McIntosh steps it up at Donington Donington Park, England (10 April 2005) - Canada's Sean McIntosh put in a dominant performance in the second of today's season opening Formula Renault UK Championship races at Donington Park, Leicestershire, the...
McIntosh steps it up at Donington
Donington Park, England (10 April 2005) - Canada's Sean McIntosh put in a dominant performance in the second of today's season opening Formula Renault UK Championship races at Donington Park, Leicestershire, the 19-year-old Vancouver native claiming victory along with the fastest lap of the race.
The reigning 'Graduate Cup' Champion and a pre-season title favorite captured his second win in the category following a faultless display where he led all but the run to the first corner on the opening lap having started second.
Sean's stunning performance in Round Two followed a solid sixth place finish in Round One this morning leading to joint second in the championship standings exiting Donington.
Round 1 (16 Laps) -- 6th Place Finish / Qualified 4th
Sean lined up fourth on the grid for the opening race of the season and as quickly as the start lights flicked from red to green he was embroiled in the action as the field unleashed their Renault engines on the run to Redgate. While Sean held station though the first turn he was to surrender a spot to Stuart Hall by the end of the opening lap. Briefly regaining fourth position on the second lap he was to drop back to fifth once again on lap 3, this time with James Jakes ahead in fourth and Hall back in sixth.
Charging round Donington's 1.9-mile National Circuit for the next nine laps Sean was the meat in a Jakes-McIntosh-Hall sandwich, the trio battling in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively. Pushing to reclaim fourth Sean's efforts often saw him close in on Jakes' gearbox as they exited the chicane nose-to-tail to sprint down the start-finish straight but the #24 car couldn't quite carry the momentum to execute a challenge into Redgate. Lap 12 saw Sean come closest with the duo thrilling the crowd as they charged side-by-side down the straight but it was Jakes who once again led into the first turn.
On the same lap Hall's relentless pressure saw him close in on the McIntosh-Jakes battle and while Sean valiantly defended fifth for most of the race he was unable to stop the British racer at McLean's. The final four laps of the race remained incident free with Sean safely holding sixth place, the Canadian kicking off the season with a solid points-paying finish in the first of the 20-round series. Ireland's Patrick Hogan took the spoils having led throughout the race while Sean's Team Firstair team-mate, Frenchman Jean Robert Niogret, came home 23rd in his rookie race.
With Round One under his belt Sean commented:
"It was a tough race! You always want the first race of the year to go well and to lose a couple of positions wasn't what I was hoping for. It's still a decent result and there's not that many points lost between a fourth and sixth place finish. We need to improve the car for the next race but we're starting on the front-row and we should have a good chance to take the win!"
Round 2 (16 Laps) -- 1st Place Finish / Qualified 2nd
With a number of small changes made to the #24 Team Firstair entry prior to the second of the day's races, Sean lined up on the front-row of the grid for Round Two alongside pole-winner Sebastian Hohenthal from Sweden. When the lights switched to green Sean was quick on the pedals and slotted in behind Hohenthal on the run to Redgate but this was to be the only time the charging Canadian would be headed in the 16-lap sprint!
McIntosh flicked his car to the right as the lead duo entered the first turn, Sean squeezing alongside his Swedish rival and powering past him with two wheels on the track and two on the grass. Having skillfully executed his pass he then seized his opportunity to lead the race and failed to disappoint as he quickly set about increasing his well-earned advantage at the front.
With a clear track ahead of him Sean powered round the National Circuit, extending his lead to two seconds over Oliver Jarvis by the end of the second lap. Jarvis pushed hard to close the gap to McIntosh but had to fend off the attentions of Stuart Hall filling his mirrors behind him in third. At half distance Sean's lead was down to just 0.9 seconds but the lead man duly responded to the pressure and increased the gap back to over two seconds on lap 12 by storming round the 1.9-mile circuit in 1m06.668s, delivering the fastest lap of the race in the process.
Sean's faultless performance was duly rewarded with the victory, his win mirroring an equally impressive performance at Oulton Park last season when the rookie claimed his maiden win, the first Canadian to taste Formula Renault UK success! France's Jean Robert Niogret came home 20th once again brining both Team Firstair cars home at the flag.
Following a champagne soaking on the podium Sean commented on his stunning first lap pass and his first win of the year:
"I had it in my mind to pass him (Hohenthal) at the first turn, I knew if I was to have a shot of winning that's where the best opportunity would be. He moved over a bit, I used a bit of the grass and managed to keep it all together to move to the front.
"From there I took off and kept pushing. Jarvis and Hall caught me a bit but I put my head down, got the fastest lap and led comfortably to take the chequered flag. We can use today's result as momentum for the season. Once you collect one win you can usually go on to score some more!"
Next Up: Rounds 3&4 at Thruxton, Hampshire, 30th April -- 1st May