THOUSANDS WATCH WILLIAMSON SECURE DOUBLE WIN AT WORLD SERIES Crowds totalling 125,000 watched Manor Competition's Lewis Williamson (Golspie) secure two faultless lights-to-flag victories during rounds 17 and 18 of the 2010 Michelin Formula...
THOUSANDS WATCH WILLIAMSON SECURE DOUBLE WIN AT WORLD SERIES
Crowds totalling 125,000 watched Manor Competition's Lewis Williamson (Golspie) secure two faultless lights-to-flag victories during rounds 17 and 18 of the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship at Silverstone Grand Prix circuit as part of World Series by Renault on 18th/19th September.
The 20-year-old converted two poles into two superb wins at the world-famous 3.67-mile track to move into second in the drivers' standings with the series set for a nail-biting finale at Brands Hatch. Fortec Motorsport's Tom Blomqvist (Saffron Walden) followed him home during both action-packed races, which saw the largest grids of the season, to leapfrog to the top of standings and come away as the main title protagonist. Dropped scores now mean the two drivers are separated by a mere point and are likely to prove crucial in deciding who walks away with the title crown.
Two third places for team-mate Riki Christodoulou (Sutton Coldfield), racing on his home circuit, saw him secure the remaining podium spots as the two races saw an unchanged top three. There was further success for Fortec Motorsport with Alex Lynn (Dunmow), who celebrated his 17th birthday during the weekend, collecting both the Graduate Cup class wins and within grasp of the overall rookie title.
A strong weekend for Manor Competition also saw the team move 98-points clear in the entrants' honours and on course to secure the title.
Williamson strikes again...
After taking just 30 points from his home circuit last time out, Williamson did exactly what was needed during Saturday's qualifying session locking out both pole positions and lapping more than half a second quicker than the fastest qualifying time set in the Eurocup. Joining Williamson on the front row for round 18 was three-time race winner Blomqvist while local racer Nick Yelloly (Solihull), driving for Atech GP, and Christodoulou sat on row two.
As the lights went out for the timed 25-minute race, a packed Silverstone crowd watched as Williamson got away cleanly, moving to the right to cover the charging Blomqvist. Yelloly once again made one of his lightning starts to move into third before running wide at Farm to drop him into the midfield.
The opening lap also saw contact between Atech GP's Tama's Pa'l Kiss and Lynn causing the Hungarian to retire and may well prove a turning point in the championship. Lynn was able to continue and after pitting would eventually finish the race to claim the Graduate Cup honours.
In the early stages Williamson desperately tried to pull away from Blomqvist but the 16-year-old was having none of it with the pair nose-to-tail. With every lap third-placed Christodoulou was also able to close in on the duelling front-runners although closely followed by the Manor Competition pair of Will Stevens (Oxshott) and Ollie Millroy (Claygate).
Yelloly was also making amends for the first lap and before long was up to fifth before the Solihull racer gained a further place in the later stages of the race snatching Stevens' fourth spot with a determined move up the inside of Brooklands. Team-mate Marlon Stockinger also ended up adding his name to this battle with the Filipino driver slipping by Millroy to eventually cross the line in sixth place.
By the 13th and final lap Williamson had finally been able to carve out the gap he had been trying to do all race and duly crossed the line to take his second win of the weekend. Blomqvist meanwhile had spent most of the final lap with his mirrors full of his team-mate Christodoulou with the 22-year-old looking very threatening until he locked up going into Brooklands to ease the pressure on Tom. Yelloly followed Christodoulou home to take fourth with Stevens rounding off the top five and a thrilling weekend of top-flight motorsport. Spanish driver Alex Riberas secured the NGK Spark Plugs Fastest Lap for his Epsilon Euskadi team.
Williamson charges to victory...
Williamson and Blomqvist occupied the front row for Sunday's earlier round 17 and as the lights went out it was Williamson who made the best start to lead the BRDC Rising Star into the first corner. Christodoulou filed behind in third while Millroy soon found himself in fourth place ahead of Yelloly as the rest of the pack jostled for position on the opening lap.
Williamson soon settled into his stride and worked on opening up a lead although Blomqvist was never far behind. Christodoulou meanwhile was having his mirrors full of Millroy who in turn was forced to keep one eye on team-mate Stevens. The early stages also saw a great battle between CRS Racing's Robert Foster-Jones (Southend-on Sea) and Lynn with Alex making a great move on the round 16 race-winner at Brooklands to grab his eighth place. Lynn's luck would soon change however as he lost ground the following lap, slotting back in just outside the top 10. Tincknell's luck was not proving any better with the front-runner dropping further down the order, not helped by suspension problems, before eventually retiring.
Finnish driver Aaro Vainio, racing for Tech 1, had been the highest placed Eurocup driver until a spin going into Vale on lap three saw an end to his race and causing the Safety Car to be deployed.
Williamson's previous good work had now all been undone as the pack bunched up behind the Safety Car. Racing resumed on lap six with the Scot slowing the pack down to almost a crawl through Luffield before hitting the power and getting away cleanly once more. By the time the Golspie racer had completed the second sector he was already more than half a second ahead of Blomqvist and on his way to his fourth victory of the season. Williamson may have been clear but he couldn't outpace the dark clouds above as spots of rain began to fall forcing him, and the rest of the packed grid, to drive a little more precariously.
Meanwhile Pa'l Kiss was making up for his poor grid slot and after going three-a-breast with Stockinger and Foster-Jones at Stowe, the title protagonist emerged in seventh place. The 19-year-old soon made another place after getting the better of team-mate Yelloly, along with Stevens, ending the race in sixth.
With the clock ticking, there would be time for just 12-laps of the new Silverstone Grand Prix circuit but still time for Blomqvist to make a late charge to secure the NGK Spark Plugs Fastest Lap and two more vital points. Williamson had done more than enough though to take the chequered flag with Blomqvist coming home in second. Christodoulou was still being made to work for his third place but the experienced racer was able to keep Millroy at bay to pick up the remaining podium spot. Lynn crossed the line in 10th to secure yet another Graduate Cup win.
Commenting on his impressive performance Williamson said: "It's been a fantastic weekend and full credit to the team who have done a fantastic job in giving me a great car. We were quick in qualifying and throughout the race and in both rounds I just concentrated on pulling away early on and getting my head down. Tom really pushed me in round 18 and I had to soak up a lot of pressure until Riki put pressure on him which helped me."
New championship leader Blomqvist said: "I'm really pleased with everything this weekend but there are still two rounds to go and anything can happen. We've just got to concentrate now on being quick at Brands Hatch and getting everything right."
Double podium finisher Christodoulou said: "I had a really good battle in both rounds for my third place. The first race I was the one defending whereas in the second it was me pushing Tom. I reckon I could have had Tom too if there had been one more lap but sadly we ran out of time. I'm delighted to be on the podium though especially on my home circuit."
Graduate Cup winner Lynn added: "In round 17 I had a good battle with one of the Eurocup drivers but the second race was disappointing for us. It would have been nice to have finished higher up but my main concern is the Graduate Cup title which I'm very close to securing."
The final two rounds, 19 and 20, of the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship take place at Kent's Brands Hatch Indy circuit on 9th/10th October.
-source: renault sport UK