NOTHING TO SEPARATE TOP TWO AFTER TENSE ROCKINGHAM WEEKEND Atech GP's Tama's Pa'l Kiss (Hungary) and CRS Racing's Harry Tincknell (Exeter) both secured a win and a second place during rounds three and four of the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK...
NOTHING TO SEPARATE TOP TWO AFTER TENSE ROCKINGHAM WEEKEND
Atech GP's Tama's Pa'l Kiss (Hungary) and CRS Racing's Harry Tincknell (Exeter) both secured a win and a second place during rounds three and four of the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship at Rockingham this weekend meaning just two points now separate the two drivers.
The Hungarian racer picked up his second win of the one-make series during a rain-effected round three, once again demonstrating his ability in the wet, followed by a second in round four. Reigning Graduate Cup Champion Tincknell, 18, who's featured on every podium so far this season, mirrored Pa'l Kiss' results also securing his first win of 2010 on the 1.94-mile International circuit.
Atech GP continued a strong weekend with Filipino driver Marlon Stockinger taking his first podium during round three with third while Manor Competition's Will Stevens (Oxshott) ended on a high of an otherwise disappointing weekend by his high standards by grabbing the final podium spot (third) in round four.
Fortec Motorsport's Alex Lynn (Dunmow) once again picked up the Graduate Cup honours making it four wins from four for the 16-year-old rookie.
Tincknell secures first win...
On a sunny Rockingham circuit and in front of a packed crowd, Tincknell once again lined up on the start grid as the Michelin pole-sitter for the start of the 16-lap round four. Fortec Motorsport's Tom Blomqvist (Saffron Walden) drew up alongside him on row two -- mirroring last year's Winter Series in which the youngster got the better of Harry -- while Atech GP dominated the second row with Pa'l Kiss and Stockinger. Manor Competition front-runners Lewis Williamson (Golspie, Scotland) and Stevens meanwhile could only manage fifth and sixth.
As the lights went out on the start gantry, Tincknell made the better start followed by Pa'l Kiss from row two leaving Blomqvist behind as the field made the run into Deene Hairpin. Blomqvist tried to make up for his earlier poor start by braking as late as possible into the tight left-handed but ran wide dropping further places leaving the door open for Stockinger to emerge in third.
Stevens had also been able to get the better of his team-mate to move into fourth as the field safely completed the opening lap. A lap later, Stevens got the better of Stockinger at Tarzan to move into third while the leaders continued to run nose-to-tail.
There was little daylight now separating the top two with Pa'l Kiss even trying to go around the outside of Tincknell at Deene on lap four only for Harry to hold on knowing he had the inside line for the next corner.
The action was just as close in the midfield with CRS Racing's Robert Foster-Jones (Southend on Sea) and Michael Lyons (Essex) battling to be inside the top ten with Lyons eventually getting the better of his 19-year-old team-mate. A few laps later, Stockinger was forced to pull off at Yentwood ending what had been a promising weekend for the 19-year-old.
Meanwhile out in front, Tincknell was able to soak up the pressure from Pa'l Kiss' who had now swapped from an attacking role to one of defending as Stevens and Williamson, who also set the NGK fastest lap of the race with a 1min 16.417s (91.30mph average), pressed on.
As the race entered the final stages Stevens and Williamson continued to battle for position but Tincknell was now home and dry exiting the Brook chicane cleanly for the last time and crossing the line to take a deserved lights-to-flag victory. Pa'l Kiss finished second with Stevens in third, Williamson in fourth and the ever improving Ollie Millroy (Claygate, Surrey) driving for Fortec Motorsport completing the top five. Lynn once again picked up the Graduate Cup silverware.
Pa'l Kiss triumphs once more...
The weather was to play a key factor in Sunday's earlier round three with light rain forcing the whole field to start on wet tyres. Tincknell took the honours as the Michelin pole-sitter with Pa'l Kiss alongside him and Stockinger and Millroy, their best ever qualifying positions, on row two. There were also impressive qualifying performance from Atech GP's Nick Yelloly (Solihull) lining up in sixth, Foster-Jones in ninth and Lyons in 10th.
Tincknell got the best start as the 16-lap race got underway followed by Pa'l Kiss with Millroy also quickly moving up into third before losing out at the tight Deene Hairpin as the field bunched up. Yelloly had also been able to make up ground by the end of the opening lap to lie in third followed by team-mate Stockinger and Millroy in fifth.
Wet-track specialist Chrissy Palmer, racing in his Fortec Motorsport run car, had also made up places to lie in 10th while just ahead the two Manor Competition cars of Stevens and Williamson were running nose-to-tail in sixth and seventh.
Tincknell pushed early on and setting the NGK fastest lap of the race but his lead would turn out to be short-lived when the 18-year-old made a mistake through Deene allowing Pa'l Kiss to capitalise and take the lead. Pa'l Kiss quickly set about developing a cushion leaving Tincknell still pondering his mistake.
As the two leaders began to edge away a number of closely fought battles were taking place throughout the field especially among team-mates. Yelloly was now coming under increasing pressure from Stockinger while Stevens was being forced to fend off the challenges of Williamson who in turn had to keep one eye on a determined Blomqvist.
It wasn't long though before Stockinger got the better of his 19-year-old team-mate to move into his first podium position leaving Yelloly to worry about Millroy who was chasing his fourth place.
Out in front Pa'l Kiss looked to have the race sewn up with Tincknell no answer to the Hungarian's pace. The same couldn't be said for the battle behind though as on the penultimate lap Yelloly went off at Tarzan. This gifted fourth place to Millroy as the rest of the field also moved up one place.
The race though belonged to Pa'l Kiss who exited Brook for the last time to cross the line and take his second win of the championship, once again in wet conditions. Tincknell crossed the line second although knowing full well the win could have been his. Stockinger finished third to take his first ever podium with Millroy in fourth and Stevens, who had been able to pass Williamson, in fifth. Despite a slip exiting Deene, Lynn hung on to take the Graduate Cup honours.
Commenting on his performance during the weekend, championship leader Pa'l Kiss said: "Round three was a really tough race in very tricky conditions but we had a good set up on the car and good pace. I had to fight for space at the start but once I was past Tincknell I was away. Round four I was again battling with Harry but I found myself caught in a 'sandwich' as I was both pushing and defending at the same time."
Commenting on his weekend Tincknell said: "I was obviously disappointed with the first race as I could have won. I made a small mistake which cost me but I'm still pleased with second place and the extra points for fastest lap. Round four was a good but tough race as I had to keep one eye on my mirrors at all times but I kept my head down and knew if I didn't make a mistake the race was mine."
Stockinger, who finished third in round three, said: "I'm delighted with my first podium and credit has to go to the team who have done a great job with the car."
Third place in round four Stevens said: "It's been a tough weekend for us as we struggled in qualifying and achieving good one-lap pace but it's still been another strong points haul for me and I know there's still a long way to go."
Double Graduate Cup winner Lynn added: "It's been another good weekend for us in what is very much a learning curve first year. I got the power down a little too early exiting Deene in round three which cost me but you learn from these mistakes and I'm looking forward to the next rounds at Brands Hatch GP."
Rounds five and six of the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship take place at Kent's Brands Hatch GP circuit on 1st/2nd May.