STOCKINGER STRIDES TO MAIDEN VICTORY AT CROFT Atech GP's Marlon Stockinger secured his first victory of the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship during rounds nine and 10 at North Yorkshire's Croft circuit on 19th/20th June to become ...
STOCKINGER STRIDES TO MAIDEN VICTORY AT CROFT
Atech GP's Marlon Stockinger secured his first victory of the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship during rounds nine and 10 at North Yorkshire's Croft circuit on 19th/20th June to become the first ever Filipino driver to win a race.
The 19-year-old, who only finished 25th last season, secured a lights-to-flag victory in Saturday's round nine after also claiming his first ever podium followed by a second-place in Sunday's televised round 10.
The weekend also brought delight for Scottish (Golspie) racer Lewis Williamson, racing for Manor Competition, who secured his second win of the season during the tense round 10 with the 20-year-old dedicating the victory to his dad on Father's Day who also recently celebrated his 60th birthday.
Manor Competition completed a strong weekend for them with a maiden podium for Ollie Millroy (Claygate) with second in round nine and Will Stevens (Oxshott) who secured third in round 10. Fortec Motorsport's Tom Blomqvist (Saffron Walden) claimed the final podium spot with third in round nine while team-mate Alex Lynn (Dunmow) and Mark Burdett Motorsport's Fabio Gamberini (Oxford) each picked up a class win in the Graduate Cup.
Although absent from the podium, Hungarian driver Tama's Pa'l Kiss, driving for Atech GP, picked up another good points haul to stretch his title lead to 19-points as the series reaches the halfway stage.
If Saturday's qualifying session was anything to go by rounds nine and 10 looked set to be a weekend of surprises. Following Stockinger's maiden pole in Q1, the second qualifying session saw Dutchman Thomas Hylkema, driving for Manor Competition, secure his first ever Formula Renault UK P1 while this year's title hopefuls were spread throughout the field.
Sunday's round 10 then, broadcast live on ITV4 and in front of a packed crowd, saw Hylkema line up in unfamiliar territory as the Michelin pole-sitter with team-mate Williamson alongside him. Stockinger sat just behind on row two to separate yet another Manor Competition car in the form of Stevens. Returnee Riki Christodoulou (Sutton Coldfield), driving for CRS Racing in place of Victor Corrêa, lined up in fifth with championship leader Pa'l Kiss down in seventh.
As the lights went out for the start of the 15-lap race it was Williamson who got the best start as Hylkema struggled to get away due a damaged engine sensor following a mechanical issue which affected his cars performance. It was therefore the Scottish racer who led the field into the right-handed Clervaux followed by Stockinger, Stevens and Christodoulou.
The tight Hairpin on the opening 2.125-mile lap provided the opportunity for Pa'l Kiss to nip up the inside of Blomqvist while just behind CRS Racing's Michael Lyons (Essex) was also able to get the better of his team-mate Robert Foster-Jones (Southend-on-Sea) who had already impressed during the weekend's earlier round nine.
Waved yellow flags greeted the field as they entered Clervaux for the second time as a result of Hylkema's stricken car. The leaders were all tightly bunched together as they did with Blomqvist in particular right on the back of Pa'l Kiss in attempt to regain his place.
It wasn't long though before Williamson began to pull clear and by one third race distance he had carved out more than a two second buffer over Stockinger. Also impressive in the midfield was Lyons who was able to keep team-mate Harry Tincknell (Exeter) at bay who was having a poor weekend by his standards and having to defend from Fortec Motorsport's David McDonald (Ewell). Graduate Cup driver Lynn was also not having things go his way with his car's pit lane speed limiter switching on at random causing him to fall down the order.
Out in front Williamson was continuing to push and earlier had set the NGK fastest lap of the race as Stockinger and third place Stevens had no reply to his consistent pace. With the chequered flag in sight, the top four looked incontestable but that certainly wasn't the case in the battle for fifth with Blomqvist still hungry to regain the place from Pa'l Kiss. On the penultimate lap the 16-year-old knew the Hairpin was his best chance to pass and out braked Pa'l Kiss to dart up the inside with Tama's yielding to the youngster's determined move.
The race belonged to Williamson though who punched the air with joy as he crossed the line for his second win of the year. Stockinger finished second with Stevens and Christodoulou behind him in third and fourth leaving Blomqvist to round off the top five. Gamberini meanwhile secured the Graduate Cup honours.
Delight for Stockinger...
Saturday's round nine saw Stockinger line the start grid as pole-sitter with Millroy alongside him with the two both enjoying their best ever qualifying positions. Blomqvist and Pa'l Kiss sat on row two as they and the rest of the field waited for the lights to go out for the start of the race.
When they did it was Stockinger who made the best start to lead followed by Millroy and Blomqvist. Pa'l Kiss and Foster-Jones followed next with Robert able to maintain his best ever grid start. After qualifying down the order, Williamson was keen to make up as many places as possible on the opening lap but was perhaps a little too eager and ran wide on a couple of occasions to fall towards the back of the pack.
Meanwhile Stockinger was quick to make the most of a clear track building a defendable cushion of more than a second. Millroy tried hard to stay with him and set the NGK fastest lap of the race on lap four -- breaking the lap record in the process by more than half a second. As Millroy worked on closing the gap, third-place Blomqvist was also trying to close with fourth-place Pa'l Kiss now starting to drop away from the leading trio.
In the midfield, the focus was on Stevens and MacDonald who swapped places on more than one occasion. Foster-Jones and Hylkema were also enjoying a good battle for fifth and sixth places with the two often running nose-to-tail.
Despite reducing his lead slightly, Millroy was looking less likely to be able to mount a challenge on Stockinger who continued to post quick lap times in his Atech GP prepared car. The chequered flag was now in sight for Marlon who duly crossed the line to take a deserved lights-to-flag victory and become the first Filipino driver to win a Formula Renault UK race. Millroy finished second to claim his first podium with Blomqvist in third. Pa'l Kiss finished fourth with Foster-Jones enjoying a career best fifth while further down Lynn secured another class win in the Graduate Cup.
Commenting on his weekend a delighted Stockinger said: "It's been an excellent weekend for me and the team has done a great job in setting up the car. Round nine was really nerve-racking but I'm thrilled to finally secure a win especially given I've had a third place, a second place in the Winter Series and now my first win. It was a close fight in round 10 but I couldn't match Lewis' pace. This weekend has been a huge confidence boost for me though and I'm looking forward to the next rounds."
Round 10 race winner Williamson said: "After a nightmare day on Saturday where I was just trying too hard it's great to get the win. I concentrated on getting a good clean start which I did and then I just tried to edge away as soon as possible. This win hopefully made a great Father's Day present for my dad!"
Commenting on his maiden podium in round nine, Millroy said: "I knew the car would come on during the middle of the race so I really tried to push Marlon and force him into a mistake but then my rear tyres began to fade and I lost grip slightly. It's great to finally be on the podium though and credit has to go to the team for setting up the car."
Commenting on his third place in round nine, Blomqvist said: "This is my fourth consecutive podium so I guess I'm on a bit of a roll. I know I've got strong race pace but I just need to focus on turning it into a win."
Third place in round 10 Stevens added: "I'm happy with third and pleased to pull back some championship points over my main rivals who finished behind me. I did start to reel Marlon in during the race but I was never close enough to pass."
Rounds 11 and 12 of the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship take place at Norfolk's Snetterton circuit on 7th/8th August.
-source: renault sport