PA Motorsport Brands Hatch, England - 31st May, 1999 Kent Formula Ford Championship - Round 4 Australian leads Kent Formula Ford Championship PA Motorsport driver, Brett Francis, leads the Kent Formula ...
Brands Hatch, England - 31st May, 1999 Kent Formula Ford Championship - Round 4
Australian leads Kent Formula Ford Championship
PA Motorsport driver, Brett Francis, leads the Kent Formula Ford Championship in England after a masterful performance on Monday. Scoring maximum points in this fourth round of the 1999 season following another win and a new lap record on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit has resulted in Francis leaping to the head of the points table. It was a weekend that would test the Sittingbourne based driver and the Folkestone team, after a mechanical problem with his 1993 Swift Formula Ford during qualifying left him short of laps and unsure of which direction to take in setting up the car.
Despite not being able to push the car due to a faulty oil-pressure sensor giving false readings, Brett still managed to take his fourth consecutive front row start this season. Fast improving Chris Pennington took advantage of this hiccup to score the top grid spot, and held his lead at the green light.
But the 25 year old Australian put in a gutsy performance to take the lead on lap three, and maintained a comfortable gap until a stranded car caused the race to be stopped after twelve laps. Local driver and championship rival Matt Wood managed to stay close to Francis until the finish, but was never able to mount a serious challenge for the lead.
After the race, Brett reflected on his performance as rival outfits work at matching the speed and consistency of the Queenslander and team boss Peter Alexander:
"The track conditions were very difficult. It was slippery enough during the few laps I did in qualifying, but during the race there was heaps of oil dropped on Cooper Straight and through Surtees which made it diabolical. Every lap I was having a moment through Surtees, but I knew that it was a place where most would be cautious so I kept pushing and then playing it relatively safe elsewhere. It was a shame to finish the race with a red flag, but I was managing to open up a gap to Matt anyway."
"Following my DNF in the first round meant that we had been playing catch-up since the beginning of the year. Peter and I knew that with plenty of hard work we should be able to make up ground quickly, so it's encouraging to see that work pay off. Now the goal is to maintain our focus and make the car even better for the next round on the Grand Prix circuit."
"In my opinion the Brands Hatch GP circuit is the best track in the country, and one of the best in the world. I love the faster corners and the flow of the full circuit, and I'm glad it's part of the calendar again this year. The Auriga Race Engine we use will be well suited to the long straights, and Peter is a chassis wizard, so I'm itching to get out there again."
Alexander was full of praise for his hard-charging driver:
"Brett showed today that he is a real racer. Those first three laps were fantastic from a spectating point of view, especially as he drove around the outside of Pennington at Paddock Hill Bend on two consecutive laps. He was just relentless. I don't think there was much anyone could do to stop him from winning today. Brett is in exceptional form at the moment, and he's putting a lot of effort into ensuring he stays that way. As a team we're very pleased with how the year is going so far."
The next round will be held on the 19th and 20th of June at Brands Hatch on the Grand Prix circuit.
Championship Positions after 4 rounds 1. Brett Francis 40 2. Gideon Creswell 35 3. Dave Connor 24 4. Keith Wood 23 5. Matt Wood 20 6. Richard Mansell 18