Formula Palmer Audi ace, Gideon Cresswell maintained his impressive run of form in the championship with a convincing seventh and tenth place at Mondello Park last weekend. Qualifying Session 1: 12th: 1:43.10s Session 2: 8th: 1:41.89s A dry ...
Formula Palmer Audi ace, Gideon Cresswell maintained his impressive run of form in the championship with a convincing seventh and tenth place at Mondello Park last weekend.
Session 1: 12th: 1:43.10s
Session 2: 8th: 1:41.89s
A dry first qualifying session saw Cresswell set a time which was comparable to fastest in the morning's test session, however a trip through the gravel trap and a red flag period did little to help his cause.
The second of the two qualifying sessions saw a marked improvement as Cresswell continued to fine-tune his knowledge of the 3503 metre circuit. His best time of 1:41.89s- set on his final flying lap- was good enough for a spot on the fourth row.
Despite the close confines of the Formula Palmer Audi grid, Cresswell rocketed off the line to make up a stunning eight positions by the end of the opening tour. While he threaded his way through the field, a clash up ahead accounted for both Tim Whale and Noel Roddy. Although the first corner carnage allowed the front runners to pull away from the rest of the pack, Cresswell had by now worked his way into a fantastic fifth position and firmly attached himself to the rear of Ben Lewis' identical, 250bhp machine.
The Maidstone ace swept past Lewis with a stunning outbraking manoeuvre on the inside line at Tarzan at the end of lap one. Two laps later however, Lewis took Cresswell by surprise with an optimistic dive down the inside through the final hairpin, punting the QAS-backed FPA into the air and subsequently, damaging both front and rear wings.
A recovering Cresswell immediately re-passed Steven Young into the Honda curve before setting about an escaping Lewis. By half-distance, he'd plugged the gap to Lewis but lost out once again at the Ambassador turn due to a lack of a rear wing. The ensuing loss of downforce under braking and cornering snapped the car into the gravel trap. Scrambling back into the race in eighth, Cresswell determinedly set about catching seventh placed man, Paul Warren.
With only a handful of laps remaining, an under-pressure Warren found himself shadowed by Cresswell out of the final corner. Using the available‘ boost' for extra kick, Cresswell tried first the inside then fainted to the outside before returning to his original position and scorching past into seventh place.
"From twelfth on the grid, seventh isn't a bad result," Cresswell said." However, I was running fourth at one point so I am a little disappointed as I know I could have finished further up had it not been for the contact with Ben early in the race."
With his second demon start of the day, Cresswell seared through the field from eighth place on the grid to sixth on lap one. The Brands Hatch race winner was then forced into a titanic battle with Young, Lewis and Howard Spooner.
Although a mistake by Young into the second corner allowed Cresswell to power alongside on the straight, a small tap from behind was enough to tip the already-sliding Cresswell into an unrecoverable spin.
Rejoining the chase in tenth position, the QAS car was then made to muscle its way back through the Formula Palmer Audi field. Passing Spooner and then Bernard Thear, Cresswell was all set to pursue a top six finish when a recovering Spooner began to close. An action packed race finale saw a consummate battle played out between the two, interrupted only by a spinning Stuart Prior taking to the track immediately ahead of Cresswell.
While the Maidstone driver dealt with avoiding a collision, Spooner claimed the place but found that Cresswell had followed him past in the final stages of the gripping fifteen lap encounter. With only minutes remaining, Cresswell set up a passing manoeuvre at Tarzan but lost out when he hit a bump in the track. At full speed, the Audi-powered machine dramatically snapped around, leaving Cresswell facing the wrong direction and a speeding Prior. After narrowly avoiding a head on collision with Prior, he recovered to claim tenth at the flag.
After six rounds of the 2001 Formula Palmer Audi Championship, Cresswell holds fifth position in the driver standings.
Rounds seven and eight will take place at Brands Hatch, August 18-19.