FPAUDI: Ryan Hooker Spa race notes

Rounds 9 & 10 of the Visma Software Formula Palmer Audi Championship were held on 30/31 August at the renowned Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium and Essex racer Ryan Hooker couldn't wait to get his first taste of this historic and challenging...

Rounds 9 & 10 of the Visma Software Formula Palmer Audi Championship were held on 30/31 August at the renowned Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium and Essex racer Ryan Hooker couldn't wait to get his first taste of this historic and challenging track.

As so often is the case at the Spa circuit set in the Ardennes Forest the weather played a crucial part with changeable conditions throughout the weekend.

"Friday practice was almost a washout" says 23-year-old Ryan, "There was torrential rain and we struggled to find a good set up."

Wet conditions on Saturday for the first qualifying session proved decisive as the track dried at some sections but not others towards the end of the session. Having set competitive times in the wet Ryan was one of the drivers for whom the changeable conditions proved bad timing, not having time left to change to slick tyres saw Ryan disappointed with his 13th grid position. Second qualifying proved a better affair when run totally in the dry Ryan posted 8th fastest despite serious understeer.

Race One took place on Saturday evening, the heavens opening once more and a wet race was declared. Testing the team's abilities to the full the car had to undergo yet another set up change to cope with the wet conditions. Ryan battled from his 13th grid position to take 9th in atrocious conditions.

Sunday Morning and Race Two saw the return of clear skies and a dry race. Having worked late into the Saturday night on the car, Ryan put in an impressive performance to take 5th position in the race netting himself the fastest race lap, averaging over 108mph, and the Avon Tyres Trophy for Best Rookie Junior in the process. Ryan's strong race finishes in Spa have further bolstered his third position in the Formula Palmer Audi Championship.

"The car's set up wasn't perfect for race two" says Ryan, "but the conditions were so changeable it was impossible to keep up with the weather! Spa is a very technical circuit, there are 22 corners to take into account and massive changes in gradient, add the changeable weather to that equation and its an extremely challenging race for the whole team. I am very happy to have set the weekend's fastest lap. It is an amazing circuit to drive. The Eau Rogue corner is famous as one of the most demanding corners in the world and I can confirm it is awesome! In the dry I could take it flat out and you could feel the car and your body being sucked by the g-forces down into the track. You have to be really committed to take it flat out and it literally takes your breath away. It is a very special track."

The series holds its final two rounds of the championship at Castle Combe in Wiltshire on September 14th.

-www.ryanhooker-racing.co.uk

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Ryan Hooker