WILLIAMSON CLAIMS MAIDEN FORMULA RENAULT UK WIN AT OULTON Manor Competition secured its third race win of the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship season at Oulton Park Island Circuit over the weekend, 5th/6th June, with Scotland's Lewis ...
WILLIAMSON CLAIMS MAIDEN FORMULA RENAULT UK WIN AT OULTON
Manor Competition secured its third race win of the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship season at Oulton Park Island Circuit over the weekend, 5th/6th June, with Scotland's Lewis Williamson making his first visit to the top step of the podium.
Having cruelly missed out on claiming his maiden victory during the previous event at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit last month, the Golspie-based racer made no mistakes during round seven on Saturday afternoon to fend off the ever-present attentions of pole-sitter Tom Blomqvist.
Making a better start than Blomqvist from second on the grid, Williamson grabbed the lead into the first corner and was never headed throughout the 16-lap duration. The win was most certainly hard fought though with the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star under immense pressure lap after lap with never more than a few 10ths of a second cushion over his pursuers.
Delighted to achieve his breakthrough win, Williamson commented: "I'm really pleased. I've been working really hard on my performance and as a team we've been working hard together, I can't thank the Manor guys enough. I knew I had to get (Tom) Blomqvist at the start -- that was the only hope as overtaking is so difficult at Oulton."
During round eight on Sunday, the 20-year-old added a top five finish to his weekend's tally and combined with the points scored from the first race he is now within just three points of the championship top three.
Will Stevens, who already has two victories to his credit this season, secured a brace of top four results at Oulton Park to consolidate his placing as current championship runner-up. Maintaining second place in the standings, the MSA Team UK driver actually increased his advantage over his pursuers with a strong performance -- a pleasing outcome after problems in testing on Friday.
Qualifying fifth on the grid for round seven, the 18-year-old from Oxshott, Surrey, moved into fourth on the opening lap and managed to avoid contact ahead at the hairpin between Marlon Stockinger and Harry Tincknell. Remaining in close proximity to the podium placings throughout, Stevens took the chequered flag on lap 16 just 0.8 seconds shy of the rostrum.
In round eight, Stevens started third on the grid but slipped behind Tincknell at the beginning and remained in fourth all the way to the chequered flag on lap 15, six 10ths of a second ahead of team-mate Williamson even though he had issues with the car up-shifting through the gears by itself.
Millroy marks Manor debut with top five finish
Formula Renault UK rookie Ollie Millroy made his track debut in Manor Competition colours over the weekend after agreeing a deal to switch to the team during the build-up to the event. The 20-year-old, from Claygate in Surrey, headed into the weekend sixth in the driver standings and consolidated his position well at Oulton Park with two highly competitive runs.
Driving the car vacated by Josh Mulholland just over a month ago, Millroy produced a fantastic performance in round seven in particular by climbing through from 10th on the grid to fifth at the chequered flag. Rising into the top six on lap one, avoiding the aforementioned contact at the hairpin between Stockinger and Tincknell, he then moved into the top five at Cascades on lap 10.
Starting round eight from eighth on the grid, Millroy slipped to ninth at mid-distance and was then forced wide onto the grass on lap 12 on the fast run up to Hilltop to lose a further place. Recovering well, he finished 0.3 seconds clear of team-mate Thomas Hylkema and the results were welcome having suffered with a suspension issue in qualifying.
Dutchman Hylkema, who had a tricky time in qualifying himself, was caught up in incidents in both races which impacted on his eventual results. Disappointed to qualify 12th for race one, the 21-year-old aimed for improvements in the second session and everything went well until an unfortunate excursion halfway through which caused fairly substantial damage to his car.
Working wonders to repair Hylkema's car in time for the first race of the weekend on Saturday afternoon, just a couple of hours after the conclusion of qualifying, the Manor mechanics did a terrific job. Sadly, Hylkema's race was compromised at the first corner when he sustained a broken front wing following contact but he hit back with a hard-fought 11th place finish in race two.
Speaking on the weekend, team principal Tony Shaw said: "We're delighted for Lewis that he's taken his first win, hopefully it'll open the floodgates now and he and Will can push each other on to battle it out for more wins as the season progresses. They both did a good job this weekend, consolidating their respective championship positions, so we're satisfied with that.
"We're obviously very pleased to welcome Ollie to the team, it's great to be back up to four cars and we're looking forward to helping bring him on as a driver during the rest of the season. He showed some great pace this weekend and raced well too so we've got very high hopes for what we can achieve together."
Shaw added: "Thomas didn't have the weekend we anticipated, he was going much better in the second qualifying session but just pushed a bit too hard and went off. The team did a fantastic job to repair his car for the first race and he was very unfortunate to pick-up a damaged front wing at the first corner. His race two pace was good, hopefully at the next round he'll have better luck."
Croft Circuit, near Darlington in North Yorkshire, will host the next two rounds of the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship a fortnight from now over the weekend 19th/20th June.