in first Formula Renault UK round.
A determined display from Kieren Clark, the 19 year old racer from Cambridge, at the opening round of this years Formula Renault UK championship, signalled the potential for the rest of the season. Stepping up from last years more junior BARC Formula Renault championship, the Apotex Scorpio team youngster suffered 2 difficult qualifying sessions through changing weather conditions, where it was impossible to predict the best set up, as the track conditions where changing throughout the 20 minute sessions. In the first race, starting from a disappointing 16th place, a determined KC had made up 4 places by the time the cars thundered down from Druids. On lap 3, KC lost out to a hard charging Sims, who had stalled from pole, which allowed Rossi to close the gap behind KC. For the next few laps, KC pushed hard, sliding into Surtees Bend to open the gap. On lap 11, KC superbly challenged Stoneman into Druids, passing him on the exit to set off chasing Buzaid for the next few laps, challenging on the way into Surteess but couldn’t pull alongside to make the place. Lapping at only 2 tenths off the second fastest lap time, KC held off some late challenges for a well deserved 10th place and his first points in the UK championship.“That was an awesome race” said KC “the car felt excellent, really planted, but as I had really pushed hard at the start to make up the places, my tyres were shot for the last few laps so I had to work hard to keep it all together. I was determined to make up for the poor qualifying place. I’m really pleased with that.”
The second race followed later in the afternoon and KC suffered with too much wheel spin at the start to lose out from 14th grid position to drop down to 16th which is where he ended after an uneventful race, which saw the intervention of the safety car extend the race distance.
“After spinning the wheels at the start, there was nothing I could do to catch Sho (Hanawa, KC’s team mate) so I just had to keep the gap behind me. The track was really slippy from the touring car rubber and the car was a real handful. I had a bit of a moment coming out of Clearways with 2 wheels on the dirt, but kept it all together. I was annoyed I didn’t take my opportunity when the safety car came in, I didn’t get close enough to Sho to make a move.”Reflecting on the previous days qualifying, KC commented “It was a bit of nightmare, the first session had a drying track, and choosing the time to swap to slicks was something of a lottery. At one point I was 3rd on the leader-board, it looked like we had made the right decision, but the closing stages of qualifying dried rapidly and by then my tyres had gone off, so I ended qualifying in 16th place. Not really how I wanted to start my weekend! The second qualifying in the afternoon, was the complete reverse, starting with a dry track, then drizzle started to turn to rain meant that those who got quick times in at the start of the session couldn’t be beaten, and I only managed 16th place on the second race grid. Now I’ve got to concentrate on improving my qualifying position for future, the grid is just so close ”
The next Round of the Formula Renault UK championship is at Rockinham, near Northampton on April 12th and 13th.