OUTSTANDING SHAWYER NETS MAIDEN FORMULA RENAULT PODIUM St Albans race ace Matt Shawyer produced the undoubted drive of the day in the opening round of the 2006 Formula Renault BARC Championship at Silverstone National Circuit this afternoon to...
OUTSTANDING SHAWYER NETS MAIDEN FORMULA RENAULT PODIUM
St Albans race ace Matt Shawyer produced the undoubted drive of the day in the opening round of the 2006 Formula Renault BARC Championship at Silverstone National Circuit this afternoon to record his, and Russell Racing's, first category podium.
The 23-year-old BRDC Rising Star, who is already committed to race in the Asian Formula Renault Championship this year, signed an 11th hour deal with Russell Racing on Wednesday to take part in the first BARC round of the season and the decision proved to be a superb one as he scorched to a stunning second place.
Not only was the result Matt's best ever in a Formula Renault car, his stellar race craft and tremendous overtaking ability ensured the Doncaster-based team would leave Northamptonshire in high spirits with his second place finish by far the outfit's best since its inception last November.
Speaking on his maiden Formula Renault podium, a delighted Matt said: "It was a really satisfying race, to finish second from fifth on the grid is a great result. The car really started to come on about half way through the race and I was able to put some quick laps in and picked people off one at a time.
"I was happy with a podium place but then I caught Ross (Worswick) on the last lap and really put the pressure on as we made our way past some backmarkers, passing him on the last corner. I'm very happy with such a great start to the year."
Having had no testing time prior to the morning qualifying session, the 2004 BRDC Single-Seater Champion still managed to produce a quickest lap of 57.461 seconds (102.68mph), just two 10ths of a second shy of pole position, to achieve a third row grid start in fifth place.
At the start of the 15-lap race itself, Matt made a good getaway from the line and tried to challenge round the outside of Copse Corner for fourth position but was forced slightly wide on the exit and so had to settle back into fifth place on the run to Maggotts.
By the start of lap three, Matt had moved into fourth position and instantly began to pull clear of the cars behind him as set his sights on a podium finish at the least. As the race reached mid-distance, he was clearly closing the gap to third-placed Michael Broadhurst and by lap 13 he was within striking distance.
After passing Broadhurst before the start of lap 14 for a deserved podium placing, the near-impossible thought of second position suddenly became a distinct reality as Matt caught Ross Worswick on the penultimate lap and then produced a great passing manoeuvre at Luffield to take the position. JThe Hertfordshire sensation crossed the line just two seconds shy of race-winner, and pole-sitter, Richard Singleton to give the whole Russell Racing team a terrific start to itsFormula Renault BARC campaign.
Seasoned Formula Renault BARC campaigner Martin Bloss, who is assisting Russell Racing's Formula Renault UK and Formula Renault BARC operations this season, made an enjoyable return to the cockpit with his first race mileage in an FR2000 Class car.
After posting a fastest lap of 59.136 seconds (99.77mph) during qualifying to achieve a place on the ninth row of the grid, the 43-year-old made a blistering start off the line and although losing a couple of the places he had gained after being boxed in at Becketts on the opening lap, by lap three he was back up to 15th position.
As the race progressed, Martin moved up the order and during the closing stages the Andover father of two applied as much pressure as possible to 11th placed Pierre Renom but the Frenchman just managed to resist, crossing the finish line a mere six 10ths of a second ahead of the second Russell Racing car.
Nonetheless, Martin was very pleased with his performance after finishing 12th overall and 11th in the FR2000 Class. He commented: "The race was good, I really enjoyed it and it was great to race one of the FR2000 Class cars. I had a mega start and passed four or five cars but then got boxed in at Becketts and lost a couple of places.
"The aim then was to try and get past Pierre (Renom) but he was driving brilliantly and did not make a mistake. I think I was quicker than him at the end but I just wasn't able to find a way through.
"I'm happy with the result though, especially considering I had to learn the circuit in qualifying and I have to thank Matt Shawyer for his help there. To make up five places in the race I think I have to be happy and if the team is happy then I'm delighted."
Round two of the 2006 Formula Renault BARC Championship takes place at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk next Saturday, 29th April.