Determined Top ten finish for Clark in Rockingham Formula Renault UK.
A stunning start from Kieren Clark, the 19 year old racer from Cambridge, enabled him to score another top ten finish in round 4 of the Formula Renault UK championship, watched live by nearly 450,000 TV viewers.With the cars at the head of the race in procession, the cameras focussed on the battles surrounding the Apotex Scorpio driver for much of the race, giving sensational live TV coverage.
The qualifying sessions on Saturday did not yield the promise hoped for, and grid positions of 16th and 15th were the best Kieren could achieve. So once again, if there was to be any good finishes, it had to come in the races.In the first race, starting on the outside of the banked Rockingham straight, KC made a good start but Rossi, on the inside position made an even better one and relegated both Kieren and Josh Scott, his Apotex Scorpio team mate, back one place. KC chased Josh hard for 2 laps and made the move coming out of the hairpin to move up 1 place. For the next 3 laps the 2 cars were glued together until Josh made the better line coming out of the turn 1 into the hairpin to reverse the position. On lap 8 Oakes, ahead of the 2 Apotex Scorpio cars locked wheels into the final chicane and KC was able to slip through on the inside, but the unfortunate Josh slid wide to avoid collision and ended his race in the gravel. With breathing space behind, KC got his head down to chase Rossi, now some 4,5 seconds ahead and managed to close the gap to 2,5 seconds at the end of the race, to finish 15th.The second race was scheduled for Sunday mid afternoon, directly after the touring car round 2, and with a packed crowd and live TV coverage, KC was determined to improve on his grid position. Starting on the inside of the track, KC had a stunning start and shot up the inside of the pack and made up 5 places into the first hairpin. In the tussle behind, some contact caused the safety car to be deployed for 5 laps. A good restart got KC chasing Pentus ahead of him and in the next lap managed to take the position on the fast run in to the first hairpin for 9th place. Behind, Callardo was also moving up, and challenged KC on lap 10 cutting on the inside of the banking for a clean move into the first hairpin. KC wasn’t going to concede the place easily and re-took position at the next hairpin, but Colardo got the better grip on the exit and managed to pull past on the run onto the main straight. With this tussle, Pentus had closed the gap and challenged KC along the fast turn 1 but KC held position and managed to pull some space over the remaining laps of the exciting 24 lap race for a well deserved 10th place and first car home for the Apotex Scorpio team.
“That was such a mint start” explained Kieren, “and I managed to keep away from everyone into the tight first hairpin, not sure what happened behind me but the safety car for the next few laps was getting a bit dull. I was ready for it to pull in though, and got away well, but couldn’t make enough speed to get any advantage. It did set me up for the next lap when I got the better line through turn 1 to take Sten (Pentus). James (Calado) made a good move on me, I was determined to get the place back, but just couldn’t keep it there. Another top ten though, I’m chuffed with that, but I’ve really got to sort out my qualifying!”
The next Rounds of the Formula Renault UK championship are at Donington on May 3rd and 4th, again supporting the British Touring Car Championship rounds, with big crowds expected, along with live TV coverage on the Sunday, of the afternoon’s events.