Clark plays catch-up at Rockingham BRDC Rising Star, Kieren Clark of Cambridge, with support from MIS Race Insurance, had a mountain to climb at the Rockingham rounds of the Formula Renault UK championship. With a new design of car ...
Clark plays catch-up at Rockingham
BRDC Rising Star, Kieren Clark of Cambridge, with support from MIS Race Insurance, had a mountain to climb at the Rockingham rounds of the Formula Renault UK championship. With a new design of car introduced by Renault for this season, the 2009 BARC Formula Renault champion had not driven the new car until practice on Friday. 2 sessions of 18 laps, as part of the British Touring Car weekend, quickly showed that the car performed very differently to the outgoing car. From a poor qualifying position, a 14th place finish in the second race was a sound showing, with some dynamic passing manoeuvres showing a taste of future potential in the series.
Heading into qualifying on Saturday, with only a couple of fast flying laps available in each session, there was not much chance to get used to the set up. Only 0.99 of a second off the pace of the pole sitter seemed a good lap, but this was only good enough for 19th on the grid of the first race, such is the closeness of the drivers. Qualifying for the second grid later in the day improved to 0.94 of a second to raise Kieren to 17th on the grid, all close stuff!
"Having only been offered the opportunity to race last weekend, there was not much time to prepare, other than sort out the seat! As soon as we started testing on Friday it was clear that the aerodynamic package worked much better than the old car, as well as much more mechanical grip, so braking and turn-in was something I tried to improve in the 2 sessions. The tyres are loaded much more and now only last a couple of laps, so there isn't much time to find a gap in the traffic, you just have to go for it straight away." Explained Kieren. "In the first qualifying I managed to get caught behind some of the guys who were doing a very slow first lap, then caught the downshift paddle as I turned into the chicane, not really helping my quali time!"
"Second quali was much better, but still a lot of time to come from braking, as there is so much grip there from the car. A bit disappointing, but with so little time in the car there is much more time to come."
Race 1 on Sunday was greeted by rain, so there was no time to learn the best wet lines for the car, and a cautious race was rewarded with 17th place. "My start was very smooth, no wheel spin, so I was quite pleased with the control of the hand clutch, but it wasn't the fastest getaway, so that lost me some time. I was treading carefully to keep the car in one piece in the wet track for the next race."
With better experience of how to get the paddle shifted 7 speed sequential gearbox away from the line, race 2's start was a much more dynamic affair, with KC making up places down the inside line of the long turn 1. Confidence on the brakes into the hairpin turn 2, lost out on one of the places, but as the race progressed and confidence to push the braking point improved, places were made up, as KC climbed to a creditable 14th place finish.
"It was always going to be tough, having missed out on all the winter testing, and the first 2 races this year, but it was a good chance to get know the car a bit better. It was a great opportunity and a big thanks to MIS Race Insurance and the Scorpio team who have done a great job as always to get the car sorted for me." KC reflected. "I've got some interest from some potential sponsors for future races, so hopefully we will be back, possibly at the Oulton Park round."