UK WCS: Russell Racing Brands Hatch Sunday notes

MASON BUOYANT DESPITE TOUGH FRUK DEBUT AT BRANDS Ben Mason endured a difficult Formula Renault UK race debut at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit earlier today but the Russell Racing driver remains upbeat ahead of the third and fourth rounds of the 2006...

MASON BUOYANT DESPITE TOUGH FRUK DEBUT AT BRANDS

Ben Mason endured a difficult Formula Renault UK race debut at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit earlier today but the Russell Racing driver remains upbeat ahead of the third and fourth rounds of the 2006 Winter Championship next Saturday, 11th November.

The Autobar-supported 22-year-old, who resides in Aberdeen, hoped to make a good start to the opening two rounds of the winter series for the Doncaster-based teambut after recording a pair of unfortunate non-finishes at the 1.2-mile Kent venue he is now looking ahead to an improved showing in just six days for the final two rounds of the four race championship.

Lining up 25th on the grid for this morning's first round, Ben actually found himself in 22nd place on the opening lap and maintaining the position as the race entered lap two, things were looking good for the Scotsman to mount a challenge for a top 20 finish in only his first ever race in a full UK-specification Formula Renault.

Lap four, however, saw Ben take too much kerb on the inside of Surtees, a subsequent spin seeing his Russell Racing-run car coming to rest against the tyre wall on the outside of Clearways. Thankfully, the impact wasn't as bad as first thought with the only damage being to the right-front suspension and Ben's confidence.

For round two, the Knockhill Circuit Instructor started the race 24th on the grid and after a decent start he maintained his position early on although an incident with Richard Kent, who had started a row ahead of the Scotsman, on lap three resulted in another unlucky retirement from the race.

With Kent clipping Ben's car as the pair rounded Druids Hairpin, the Russell Racing star found himself beached on the kerb on the inside of the turn and after trying in vain to rejoin the race over the course of the next two laps he eventually found himself pushed into retirement by the circuit marshals.

Although not the start to the Winter Championship he was hoping for, Ben remains upbeat ahead of the final meeting of the series which takes place at North Yorkshire's Croft Circuit in just six days.

"Brands Hatch obviously wasn't the weekend we had planned", said Ben, "But even though we didn't complete many racing laps, I did learn a lot and hope to be able to produce a better showing at Croft.

"It's a circuit I do know fairly well so I am hoping we can qualify more strongly and push for some points. We'll be at a disadvantage compared to the others though because we have to miss the test day but I'm looking forward to the races and confident we can end the winter series on more of a high, both for me and the team."

Unlike the Brands Hatch event, qualifying and the third and fourth rounds of the series will all take place on one day at Croft on Saturday, 11th November. Testing, which Ben is forced to miss due to work commitments, will take place on Thursday, 9th November.

-credit: rr

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Series Formula Renault
Drivers Richard Kent