Brands Hatch, England - 18th July, 1999 Queenslander scores more UK wins Young Australian driver, Brett Francis, today took his sixth win of 1999 in the Kent Formula Ford Championship. The Brands Hatch circuit is a firm favourite with the ...
Brands Hatch, England - 18th July, 1999
Queenslander scores more UK wins
Young Australian driver, Brett Francis, today took his sixth win of 1999 in the Kent Formula Ford Championship. The Brands Hatch circuit is a firm favourite with the Brisbane charger, and it was obvious that he was in his element as temperatures soared to the high twenties. Extra points for yet another fastest lap has allowed Kent-based Brett to extend his series lead at the halfway point of the season.
A fraught qualifying session saw Brett take his seventh pole position of the year, just in front of an improving and extremely pleased Jason Down in the Getem chassis. However all drivers were concerned when an incident brought out the red flag, as Crispin Schalafli was taken to hospital and treated for concussion. Word quickly came through that Schalafli was free from serious injury, allowing the competitors to refocus on the job at hand and enjoy the warm, sunny conditions.
An excellent getaway from the start saw Brett lead from flag-to-flag, although numerous incidents meant that a quickly established gap would be eroded time after time. No less that three full-course caution periods were called upon by officials during the fifteen lap event to remove dangerously placed cars, allowing the field to regroup behind the leader. A well thought-out and executed restarting technique ensured that the PA Motorsport driver would never be challenged when racing resumed, and Brett’s ability to push hard on cold tyres would also maintain his advantage over his rivals.
Having scored a win in the recent French round of the championship, Brett’s momentum towards the Kent crown has gained further pace. But neither he nor team boss, Peter Alexander, will be drawn into commenting on their dominating performances as they move into the second half of this sixteen round series.
Brett summed up his weekend:
"I was a bit concerned after qualifying, because the rear of the car was quite unstable making it difficult to carry a lot of speed into the fast corners. Peter and I discussed how we would set the car up for the race, and thankfully he is an absolute genius with the chassis. He made some changes that worked like a dream, and the race was relatively straight-forward after that."
"Well, it would have been if it wasn’t for all of those caution periods. I’ve never seen anything like it! I don’t know whether it’s the heat effecting some of these guys, but people were going off left, right and centre. It made it difficult to get into a rhythm and set some decent lap times, but I was more focused on pulling a gap at each restart and not giving Jason a chance to sniff the lead."
"The next round is a double header at Lydden, which to be honest I have struggled at on occasions. It’s a much slower track than Brands, and I don’t particularly like the slower corners. Hopefully by having qualified on pole and winning the race in France it is an indication that I’ve found a better set-up for the car in slower corners. I’m definitely aiming at bettering the second place I scored at the last Lydden round. I guess we’ll wait and see."
Peter Alexander had some bad news for the competition after Sunday’s win:
"One thing is for certain - we won’t be backing off yet! Brett gave another sterling performance today, but it is only the halfway point in the season. This Kent Championship is very long and so competitive that we can’t afford to relax for even one round. It was obvious that our advantage wasn’t going to last all season long, and the other teams are starting to get their acts together. I’ve still got some tweaks I’d like to try on the car for the rest of the year, but I believe it will be close from this point on. If Brett can keep driving the way he is, and I don’t see why he won’t, the competition will find it extremely tough."
The next round will be a "double header" meeting held on the 7th of August at the Lydden Hill circuit.
Kent Formula Ford Championship positions after 8 rounds 1. Brett Francis 88 2. Matt Wood 56 3. Keith Wood 52 4. Dave Conner 42 5. Gideon Creswell 38 6. Richard Mansell 23