FPAUDI: Cresswell Donington Park report

Gideon Cresswell had a run of mixed fortune at Donington Park last Sunday (2001-08-20) during the penultimate rounds of the Formula Palmer Audi championship. Qualifying Session 1: 1st: 1:09.053s Session 2: 5th: 1:09.813s Following on from a ...

Gideon Cresswell had a run of mixed fortune at Donington Park last Sunday (2001-08-20) during the penultimate rounds of the Formula Palmer Audi championship.

Qualifying
Session 1: 1st: 1:09.053s
Session 2: 5th: 1:09.813s

Following on from a competitive second fastest overall in testing, Cresswell set a blistering pace in the first qualifying session. With a top three position never in doubt, the QAS-backed driver worked his way through the traffic to snatch the top spot with his last flying lap.

Cresswell again led the pack at the start of the second qualifying session, but found his run curtailed six laps into the twenty-minute slot when he spun into the gravel at Coppice. Staying second for most of the rest of the session, he was eventually nudged down to fifth.

"I was pleased with the way my qualifying was going after putting the car on pole early in session two, but going into Coppice I think I hit a patch of oil which sent me spinning into the gravel," he remarked. "I'm certain my time could have been as good as in the first session because the car was just getting up to speed when I went off and the fuel load was coming down as well."

Race 1: DNF
Cresswell rocketed off the line at the start of round nine to lead the twenty strong grid into the first corner. Behind, Adrian Willmott and Steve Warburton's squabble over second position enabled Cresswell to eke out a substantial lead in the early stages of the race.

When Willmott finally succeeded in shaking off Warburton, the series returnee and former Donington winner quickly began to reel in Cresswell's number three machine. Although Willmott was strong through Redgate, the Maidstone racer had the edge through the Old Hairpin and Coppice and was able to counterpunch any advantage Willmott had gained at the beginning of each lap.

With the stage set for a titanic tussle, Cresswell made a mistake on his downshift going into Coppice on lap eight. Missing third gear, the break in momentum tipped the QAS-backed car into a sideways motion. Although Cresswell then found the gears, the situation was unrecoverable and he was sent spinning into the gravel trap and out of the race.

Race 2:
7th Starting round ten from fifth on the grid, Cresswell made a customary slick start to springboard him through the pack. Holed up behind Steve Young, Cresswell was ideally placed to capitalise when the two front-runners collided with each other at Redgate. Trailing Young through the carnage, Cresswell was up to second when contact in the mid-field brought out the red flags.

Despite feeling the effects of a bug which had plagued him all week, Cresswell made his third great start of the day, passing Paul Warren for second place off the line. Cresswell had worked his way onto the tail of Young within three laps of the start but found himself losing out through Redgate on each tour.

Once again quicker than his adversary through the Old Hairpin, Cresswell's speed was his undoing a few laps later. Going too quickly into the corner, he ran wide on to the kerbing and spun out on the exit of the corner.

Rejoining near the back of the field, Cresswell stormed his way through the pack to seventh position, making up one place in dramatic fashion on the line and setting the fastest lap of the race en-route.

"After being almost last at one point, I had a brilliant race passing several cars to make my way back into the top ten. There were a few good battles out there and it was quite satisfying to be able to move through the order like I did. It's just a shame that the race wasn't a few laps longer!"

Next race: Snetterton, 13-14 October.

-Cresswell Racing

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Gideon Cresswell , Paul Warren , Adrian Willmott