Lydden Hill, England - 22nd August, 1999 Francis moves closer to championship title Another dominant performance today by Queenslander, Brett Francis, took him a step closer to the Kent Formula Ford Championship in the UK. Francis, driving...
Lydden Hill, England - 22nd August, 1999
Francis moves closer to championship title
Another dominant performance today by Queenslander, Brett Francis, took him a step closer to the Kent Formula Ford Championship in the UK. Francis, driving for the PA Motorsport team, achieved his eighth win of the year on the tight Lydden circuit. It appeared a relatively straightforward victory for the English-based Brisbane driver, although the demanding layout of the one mile track does not allow for even the smallest mistake. Brett made none, and is pushing hard to bring PA Motorsport its second consecutive Championship title.
Qualifying saw the field at its closest, with only three tenths of a second covering the top six. This included the smallest possible gap between first and second on the grid, a mere one one-hundredth of a second splitting the front row. On pole for the ninth time this year would be the ’93 Swift of Francis, securing the top spot in the dying minutes of the session. Local flyer Matt Wood was alongside in his ’95 Swift, equalling his best qualifying position of the season.
Making a near perfect getaway at the green light, Brett quickly set about establishing a lead as second placed Wood tried to free himself from local expert Dave Connor’s grasp. Within two laps Francis had the race under control, and proceeded to extend his advantage until lap nine. As the event neared completion, excitement rose in the crowd as Wood closed the gap to the leader. Nonetheless, Brett knew what was necessary to win, and didn’t allow the competition any closer than he felt was a comfortable margin.
The flag to flag victory, including fastest lap, gave Brett another maximum point-scoring weekend, allowing him to extend his lead in the 1600cc Kent Championship to forty-four points. It also cements PA Motorsport’s position as the leading Kent Formula Ford team in 1999. Achieving a total of twelve victories thus far this season, the Folkestone based crew have made their mark in this ultra-competitive series.
With five rounds of the series remaining, the Australian is determined to continue the form he has demonstrated since the beginning of the season: "It might have looked easy from the outside, but it’s never easy when the competition is this tough. Matt was really on form today, and I knew that any mistake by me would allow him to pile the pressure on. Thankfully my car is so well set-up that I could push for the first half of the race to build a gap, then back off a little in the latter half. I do prefer to be trying to push for the lead rather than maintain it, although I know Peter would rather see the car in front and untroubled. I get a bit anxious when I’m in maintaining a gap - even in a fifteen lap race I hear noises!" "Per usual the aim is to keep winning and scoring fastest laps. This won’t change until the last round, and will continue into the Formula Ford Festival weekend. There’s no use in racing for points when the championship isn’t won yet."
Team Principal, Peter Alexander, agrees with the approach taken by his Antipodean charger: "I know from the experience of last year that you can’t stop pushing forward until it’s over. In Brett’s case, he is focused on going through until the Festival, so he needs to keep up the momentum. I don’t need to remind him of that, though. Brett is an extremely determined individual, as demonstrated in his results to date. He’s always being asked, ‘Have you tied up the championship yet?’ to which he replies, ‘I have no idea’. Wins are his priority. That suits me just fine."
The next round of the championship is on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit on the 4th and 5th of September.
Kent Formula Ford Championship positions after 10 rounds 1. Brett Francis 125 2. Matt Wood 81 3. Keith Wood 74 4. Dave Connor 70 5. Gideon Creswell 51 6. Chris Glazier 44