Ollie Hancock produced a pair of stunning wet weather drives to take an impressive double-victory in rounds 3 and 4 of the Formula Renault BARC championship and assume the lead in the title race.
The Hampshire-based Apotex Scorpio Motorsport driver dominated race day at Rockingham, adding the bonus point for fastest lap to each of his wins, and highlighted his wet-weather prowess with a succession of fine overtaking manoeuvres as he charged through the field in both races.
Having qualified eighth, Hancock was prepared for a hard first race on Sunday morning, but produced a sensational opening lap to lead after the first tour. He was third into the first corner after a superb start, took second midway through the lap and passed championship leader Menasheh Idafar for the lead at the Brook chicane. Ollie’s best lap of 1:35.518s was fastest by over a second, while he consistently lapped two seconds quicker than everyone else, romping home to a crushing 35 second victory in the 14 lap race.
Ollie was made to work a little harder for his race 2 win, but was once again the class of the 29-car field on a damp but drying track. Starting sixth, Hancock was already second when an accident further down the grid brought out a red flag on lap 1. He didn’t make as good a getaway on the restart, but was second by the start of lap 5 having passed Ahmad Al Harthy, Johannes Siedlitz and Idafar with well judged overtaking manoeuvres. With seven laps remaining Ollie began the chase of leader Brett Parris, closing his five second advantage to nothing by lap 9, before taking the lead with a brave move around the outside of turn 4. With another fastest lap in his pocket, Hancock pulled away to win by 3.8 seconds and complete a sensational weekend.
Ollie said: “The team gave me a great car for both races so my heartfelt thanks to them. It had superb traction and was fantastic to drive, despite the conditions. I’ve never driven in the wet at Rockingham before, but we had a couple of warm-up laps in race 1 so I used them to find where the grip was off-line. It worked exactly as I’d hoped and that first lap was incredible.
“I know I’ve still got some work to do to improve my qualifying, but three wins from four races is a superb start to the season and I can’t wait for the next round at Oulton Park where both the team and I have a good record.”
Hancock now leads the drivers’ championship by seven points from Hillspeed’s Menasheh Idafar.