Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Fortec dominates Formula Renault at Silverstone


Alex Lynn with an appropriate Pit Board

Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Lynn took his twelfth win of the year and team-mate Oliver Rowland his fourth today at Silverstone in rounds nineteen and twenty of the CERTINA Formula Renault 2.0 UK championship. Lynn’s victory in the first race ensured he became the 2011 champion, and Rowland’s victory and fastest lap in the final race sees him finish as runner-up to Lynn.

The newly crowned champion’s twelfth victory of the year also saw him break the championship’s record of wins in a season, which had previously held by James Matthews since 1994.

Essex-based Lynn dominated the first race of the day, leading from pole position and crossing the line over six seconds ahead of Rowland, who passed Daniel Cammish (Mark Burdett Motorsport) on the first lap.

Such was the manner in which Lynn won, he also broke the lap record for Formula Renault 2.0 UK cars on the Silverstone National circuit, with a lap of 53.838 seconds - over four tenths quicker than James Calado’s previous best lap in 2008.

“This is an absolutely fantastic feeling,” said Lynn. “I don’t think that it will quite sink in for me until tomorrow morning. I made a good start off the line at the beginning of the race and the car felt very good; we were able to show a lot of pace. Looking ahead to this afternoon, I’m just going to go out there and push as hard as I possibly can to end the season on a high.

Continuing his late season charge, Rowland followed home team-mate Lynn; a strong start off the grid saw him get by Cammish and the Sheffield-based youngster ensured it remained that way until the flag. Rowland pressed Lynn hard in the opening laps, setting a number of personal best laps in the process, but eventually settled for second place and yet another graduate cup victory.

“Off the line I got a good start,” explained a frustrated Rowland. “I got into second and then I tried to push for the fastest lap but Alex was just too quick, along with that I also made a few errors. We’ll have to see if we can make a few improvements for later and hopefully I will be able to get the win.”

Starting alongside Lynn on the grid after a season’s best qualifying performance yesterday, Cammish battled early on with fellow Mark Burdett Motorsport racer, Jack Hawksworth. The pair provided entertainment for the large crowd, and were soon joined by championship contender Tio Ellinas (Atech Reid GP).

“It wasn’t a bad race for us,” said Cammish. “I think that starting in third would have been a bit more of an advantage though. I dropped to third immediately, had the pace and managed to pull a respectable lead over Jack. From then on it was just a matter of being consistent to finish on the podium.”

Hawksworth and Ellinas soon began a thrilling battle that eventually saw the young Cypriot driver overcome Hawksworth on the penultimate lap of the race as they entered Brooklands corner. Unfortunately for Ellinas, Lynn’s victory meant it wasn’t enough to ensure the championship went down to the final race of the season.

“On Friday and Saturday we were a bit off with the car,” said Ellinas in a reflective mood. “We have done a great job to find a good setup with the car for the race; I think I set the second fastest lap of the race so that is a positive.

“For the next race I am back in P6 again, so I will have to try to make my way through the field again to finish on the podium. I now have to ensure that I secure second in the championship.”

Australian, Mitchell Gilbert started the race fourth, but found himself languishing down in eighth on the first lap after a sluggish start saw the Fortec driver get passed by Manor Competition duo Jordan King and Josh Hill. Gilbert fought back though and scythed past first Hill, then King, crossing the line sixth.

Elsewhere, a first lap spin at Copse corner for Fortec Competition’s Ed Jones saw him delay team-mate Felix Serralles; the Puerto Rican went on to set the fastest lap on the second tour of the circuit, but would later retire in the pits with a fuel pressure issue.

Race two was a different story for the 2011 champion.  Rowland, keen to secure the runner up spot in the championship from Ellinas, started well, taking Gilbert on the outside and making a similarly bold move on Lynn that saw the pair make contact.

Rowland romped into the lead and never looked back, finishing the year as the top driver in the graduate class too.

