Long Moves Up in the Points Chase Despite Problem-Filled Weekend CASTLE COMBE, U.K.Â Patrick Long summed up his race weekend thusly:Â If it could go wrong, it did.Â Yet despite mechanical and set-up glitches in qualifying and a wheel-banging...
Long Moves Up in the Points Chase Despite Problem-Filled Weekend
CASTLE COMBE, U.K. Patrick Long summed up his race weekend thusly: If it could go wrong, it did. Yet despite mechanical and set-up glitches in qualifying and a wheel-banging spree in the race, the young Californian finished in solid ninth at Castle Combe, round seven of the Slick 50 British Formula Ford Championship. Long's result, coupled with his rivals' misfortune, moved him to within 30 points of the series points lead. Castle Combe is seldom used, and the Van Diemen team hadn't tested on the circuit since earlier in the year. Thus, qualifying set-ups weren't optimized. Moreover, Long spent valuable qualifying-session laps bedding in a new brake rotor. When he finally did push for a quick time, his car's front suspension failed. Without a true "hot lap," Long qualified 11th. At the race start, Long soon learned how far off his race set-up was. On lap two, while whistling racing down the front straight at 140 mph, the car simply swapped ends, spinning 180-degrees. (This identical spin caught out Van Diemen teammate Richard Goransson in qualifying). Undeterred, Long calmly righted his works Van Diemen and pressed on, albeit with four flat-spotted tires. At half-distance, Long was locked in a spirited duel for tenth place with Ireland's Adam Carroll when, up ahead, Goransson spun off. The Swede then blindly re-entered the track directly in front of Long and Carroll, causing them to both brake heavily. The trio then had a momentous tussle for position, swapping positions, banging wheels. Eventually, Goransson and Carroll crashed into each other, elevating Long to ninth place.
"All things considered, ninth place wasn't too bad," explained Long. "I'm still fourth in points, but only 30 behind Goransson, the closest I've been in three races. I'm still in great shape to challenge for the championship. Now it's time to win some more races." In a reversal of fortune, the previously dominant Van Diemen chassis was off pace at Castle Combe. The rival Mygale chassis, led by race winner Ronnie Bremer of Denmark, took the top four spots. Fifth place finisher Robert Dahlgren of Sweden led the Van Diemen contingent. Patrick Long's championship quest continues July 7-8 with a double round at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. For more information on Patrick Long, visit his website at: http://www.patricklong.com/com. And to follow the Slick 50 Formula Ford Championship, log on to http://www.powertour.co.uk/uk <pre> Castle Combe Results
1 Ronnie Bremer 2 Robert Bell 3 Westley Barber 4 Alan Van Der Merwe 9 Patrick Long
Championship Standings (Points are awarded to the top- 15 finishers at each round as follows: 30-27-25-22-20-18-16-14-12-10-8-6-4-2-1. Pole position = 1 point. Fastest lap = 1 point.)
1 Robert Dahlgren 123 points 2 Richard Goransson 120 points 3 Robert Bell 95 points 4 Patrick Long 92 points Adam Carroll 92 points