifying session on Saturday and after making a good start, he unfortunately ran wide over the kerbs on the run through Becketts on lap one.
Will's delay allowed championship challenger Patrick Hogan to move past and then, on lap five, the Safety Car was deployed following an on-track incident involving Dean Smith. Circulating under caution for three laps, racing resumed on lap eight but during the next tour Will was demoted a further place by Jeremy Metcalfe.
Although under pressure from Cheng Cong Fu, who had a strong car towards the end of the race, Will dealt admirably with the attention to come home on lap 24 in sixth position and take 18 well deserved championship points.
However, the sixth spot became fifth -- and with it an additional two points -- several hours after the race when the Clerk of the Course excluded second-placed finisher Sam Bird from the results for driving in contravention of series regulations during the Safety Car period.
After the race Will was pleased with the result and although disappointed not to have retained his place in the top four, the Adderbury ace was nonetheless delighted with his pace having lapped just a 10th of a second a lap slower in his Apotex Pharmaceuticals-backed car than race winner Sebastian Hohenthal.
"I'm really quite pleased with our pace in the second race", explained Will, "It would have been nice to end the season with a top four but sixth is still a good result. Cheng was catching me towards the end, he had a stronger car over the final part of the race, but I was able to do enough to hold on to the flag.
"It's been a good season all in all, obviously I was delighted to win my first race at Oulton Park earlier in the year and our podium at Donington was another great weekend. We've shown we have the pace to run at the front and if we can do that more regularly next year, we stand a good chance in the championship."
For Sunday's earlier 19th round, Will started the race from 31st and last on the grid having been forced to miss the relevant qualifying session due to his attendance at a special Matriculation Ceremony at the University of Oxford on Saturday morning.
After making an outstanding start and rapidly making headway towards the top 20 on only the opening lap, Will found himself having to take avoiding action at Becketts when several competitors came into contact as they jostled for position.
On lap eight, the Adderbury ace was in 20th position -- the first points-paying spot -- but soon after Will pitted to make some minor adjustments to the car with a view to 'testing' the set-up ahead of the final race. He eventually came home a lap down on the leaders but, importantly, on front-running pace with very impressive lap times.
"It was a tactical race for us", explained Will, "We obviously couldn't challenge for very much from 31st on the grid so we did look at the race as an opportunity to get the car set-up as well as possible for round 20.
"I made a really good start but then some of the Formula Renault BARC drivers who entered the race all hit each other. I managed to avoid the problems thankfully and our fastest lap was just two 10ths of a second slower than the fastest of all."
With his second season of Formula Renault UK action now concluded, Will's attention in the immediate aftermath of the race weekend turns to his studies at the University of Oxford's Lincoln College. It also remains to be seen if Will is likely to register for the Formula Renault UK Winter Championship which takes place in November.
Motors TV will broadcast a full re-run of the 19th and 20th rounds of the 2006 Formula Renault UK Championship this Tuesday morning, 17th October, at 07.00. Motors TV is available to Sky Digital subscribers at channel 413 and to NTL cable customers at channel 545.