STEVENS HANDED SECOND WIN AS SEVERE RAIN DISRUPTS WEEKEND Manor Competition's Will Stevens (Oxshott) secured his second win of the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship during round six in what became the weekend's only race after severe...
STEVENS HANDED SECOND WIN AS SEVERE RAIN DISRUPTS WEEKEND
Manor Competition's Will Stevens (Oxshott) secured his second win of the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship during round six in what became the weekend's only race after severe weather disrupted the meeting at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit on 1st/2nd May.
The 18-year-old was handed the win after race leader and team-mate Lewis Williamson (Golspie) ran wide on the final lap allowing the Surrey teenager to take the chequered flag with Atech GP's Tama's Pa'l Kiss (Hungary) finishing second to remain at the top of the drivers' standings.
The final podium spot went to Fortec Motorsport's Tom Blomqvist (Saffron Walden), son of rally legend Stig, to give the 16-year-old Swedish born racer his first podium of the season. Fortec team-mate Alex Lynn (Dunmow) once again secured the Graduate Cup win during the weekend which was largely dominated by the weather.
Round five of the series, which had to be postponed due to adverse weather conditions which compromised driver safety, will now be re-run later in the season at a date to be confirmed.
So close for Williamson...
After Sunday's earlier round five had to be postponed, great anticipation surrounded round six of the one-make championship. Rain had again played a large factor in Saturday's qualifying session with drivers and teams torn over tyre choice with slicks just edging it in the end. The session also saw disaster for title hopeful CRS Racing's Harry Tincknell (Exeter) who suffered an electrical problem on his first lap forcing him to receive mechanical assistance and thereby ending his qualifying and placing him at the back of the grid.
The head of the grid meanwhile was dominated by Williamson who secured the Michelin pole position on his final lap with Blomqvist alongside him on row one. Stevens and Pa'l Kiss sat on row two with the ever-improving David McDonald (Ewell), racing for Team Firstair, just behind. Mark Burdett Motorsport's Fabio Gamberini (Brazil) had also performed well to line up in seventh.
With rain causing delays for the majority of Sunday's timetable, when it came to the start of the scheduled 15-lap race time was against the drivers meaning the race would be run to time due to the circuit's curfew.
Remarkably by this point in the day the track had dried out following a let-up in the rain meaning the entire field would start on slick tyres. As the lights went out it was Williamson who made the best start to lead the field into Paddock Hill Bend followed by Blomqvist. A poor start by McDonald saw him shuffle down the order as the rest of the field jostled for position.
The opening lap also saw Stevens get the better of Blomqvist at Surtees to move into second place and make it a one-two for Manor Competition. Atech GP's Nick Yelloly (Solihull) was also running well in fourth while 18-year-old Tincknell was quickly moving through the field despite starting from the back of the grid.
A mistake by Yelloly at Surtees saw the 19-year-old lose his place to Pa'l Kiss -- who also had a flight to catch straight after the race in order to return for an exam -- allowing the Hungarian racer to turn his attention to grabbing Blomqvist's podium place. Tincknell was also continuing to gain places proving that it is possible to overtake in the identically matched New Formula Renault 2.0 cars shooting into the top 10 in no-time at all.
As the race progressed Williamson looked comfortable out in front putting in consistently quick lap times so much so that he would eventually claim the NGK fastest lap of the race. Pa'l Kiss was also looking quick in his Atech GP run car so much so that he was close enough to try a move around the outside of Blomqvist on the 130mph Paddock Hill Bend only for the Swede to close the door.
The next lap though the returning driver had his way at the same corner after a good run out of Clearways. Tincknell was also trying to gain more places this time battling with McDonald although the Surrey driver was able to keep him in his rear view mirrors.
In the midfield, Manor Competition's Thomas Hylkema (Netherlands) was running well in sixth until a slip on lap eight dropped him down the order. Pa'l Kiss also made an error this time on lap 10 at Hawthorn Bend with the Hungarian somehow managing to spin the car through 360 degrees yet not lose his third place and only drop four seconds of his lap time.
With clock ticking lap 12 would be the last and as the leaders began their final time around the 2.3009-mile Kent circuit the top-five ran Williamson, Stevens, Pa'l Kiss, Blomqvist and Yelloly. Williamson looked to have the race sewn up until he got out of shape at Stirling Bend gifting his lead to the following Stevens who duly crossed the line to take his second win and more championship points. Pa'l Kiss finished second with Blomqvist in third and Yelloly a season best of fourth. McDonald also picked up a season best by rounding off the top five with Tincknell overtaking more than half the field to finish sixth. Williamson eventually crossed the line in seventh just ahead of Lynn who also took the Graduate Cup win.
Commenting in his win Stevens said: "I do feel sorry for Lewis especially as he's my team mate. I'd kept him under pressure for most of the race which may have got to him on the last lap. It's a shame this weekend was effected by the weather but I'm pleased to come away with more championship points in what is turning out to be a very closely fought series where consistency may well prove the key."
Pa'l Kiss briefly commented before leaving to catch his flight: "It was a really tough race and still can't believe I managed to hold it after my spin but I'm delighted with the result."
Blomqvist added: "I struggled with pace in round six as we had gone for a wet set-up and a mistake at Clearways allowed Pa'l Kiss to get the run on me but I'm still pleased to be on the podium."
Rounds seven and eight of the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship take place at Oulton Park on 5th/6th June.