MANOR COMPETITION CROWNED 2010 ENTRANTS CHAMPIONS Nottinghamshire-based Michelin Formula Renault UK squad Manor Competition won the 2010 entrants title at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on Sunday, 10th October, as the team's Lewis Williamson just ...
MANOR COMPETITION CROWNED 2010 ENTRANTS CHAMPIONS
Nottinghamshire-based Michelin Formula Renault UK squad Manor Competition won the 2010 entrants title at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on Sunday, 10th October, as the team's Lewis Williamson just missed out on the coveted drivers crown by the narrowest of margins.
Heading into the final round on Sunday afternoon, Williamson was tied on points at the top of the standings and although mounting a tremendously determined push the championship crown evaded him by a mere six points.
The 20-year-old from Golspie in the north of Scotland, who was recently named a finalist in the 2010 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, does though have the satisfaction of concluding the season as the driver with the most wins -- five in total with four further podiums.
"We're obviously delighted to win back the entrants title but absolutely gutted for Lewis to miss out on the drivers championship by such a small margin", said Manor Competition co-owner Tony Shaw, "It's been a fantastic season and Lewis did an incredible job -- all of our drivers did. It's been a real pleasure working with all of them this year."
Will Stevens ended the season fourth in the championship for Manor Competition, a tricky weekend preventing him from challenging for third in the standings, with Ollie Millroy taking sixth position and Thomas Hylkema finishing in 14th place.
During round 19 qualifying on Saturday, Williamson was third fastest -- just behind title rival Tom Blomqvist -- while Millroy was fifth quickest, Hylkema posted the 13th best time and Stevens was an uncharacteristic 14th. Millroy actually held pole position with little more than three minutes left but an unfortunate excursion at Paddock Hill Bend ruled him out of the remainder of the session.
Knowing the obvious importance of getting ahead of Blomqvist as soon as possible, Williamson made a tremendous start to the first race on Sunday morning and rocketed past his rival at Paddock Hill Bend with an outstanding move to take second place.
Pushing on for every point, Williamson applied immense pressure to race leader Nick Yelloly but try as he might he wasn't quite able to get by. Nonetheless, second place ensured he would go in to the last race tied on points at the head of the standings to set up a mouth-watering finale.
Millroy slipped to seventh early on but recovered into sixth during the second half of the race as he ran quicker pace than Williamson by a few 1,000ths of a second. Stevens gained four places on the opening lap alone but due to the tight and twisty nature of the Indy Circuit, any further overtaking proved nigh on impossible. He did take one further place though to go ninth on the last lap.
For Dutch driver Hylkema, the weekend didn't provide the conclusion to the season he had hoped for when a very unlucky tangle with Fabio Gamberini at the exit of Druids Hairpin on the first lap ruled him out of the race and also the entire event.
For round 20, Williamson lined up fourth on the grid with Millroy ninth and Stevens back in 14th position. At the start, Williamson got away well but as he tried to find a way through at Paddock Hill Bend his path was blocked by Blomqvist and two of his team-mates running three abreast.
Try as he might, the Manor ace threw everything but the kitchen sink at repeated overtaking attempts but he wasn't able to get by cleanly and had to settle for a very frustrating fourth place in the end. With Blomqvist taking second position, helped by his third placed team-mate Alex Lynn who rigorously defended from Williamson, the title slipped out of the Scotsman's grasp.
Millroy recorded his second top six of the weekend with a strong drive up the order from the fifth row of the grid on the opening lap. Stevens also made progress once more and ended the finale in 11th position.
Such has been the level of dominance for Manor Competition as a team over the course of the 2010 season with the brand new FR 2.0 car, the New Ollerton squad won the entrants title by almost 100 points -- claiming the coveted championship for the first time since 2005. In addition to Williamson's five race victories over the course of the year, Stevens won two and Millroy took one more.
Final 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship driver standings: Vice-Champion: Lewis Williamson, 459pts; 4th Will Stevens, 397pts; 6th Ollie Millroy, 336pts; 14th Thomas Hylkema, 161pts
Final 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship entrant standings: Champions: Manor Competition, 959pts