Trying Time For Cresswell At Donington Park Club Formula Palmer Audi front-runner, Gideon Cresswell had a trying time at Donington Park last weekend due to problems with understeer in qualifying and a bruising first race for his QAS...
Trying Time For Cresswell At Donington Park
Club Formula Palmer Audi front-runner, Gideon Cresswell had a trying time at Donington Park last weekend due to problems with understeer in qualifying and a bruising first race for his QAS Systems-backed machine.
Race 1: 12th: 1m:37.302s
Race 2: 14th: 1m:37.558s
Following on from a productive wet weather test session on Saturday morning, the afternoon's first qualifying session saw Cresswell struggle with understeer on an unfamiliar circuit.
Hampered by traffic he fared little better in session two, sliding two places to a frustrating fourteenth position.
RACE 1: 11th: 21m:18.316s
A fantastic start to round three saw Cresswell make up several places on the approach to Redgate, the first corner on the Grand Prix circuit. Although a spin on cold tyres at Coppice saw him drop back, the Maidstone racer was quick to regain the lost positions and resume his attack on the tail of Arthur Atkinson.
Cresswell's bid for a top-six ranking then suffered a further blow in the early stages of the twelve-lap race following a collision with the chasing Richards Styles. "I managed to get close enough to Atkinson at Goddards to think about making a move on him but I backed out of it when I realised I wouldn't have been able to make it stick cleanly," Cresswell explained. "Styles had other ideas though and thought he could try the impossible. As I turned into the corner, he T-Boned me, damaging the side pod/radiator."
Undeterred, Cresswell immediately repassed Styles exiting the hairpin and looked set to claim the elusive position at Goddards on the following lap. This time however, a loss of momentum allowed Ben Lewis past into seventh on the drag down to Redgate corner.
Despite eventually passing Atkinson around the outside into Redgate, handling problems for the number three Formula Palmer Audi led to a spin at McLeans later that lap. Luckily for Cresswell, a Safety Car period in the closing stages of the race allowed him to close back up to the runaway tenth placed car and set the scene for a frantic two-lap dash to the chequered flag.
While Cresswell swarmed over Tim Whale's identical, Audi-powered machine at the re-start, the former Formula Ford racer was forced to run wide at Goddards to avoid a second collision. Chris Hyman sneaked past the recovering Cresswell who then narrowly lost out on a top ten berth in the ensuing two-way drag race to the flag.
RACE 2: 8th: 19m:48.120s
From fourteenth on the grid, a sizzling start launched Cresswell four places through the order on the approach to Redgate. A further two places came his way soon after when a three car battle for position hampered the progress of Darron Anley, Rob Lofting and David Joseph. Sneaking past two cars into Melbourne, Cresswell fought up to eighth place.
Despite suffering severe handling problems throughout - caused by a suspected flat spot on the left front tyre- Cresswell made up a further place following contact between Lewis and Howard Spooner at McLeans in the mid-section of the race. Unfortunately, he was soon under pressure from the chasing Rob Lofting. With three laps to go, Cresswell was forced to use his last available 'boost' to defend the position, but lost out on the following lap when his adversary employed a similar tactic and blasted past on the straight.
"By the later stages of the race, I was really beginning to suffer physically with the vibration coming from the car. I was also being forced to brake early for the corner or lock up and lose even more time," he said.
"Rob [Lofting] ran wide and then nearly went off at Redgate on the final lap, so I tried sneaking past but didn't quite make it. I came under a bit of pressure from David Joseph at the chicane after that, but eighth place is pretty good when you consider I started fourteenth. It was quite a difficult weekend given my lack of experience at Donington, but I did at least get the trophy for making up the most number of places in the race compared to original grid positions."