BRATT STILL TOP SIX IN TITLE CHASE AFTER TRICKY WEEKEND Damage limitation was the order of the day for Will Bratt at a warm and sunny Thruxton Circuit this afternoon, the 18-year-old enduring his most difficult race meeting of the year after ...
BRATT STILL TOP SIX IN TITLE CHASE AFTER TRICKY WEEKEND
Damage limitation was the order of the day for Will Bratt at a warm and sunny Thruxton Circuit this afternoon, the 18-year-old enduring his most difficult race meeting of the year after struggling with power issues throughout rounds five and six of the season.
The Adderbury-based star, who headed into the weekend high in confidence after taking his maiden Formula Renault UK race victory at Oulton Park three weeks ago, qualified uncharacteristically outside the top 15 for round five and for the second of the day's races would start in 11th position on the grid.
Battling adversity, Will did manage to rise from 17th place on the grid to 14th position in the first of the day's races while during round six he came home inside the top 10, enabling him to remain within the top six of the championship standings, just a single point adrift of Chinese star Cheng Cong Fu in fifth position.
Speaking on a frustrating weekend, Will commented: "We just didn't have the power for some reason. In qualifying we thought there was something wrong but as it was difficult to get a clear lap anyway, I was reluctant to blame anything on the car.
"But in the races it was clear to me I just didn't have the necessary speed from the engine and Thruxton is the circuit where any power problems will hit you badly. On full throttle, taking the proper line, I just couldn't keep with the cars ahead of me.
"It's very disappointing as Oulton Park was such a good weekend and we were confident we'd be quick here too. The car itself felt good, I felt quite comfortable through the complex and as you head into the fast corners, but then when the engine was stretching its legs the power just wasn't there. Hopefully Knockhill will be a different story."
At the start of round five, Will got away well and by lap two he had moved into 15th position before gaining a further place into lap three and running as high as 13th during the first half of the race in his Apotex Pharmaceuticals-backed car.
But struggling with his engine difficulties, the Scorpio ace soon became part of a tense four-way battle along with team-mate David Epton, Duncan Tappy and Pippa Mann. As positions changed back and forth during the mid-to-latter part of the race, the Oxon teenager did well to stave off the attentions of Tappy on the final lap to finish in 14th spot.
Beginning round six from 11th position, Will's chief aim was to make his way into the top 10 and this he achieved almost immediately after making another good start. A short Safety Car period, which began at the end of lap two, didn't cause any problems for Will at the re-start and on lap 10 he was up to ninth position ahead of James Sutton.
The Fortec driver, however, used his power advantage to full effect by passing Will on lap 11 and at the chequered flag on lap 17, the Scorpio star crossed the line just over a second adrift of Sutton to take 11 very welcome championship points.
While hisround five and six results weren't quite what he had hoped for, one particular highlight of the weekend for Will was the opportunity to meet 1996 Formula One World Champion, and recently elected President of the British Racing Driver's Club, Damon Hill, who visited Thruxton as a guest of Renault Sport UK. Will, along with Scorpio team-mate David Epton, took the chance to speak with Hill during preparations for the first of today's races.
Although his A-level exams are still playing a major role during the coming weeks, Will should return to competitive action two weeks from now as the Formula Renault UK Championship makes its annual visit north of the border to Knockhill Circuit in Scotland.
The Fife venue will host rounds seven and eight of the season on 17th/18th June, with an official pre-event test to be held on Friday, 16th June.