Super Cool Cresswell Scores A Hat Trick Formula Palmer Audi front-runner, Gideon Cresswell scored his third win of the season in round eleven of the championship at Snetterton last weekend, equalling the record of most victories for a driver...
Super Cool Cresswell Scores A Hat Trick
Formula Palmer Audi front-runner, Gideon Cresswell scored his third win of the season in round eleven of the championship at Snetterton last weekend, equalling the record of most victories for a driver this season.
Session 1: 2nd - 1m 08.602s
Session 2: 4th- 1m 09.179s
With oversteer kinks worked out in Saturday testing, Cresswell was immediately on the pace when the qualifying session proper got underway on Sunday morning.
Despite clocking one second faster than his testing best, Cresswell's benchmark time was displaced in the final moments of the twenty-minute session by the eventual pole-sitter." I'm not disappointed with second on the grid at all," he commented." After crashing heavily here last year, this isn't my favourite circuit and both times I've started FPA races from pole I've ended up in the gravel! I'm also feeling ill as I was at Donington a few weeks ago so maybe the next best spot will be luckier for me."
Although almost cancelled due to fog, the final qualifying session of the season was hotly contested. Following much the same pattern as session one, Cresswell again set the yardstick before dropping back to fourth after catching traffic in the latter stages.
Race 1 -- 1st
A strong start from Cresswell saw him ease alongside pole man, Chris Hyman into Riches. Trying first to go around the outside, then looking down the inside, Cresswell eventually switched back to his original line to edge an advantage underbraking for the corner. As the QAS car hustled past, contact between Cresswell's rear right wheel and Hyman's front left pushed the new leader into a huge slide. Collecting it all together in customary style, Cresswell was then set about creating a comfortable lead.
Ahead of the pack at the start of lap two, he began to work the cold tyres up to race pace while building a gap of two seconds over the rest of the field. Behind Cresswell, a hard charging Ben Lewis was next to take up the challenge and after sneaking past Hyman for second, he set off in pursuit of the race leader.
With just two laps remaining, Cresswell elected to use his boost button at three key sections of the circuit to fend off Lewis' challenge. Although a cautious entrance into Riches, the Bomb Hole and Corum on lap fifteen allowed Lewis to close up, a final surge of power at the exit of Russell saw Cresswell through to a clear victory.
With Cresswell's main rival in the championship stakes finishing fourth to clinch the runner-up spot with one round remaining, Cresswell would start race two tied for fourth place in the standings but only one point behind third-placed man, Howard Spooner and with the advantage of a much better grid position.
Race 2 -- 2nd
Failing to make up any places at the start, Cresswell was forced to hold station in fourth position. While new champion, Steve Warburton claimed third place by driving past Chris Hyman into Riches, Cresswell began to make moves to follow him through. Despite boosting, the race one winner was unable to complete the pass at the Esses on lap one.
Quicker exiting Russell, Cresswell steamed past on the inside at Riches. After carrying too much speed into the corner, a huge slide was quickly corrected with a full turn of opposite lock. Despite lightening reflexes, Cresswell was again relegated to fourth with the loss of more than a second on his rivals.
With the first three running line astern and lap times almost identical, Cresswell was momentarily unable to close down on the leading trio. As Warburton pressurised Young at the front of the pack, the race leader's defensive tactics slowed the pace thus bringing Cresswell back into the midst of the battle.
When Warburton seized the lead at Riches, a flying Cresswell re-claimed third before scorching past Young with an authoritative move on the outside of turn one.
Into the final lap, Cresswell piled the pressure on at Corum and Russell in a last ditch bid to force a costly mistake from the race leader. Neck and neck throughout the final stages of the lap and cheered on by his delighted sponsors QAS Systems, Cresswell was eventually forced to settle for second position and his fourth podium place of the year.
"It was a fitting end to the season," Cresswell commented," as second place gives me third spot in the drivers championship and another podium position.
"This was arguably one of the best weekends I've had in Formula Palmer Audi. The final race was an absolute classic and one of the best races I've ever driven in."
Gideon would like to thank his sponsors, QAS Systems Ltd. and Kerry Ingredients for their invaluable support of his 2001 Formula Palmer Audi campaign.