BIRTHDAY BOY RUSSELL ENJOYS COMPETITIVE SILVERSTONE FINALE Russell Racing enjoyed one of its most promising outings of the 2006 Formula Renault UK season during the championship finale at Silverstone National Circuit in Sunday with team driver...
BIRTHDAY BOY RUSSELL ENJOYS COMPETITIVE SILVERSTONE FINALE
Russell Racing enjoyed one of its most promising outings of the 2006 Formula Renault UK season during the championship finale at Silverstone National Circuit in Sunday with team driver Matt Russell only just missing out on a top 20 series finish.
Celebrating his 23rd birthday yesterday, Matt produced two excellent performances in the races to take 12 championship points from the weekend, the result seeing him just miss out on 20th position in the driver standings by four points to Joao Vasconcelos.
With qualifying seeing the Harlesden-based driver improve markedly on his testing pace, Matt's best result of the weekend came during Sunday morning's 19th round of the season which he finished in 14th position having started 20th on the grid.
The Leoline Travel and Maltings Leisure & Fitness-backed ace made a good start to the race and although an opening lap incident involving Alex Morgan, Pippa Mann and Chris Murray necessitated the use of the Safety Car, Matt handled the situation perfectly and went on to finish the race a highly creditable 14th overall.
Speaking after round 19, Matt said: "I improved relatively by three 10ths of a second in the race compared to qualifying, so that was great, and I was pretty consistent all the way through.
"At the start I got past quite a few people, it was a really good getaway, and on the second lap things started to settle down. I'm really pleased with that performance and very happy for the team."
The season finale, round 20, saw Matt enjoy another positive opening lap as he gained positions around the outside of Becketts. Starting 22nd on the grid, he soon made inroads into the top 20 and running close behind Pippa Mann at mid-distance, Matt gained the place to move into 16th position on lap 16.
Lapping consistently well, Matt then set after Daniel Roos and closed the Swede down by lap 20. However, a bit of a moment at Becketts on lap 21 meant Matt would fall into the clutches of Armaan Ebrahim and the Indian driver demoted Matt to 17th place.
Nonetheless, Matt was very happy with his performance and he takes many positives from his final weekend of Formula Renault UK action this season.
Talking through the second race, Matt said: "On the first lap I gained a number of places around the outside of Becketts. While everyone was trying to jostle for position on the inside line I went to the outside and picked up severalpositions which was good.
"I really enjoyed the racing today, I got past Pippa (Mann) and then (Alex) Williams passed me at Becketts but I moved back ahead into Brooklands. My fastest lap was just five 10ths off the front-running pace so I'm pleased with that and delighted to have ended the season on a positive note."
The Doncaster-based team is now looking ahead to the four-round Formula Renault UK Winter Championship, for which it is actively seeking interested drivers. The series takes place at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on 4th/5th November and Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire on 11th/12th November.
Rounds 19 and 20 of the 2006 Formula Renault UK Championship will be replayed in full this Tuesday morning, 17th October, at 07.00 on Motors TV -- channel 413 of the Sky Digital platform and through the NTL cable service at channel 545.