Fortec Competition’s Will Stevens took pole position by just six hundredths of a second from Manor Competition’s Jordan King, in a truly thrilling qualifying session today at the all-new Snetterton 300 circuit in Norfolk.
Rain loomed large as the Formula Renault cars lined-up in the assembly area ahead of the session start. Once released, all fourteen cars entered the track at the same time to ensure they beat the downpour. However, the rain never came and it was Stevens who prevailed, holding off a late charge from championship leader, Alex Lynn (Fortec Motorsport) to ensure he lined up first for race one tomorrow.
“It’s good to be back,” said Stevens. “I’m happy with the lap I’ve done, as it was tricky for the first two or three laps; then I managed to get a good lap just near the end there.“
The young driver was very vocal in the challenge the new 300 circuit brings to the drivers, “Turn three (Palmer) is really good and Hamilton as well. Both are near flat out for us. It’s a little more tricky in turn three and I really like the challenge.”
The damp circuit caught several contenders out on the opening lap, Lynn being one of them.
“It was pretty difficult,” said Lynn. “It looked like it was going to rain in the mid session, so everybody went out early and it was hard to get room to get a time in.
“I made a mistake on the first lap and spun at the Bomb Hole, but I’m pretty happy with the time and the position. My team-mate’s on pole and I’m confident we can control the race from the front.”
After the first lap, it was Mark Burdett Motorsport’s Daniel Cammish who set the early pace. The young Leeds-born driver posted a lap of 1:48.798 and held off mounting competition until Atech Reid GP duo, Tio Ellinas and Oscar King pushed Cammish down to third.
With just over four minutes of qualifying left, the session was red flagged because of debris on the track. However, the lap before the flag came out, Jordan King posted a time of 1:47.053; just six hundredths of a second slower than Stevens.
“I’m pretty pleased with that. Disappointed I didn’t get pole, but there was nothing in it,” said the Warwick based driver.
“The conditions are colder and windier than yesterday, so it was hard to get your mind into mastering the different parts of the track and the new conditions. I’m happy with second though and there’s more in the car, so we’re confident for tomorrow.”
Elsewhere, it was a challenging session for Josh Hill who lines up thirteenth out of fourteen cars. The young driver who was full of confidence after testing here yesterday, suffered fuel pressure issues on his out lap and lost almost eight minutes returning to the pits.
“That couldn’t have gone any worse than it did,” said a frustrated Hill. “I got one quick lap in before a red flag four minutes before the end; then I got baulked on my flying lap after the red flag so didn’t complete it.”
Finally, popular Australia driver, Mitchell Gilbert (Fortec Motorsport) will not take part in either race this weekend after coming down with an illness on Thursday night.
Round eleven of the Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship begins tomorrow at 09:45 and round twelve begins at 16:10. Race two can be viewed live on ITV4 and ITV4 HD.
Round eleven top ten qualifying times
1. Will Stevens Fortec Competition 1:46.990
2. Jordan King Manor Competition 1:47.053 (G)
3. Alex Lynn Fortec Motorsport 1:47.057
4. Tio Ellinas Atech Reid GP 1:47.176
5. Daniel Cammish Mark Burdett Motorsport 1:47.417
6. Jack Hawksworth Atech Reid GP 1:47.470
7. Oscar King Atech Reid GP 1:47:488 (G)
8. Oliver Rowland Fortec Motorsport 1:47.537 (G)
9. Felix Serralies Fortec Competition 1:48.103
10. Alice Powell Manor Competition 1:48.212 (G)