Reigning Graduate Cup Champion Alex Lynn (Dunmow) made the best possible start to his 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Winter Cup campaign by taking a double win during the opening rounds at Norfolk’s Snetterton circuit on Saturday, 6th November.
The 17-year-old Fortec Motorsport racer converted his front-row start in round one to claim his maiden victory and indeed his fist ever car racing win. The teenager then claimed the honours in the day’s second race, albeit in different circumstances after capitalising on a time penalty handed to the two drivers who finished ahead of him.
Those racers were Russian teenager Daniil Kvyat, running with Eurocup team Koiranen Bros Motorsport, and Manor Competition’s Ollie Millroy (Claygate). After securing second in round one, Millroy had repeated the feat in race two with Kvyat taking the chequered flag but following a post race investigation, both drivers had overtaken during a Safety Car period handing them each a five second penalty – dropping them to third and fourth respectively.
With Lynn taking his second win, that left Luke Wright (Shaftesbury), run by Mark Godwin’s new outfit MGR Motorsport, to be promoted into second for round two with the day’s remaining podium spot (third) in round one going to New Zealander Richie Stanaway in his Atech GP run car.
Local racer Josh Webster (Suffolk) meanwhile secured both the BARC class wins in his Fortec Motorsport machine, along with a new BARC lap record, ending a thrilling opening weekend for the series which saw an impressive 25 cars take to the grid.
Lynn handed second victory…
After a disappointing opening round Kvyat had the chance to make amends in the day’s second race starting on pole with the impressive Bradford rookie Jack Hawksworth alongside him. Lynn and Kvyat’s team-mate Carlos Sainz Junior, son of the double World Rally Champion Carlos, meanwhile sat lurking on row two.
As the lights went out for the 20-lap dry race it was Kvyat who took full advantage of his P1 spot to lead with Sainz making a blistering start to move into second, albeit a little too good with the Spaniard deemed to have jumped the start and subsequently handed a drive-through penalty.
The opening few laps saw positions change throughout with Stanaway briefly gaining ground before dropping back down the order with Wright also making headway from 12th on the grid. When the race began to settle down Kvyat was leading comfortably from Hawksworth with Sainz out of the picture after taking his drive-through penalty. Millroy once again looked dangerous in third with Josh Hill (Farnham), son of 1996 Formula 1 World Champion Damon, lurking in fourth in his Manor Competition run car.
Shortly after Millroy got the better of Hawksworth at Sear with Hill also passing the youngster a few laps later. Josh was then all over the back of Hawksworth’s car with the 19-year-old attempting a move at Riches only for Jack to close the door but a determined Hill did eventually find a way past.
By now Kvyat’s lead was close to four seconds but contact between several cars at the Russell Chicane saw the Safety Car deployed evaporating his lead. Racing didn’t resume until four laps later meaning the race would now run to its maximum 25-minute time limit. During the Safety Car period however, back-marker Evelin Frank (CRO), driving in the BARC class for CRS Racing, had been overtaken by both Kvyat and Millroy which would later prove crucial to the race outcome.
Nevertheless, when the green flag was waved Kvyat still led from Millroy with Hill in third and on course for a maiden podium until an electrical problem cruelly ended his race. With the clock counting down and the 1.952-mile laps ticking by, Millroy only had a few laps left to reel in Kvyat but he threw everything at it leaving Lynn and Wright in third and fourth places respectively.
Millroy, a former winner on his circuit earlier this year, put his all into chasing down the Russian shading around half a second off his lead each lap and setting the NGK Spark Plugs Fastest Lap of the race in the process. The two were now nose-to-tail, or in Millroy’s words, “on his gearbox”, with the Surrey racer needing just one more lap to pass the 16-year-old but it wasn’t to be as the chequered flag went out on lap 20 with the gap between them a mere 0.221s. Lynn finished third with Wright making up an incredible eight places to cross the line in fourth and Fortec Motorsport’s Dan Wells (Salisbury) rounding off an impressive debut in fifth. Webster meanwhile finished 14th and secured the BARC class honours along with a new lap record.
Following a post race investigation though Kvyat and Millroy were both handed five second penalties for gaining an unfair advantage during the Safety Car period handing Lynn the win with Wright in second and Daniil holding on to third spot.
Maiden victory for Lynn…
Despite having only completed four tests before the weekend, Hawksworth walked away from the day’s earlier qualifying session with his maiden Michelin pole position – also handing Mark Burdett Motorsport their first pole with the new UK spec machine. Lynn joined the inexperienced Yorkshire teenager on the front row with Kvyat and Wright on row two.
Slicks seemed the order of the day, in spite of a slightly damp track, as the race got underway. Lynn made the better start from the front row to lead Hawksworth into Riches as the rest of the field jostled for position. The more experienced Millroy was the real winner of the opening lap jumping from sixth on the grid to third with Sainz in fourth and Stanaway in fifth before the Kiwi gained another place the following lap.
After a brief Safety Car period, racing resumed on lap seven with the race extended to 23-laps or, as it would later transpire, the 25-minute time limit. Lynn made good on his first ever restart to lead once more with the Essex racer continuing to push to stretch his lead and also set the NGK Spark Plugs Fastest Lap of the race.
Likewise, the ever improving Wright also took full advantage of the restart to make a move on Sainz going into Riches to slip into fifth where he stayed until the chequered flag giving MGR Motorsport a top five finish on their very first outing.
With Lynn stretching his lead, the battle for second, third and fourth places was hotting up with Hawksworth eventually losing out on lap eight dropping from second to fourth with Millroy now in second and Stanaway in third.
From then on the order remained unchanged despite Lynn and the rest of the leading pack having to negotiate several back-markers which did allow Millroy to close the gap slightly on the reigning Graduate Cup Champion. Hawksworth also made one last endeavour at regaining some of his lost ground with the newcomer having a look to pass at Riches but to no avail.
As the race clock ticked onto 25-minutes the chequered flag was deployed on lap 21, just two short from the full race distance leaving a jubilant Lynn to secure his first ever win. Millroy took a well deserved second with Stanaway picking up his maiden Formula Renault podium in third. The two newcomers of Hawksworth and Wright rounded off the top five while local racer Webster secured the BARC class victory after getting the jump on Taylor at the start.
Commenting on his impressive weekend Lynn said: “Today was my first car racing win so it’s very special to me. I’ve raced on this track earlier in the year and have more experience than some of the other drivers here which certainly helped. In the first race I was expecting a Safety Car period given we have so many new drivers while the back-markers are just something you have to deal with. In the second race I didn’t get the best start or have a great first lap which put me on the defensive from then on. I managed to pick it up though and get back to the front and end a very good weekend.”
2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Winter Cup drivers’ standings – Rd 2:
|1st||Alex Lynn||GBR||Fortec Motorsport||66 pts|
|2nd||Ollie Millroy||GBR||Manor Competition||52 pts|
|3rd||Luke Wright||GBR||MGR Motorsport||48 pts|
|4th||Joni Wiman||FIN||Fortec Motorsport||32 pts|
|5th||Dan Wells||GBR||Fortec Motorsport||31 pts|
|6th||Jack Hawksworth||GBR||Mark Burdett Motorsport||30 pts|
BARC Class – Rd 2:
|1st||Josh Webster||GBR||Fortec Motorsport||17 pts|
|2nd||David Wagner||GBR||Hillspeed||11 pts|
|3rd||Howard Fuller||GBR||Hillspeed||8 pts|