WEBB AND CALADO TAKE THE HONOURS AT BRANDS Fortec team-mates Oli Webb (Knutsford) and James Calado (Cropthorne, Worcester) took a win a piece during the opening two rounds of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship at Kent's Brands...
WEBB AND CALADO TAKE THE HONOURS AT BRANDS
Fortec team-mates Oli Webb (Knutsford) and James Calado (Cropthorne, Worcester) took a win a piece during the opening two rounds of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship at Kent's Brands Hatch Indy circuit on Sunday, 5th April.
18-year-old returning driver Webb, claimed victory in round one with CRS Racing's Harry Tincknell (Exeter) and Hitech Junior driver Jordon Oakes (Hopton on Sea) finishing second and third respectively. Meanwhile second year driver Calado took a lights-to-flag victory in round two -- which together with his fifth place from round one sees him leading the Championship -- with Fortec team-mate Fredrik Blomstedt (SWE) and Mark Burdett Motorsport's Jesse Krohn alongside him on the podium.
Round one saw drivers line the grid of the 1.64-mile Brands Hatch Indy circuit in glorious sunshine. As the lights went out to signify the start of the 2009 season, pole-sitter and Graduate Cup driver Tincknell, got away cleanly to lead the run into the first corner. Meanwhile fourth place Oakes made a great start to move into second as the field headed towards Druids closely followed by Webb, Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton), Calado and SSS Motorsport with Hillspeed's Lee Dwyer (Huddersfield).
As the leaders exited Paddock Hill Bend on lap two, second place Oakes, who had been side-by-side with Tincknell made a move for the lead but let third place Webb squeeze pass both him and Tinckell to take the lead pushing Oakes down to third. With a clear track in front of him, Webb quickly developed a lead of more than half a second by the end of lap three.
In the midfield, sixth placed Dwyer was challenging Calado hard for fifth but let seventh placed Krohn slip by him at Paddock Hill Bend on lap seven shortly followed by CRS Racing's Josh Scott (AUS). In an attempt to regain the lost places Dwyer pushed too hard, spinning at Clearways. He managed to rejoin the track at the back of the grid but only to go off into the gravel at the exit to McLaren shortly afterward.
As the race progressed, Webb continued to build on his lead, setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 10 with a time of 44.218s (97.58mph average) earning two bonus Championship points.
In the midfield, Graduate Cup drivers CRS Racing's Matias Laine (FIN) and Fortec Motorsport's Will Stevens (Oxshott, Surrey) battled together for ninth and tenth with Apotex Scorpio Motorsport's Ollie Hancock, last year's Formula Renault BARC champion, behind them in eleventh. Blomstedt, Manor Competition's Thomas Hlykelma (NED) and Manor team-mate David McDonald (Surrey) were also competing hard just outside the top 10.
As the last lap approached, Webb had stretched his lead to almost four seconds from Tincknell, while further down the field Krohn made one last push on Calado for a top five finish but was unable to pass the 19-year-old. With the chequered flag in sight, Webb crossed the line to take victory, followed by Tincknell and Oakes, with Oakes picking up the ELF/Atol Driver of the Day.
In the second race of the day, which was being broadcast live on ITV4, round one podium drivers Oakes and Tincknell were unable to start having sustained technical problems. This time Calado was the pole sitter following Saturday's qualifying session and as the lights went out he made the most of his advantage to lead the field in to Paddock Hill Bend with Blomstedt, Krohn, CRS Racing's Lewis Williamson, Scott and Alpine Motorsport Graduate Cup driver Isa Yousif (BRN) following closely.
After just three laps, Calado had already developed a lead while further down the order, Hillspeed's Menasheh Idafar (London) was unable to keep a determined Stoneman -- who was awarded the ELF/Atol Driver of the Day for round two -- at bay who passed him on lap eight before taking team-mate Yousif a few laps later.
As the race continued, Calado continued to look comfortable out in front developing a 2.828s lead by the halfway stage. In the midfield, a battle between Graduate Cup drivers Yousif and Idafar had developed with Yousif managing to hold off the 18-year-old.
On lap 17, a mistake by RS Racing's Ryan Singleton (Llanfairfechen) at the bottom of Paddock Hill Bend caused him to spin and with his car in a dangerous position the Safety Car was deployed by the Clerk of the Course shortly after.
With Singleton's car now safe, racing resumed on lap 22 with three laps added to the original 24 lap distance. Calado again ensured he got away cleanly opening up a comfortable margin leaving Krohn to challenge Blomstedt for second and third.
With just a handful of laps remaining, Blomstedt did enough to keep Krohn in his mirrors and take second place behind race winner Calado with Krohn in third and Williamson picking up hi best result in fourth.
Commenting after victory in round one, Webb said: "I got a good start but then so did Oakes. As Jordan and Harry battled for the lead around Druids they left a gap so I took a gamble and made my move and luckily it paid off. Then all I had to do then was keep my head down and race for the line, although I eased off towards the end to save my car and tyres for the next round."
Commenting after round two, race winner Calado said: "Although it may have looked easy, that was a really tough race, particularly at the end when the Safety Car came out which meant I had to rebuild my lead again. I'm really pleased with how the weekend has gone and to be leading the championship after the opening rounds is a great result."
Rounds three and four of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship take place at Thruxton circuit on 25th/26th April. Prior to that there is official testing at Thruxton on Tuesday, 14th April.
-credit: frenault uk