DEMPSEY COMPLETES A DOUBLE Two days after winning the first ever Duratec powered UK Formula Ford Championship race, Peter Dempsey shrugged off enormous pressure to take victory in the second leg of the Oulton Park double-header. In round...
DEMPSEY COMPLETES A DOUBLE
Two days after winning the first ever Duratec powered UK Formula Ford Championship race, Peter Dempsey shrugged off enormous pressure to take victory in the second leg of the Oulton Park double-header.
In round one on Easter Saturday, Dempsey had lost the lead to Nathan Freke at the start and then dropped to sixth after missing a gear on the third lap. Despite this delay, he surged back through the field to snatch victory in the final moments. As much as he had enjoyed that thrilling race, Peter was hoping that the Easter Monday race would be less eventful for him -- especially as he was confident after successful pre-season testing that he had the speed to win without having to get too embroiled with the rest of the pack.
Happily for the spectators, Dempsey didn't get his wish, and round two of the revitalised UK FFord series proved to be just as tense as Saturday's race.
"I got a much better start this time, and managed to pull about four car lengths' lead over Nathan straight away," Dempsey said. "But then I just ran onto the grass a little bit and that let him get right back onto my tail, and after that I just couldn't shake him off."
Having lost out to Dempsey by just 0.034 seconds in race one, Freke was determined to turn the tables in the second race. He stuck to the rear of Dempsey's Irish Ferries/Cliff Dempsey Racing Ray throughout the 12 laps, never dropping more than a few inches behind. At one stage Freke actually managed to move ahead on the approach to the fast Island bend, but Dempsey quickly retaliated and reclaimed first position around the outside into the Knickerbrook chicane. However hard he pushed, though, Freke's orange car continued to fill Dempsey's mirrors.
"I tried my best to get away from him, but he was quicker than me in the second half of the circuit," Peter explained. "We made some changes to the car for today's race, and to be honest we probably should have left it how it was."
The ferocity of Dempsey and Freke's battle allowed third placed Christian Ebbesvik to close right in on them. Although Dempsey hoped that this could work to his advantage by forcing Freke to concentrate on the rapidly approaching Norweigan, in the event it only heightened the tension as the top three began the final lap just fractions of a second apart. But Dempsey's concentration never wavered, and he held on to take the chequered flag just 0.175s in front of Freke, and 0.292s ahead of Ebbesvik after another breathless race.
"That was a close one..." Peter admitted. "But the most important thing was to start the season with two wins, it doesn't really matter how close they were.
"We're going to go away now and do some more work on the car so we can be a bit quicker still at the next race."
With a four week gap before rounds three and four at Donington Park on 20th-21st May, Dempsey has time to fine tune his Irish Ferries Ray a little more, and maybe make the next races slightly less nerve-jangling.