RAIN RETURNS TO DAMPEN SHAWYER'S WEEKEND Formula Renault BARC Championship front-runner Matt Shawyer saw his most difficult weekend of the season compounded at a wet Croft Circuit this afternoon, although sixth position in round four still keeps ...
RAIN RETURNS TO DAMPEN SHAWYER'S WEEKEND
Formula Renault BARC Championship front-runner Matt Shawyer saw his most difficult weekend of the season compounded at a wet Croft Circuit this afternoon, although sixth position in round four still keeps the Russell Racing ace in contention for the title.
After taking fourth place during Saturday's outing, the weekend offering up the first double-header meeting of the season, Matt was hoping to return to the podium with his Doncaster-based team during today's 15 lap encounter, particularly with bright skies prevalent during the morning.
As the Formula Renault BARC competitors made their way out onto the 2.1-mile circuit though, threatening rain finally arrived meaning the entire field was forced into making late changes to the cars on the grid in order to cope with wet conditions.
The start of the race was almost a carbon copy of Saturday's third round of the season with Matt making a good getaway, this time from fifth on the grid, while Thomas Arme made a terrible start from the front row for the second race in succession.
Unfortunately for Matt, his hold on fourth position didn't last long as eventual race winner James Littlejohn passed the Russell Racing star part way through the opening lap. As on Saturday, the 23-year-old St Albans ace was struggling for grip but he drove admirably once again to maintain fifth position until lap nine when a recovering Arme got through.
With his tyres not returning the level of grip he needed, Matt was facing an increasingly tough battle as the race entered its final stages but at the start of lap 11 the hope of a return to the top five looked promising with Craig Copeland running wide at Hawthorn as the Russell Racing star ran alongside him.
While pole-sitter Copeland ended his race in retirement after an excursion through the Hawthorn gravel, Matt found himself losing out to Ross Worswick for fifth place. On lap 15, Russell Racing's BRDC Rising Star crossed the line in sixth position, six seconds clear of Jordan Oakes in the headline FR2000 Class.
"Generally, I'm quite disappointed with the results from this weekend but on the other hand we've finished both races in the points which is the main thing", said a phlegmatic Matt following round four.
"Like Silverstone and Snetterton, we didn't test before this weekend so we need to try and get some testing time under our belt before the next round and hopefully that will pay dividends for us.
"It's been a difficult weekend and we're frustrated because although we didn't particularly want wet races, we should have been quicker. We know we're good in heavy rain and we've proven our pace in the dry but this was tricky. Even though the weekend has been frustrating we need to come back stronger at Snetterton, which I'm sure we will."
Russell Racing's Formula Renault BARC operation now has a five-week break until the fifth round of the season at Snetterton on Sunday, 25th June, the second time the championship will have visited the Norfolk venue this year.
The next on-track action for Russell Racing, meanwhile, will be in the British Touring Car Championship-supporting Formula Renault UK series on 3rd/4th June at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire.
UK: Russell Racing Croft Saturday notes
TR: Utah rounds seven, eight notes