“A good start was a necessity in that race,” said Rowland. “I knew that I had to get past Mitch and attack Alex on the first few laps, at times I thought that it wouldn’t be possible, but into that first corner I braked really late and pulled off the move. I couldn’t really believe it for five laps so I made a few mistakes, once I came round I knew that I had to push and focus. To get the fastest lap on the last lap just means everything.”

After a spin at Brooklands, Lynn started to regain his composure putting in a series of fast laps. However, with Ellinas stuck behind Cammish in fourth, Rowland required the two points that come with a fastest lap of the race.

After Lynn had set a time of 54.419, Rowland began a do or die attempt to set the fastest lap which resulted in a time of 54.001; Lynn was unable to match this and Rowland finished level on points with Ellinas, claiming the runners-up place in the championship on a count back of victories.

Gilbert topped off the weekend for Fortec, ensuring another one two, following home Rowland and keeping the rapid Cammish at bay.

“I found it difficult to start off the line on the dirty side of the track,” said Gilbert. “When Oliver and Alex tangled I thought that hopefully I would be able to progress, unfortunately they both got through. Alex went off at Brooklands, from there I tried to push Oliver but he managed to pull away. I’m very pleased to end the season on the podium”

“It was a hard race but very enjoyable,” said Cammish. “Tio was hounding me lap after lap. To begin with I thought that this might get a bit lively but he wasn’t able to make a move to pass me. I just had nothing left to give at the end of the day. Third is the best that we could of hoped for.”
Further down the order, the race was dominated by drive through penalties. Four were awarded due to drivers exceeding the track limits at various points on the circuit. Manor Competition’s Alice Powell and Lynn were both penalized while racing for ninth, Oscar King (Atech Reid GP) inherited ninth place and subsequently got a penalty, and Serralles, still suffering mechanical issues was also judged to have used too much of Silverstone’s run-off areas.

Josh Hill (Manor Competition) finished the season on a high; a fifth-place finish ahead of Hawksworth, equaling his season best at Croft earlier in the year. Hill’s Manor team-mate King benefited from the drive through penalties, finishing eighth and Powell ended tenth, almost two seconds ahead of Atech Reid GP’s King.

Round 19 top ten results
  1. Alex Lynn Fortec Motorsports 19m 56.501 – 22 laps
  2. Oliver Rowland Fortec Motorsports +6.044s G
  3. Daniel Cammish Mark Burdett Motorsports +8.581s
  4. Tio Ellinas Atech Reid GP +12.295s
  5. Jack Hawksworth Mark Burdett Motorsports +14.222s
  6. Mitchell Gilbert Fortec Motorsports +14.485s G
  7. Jordan King Manor Competition +14.839s G
  8. Josh Hill Manor Competition +15.006s
  9. Dan Wells Atech Reid GP +15.357s
  10. Oscar King Atech Reid GP +16.656s

Round 20 top ten results
  1. Oliver Rowland Fortec Motorsports 20m 10.036 – 22 laps G
  2. Mitchell Gilbert Fortec Motorsports +4.536 G
  3. Daniel Cammish Mark Burdett Motorsports +7.360
  4. Tio Ellinas Atech Reid GP +7.870
  5. Josh Hill Manor Competition +14.825s
  6. Jack Hawksworth Mark Burdett Motorsports +15.121
  7. Dan Wells Atech Reid GP +16.891
  8. Jordan King Manor Competition +28.176 G
  9. Alex Lynn Fortec Motorsports +38.783
  10. Alice Powell Manor Competition +42.443 G

Final points top five drivers inc. drop
  1. Alex Lynn Fortec Motorsports 521
  2. Oliver Rowland Fortec Motorsports 475 G
  3. Tio Ellinas Atech Reid GP 475
  4. Jack Hawksworth Mark Burdett Motorsports 333
  5. Mitchell Gilbert Fortec Motorsports 317 G