Fortec Motorsports’ Oliver Rowland took his maiden victory today in round fifteen of the CERTINA Formula Renault 2.0 UK championship at the Rockingham Motor Speedway. Rowland was a class apart, taking a dominant lights to flag victory, having broken the challenge of his team-mate Mitchell Gilbert earlier in the race.
Pole-sitter Rowland was quick throughout the weekend and delivered a crushing win by over ten seconds from Gilbert, keeping his composure through an early safety car restart caused by Atech Reid GP driver, Jack Hawksworth’s move on Josh Hill (Manor Competition); both would retire immediately from the incident.
“To win this race is absolutely mega,” said Rowland. “I struggled off the line and it looked like Gilbert had got in front, luckily I managed to fight back on the inside and get back into first on the second corner. From then on it was just about pushing as hard as I could, which worked perfectly and enabled me to ease off and save my tyres for the second race. It was unbelievable.”
Gilbert made a quick getaway off the line, but after providing an early challenge to Rowland, he settled back and kept a pacey Tio Ellinas (Atech Reid GP) at bay throughout the remaining laps.
“I thought that I could take the lead at the start as I got off the line brilliantly,” said Gilbert. “I guess that I didn’t close enough and unfortunately that allowed Rowland to go back through on the inside. As the race went on I struggled for pace and it soon became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to catch him. I’m happy to get second but I think in the next race we need to push harder to be a bit faster.”
Championship contender, Ellinas was fast throughout the race, but couldn’t find a way past Gilbert’s Fortec. Ellinas’ third place was a good result and see’s the Cypriot driver edge closer to championship leader, Alex Lynn (Fortec Motorsport).
“I made a good start at the beginning,” explained Ellinas. “It got a little lively going into turn one but we got out of it ok in P3, from then on it was all about chasing down Gilbert, but he hit his braking points very well.
“I’m pleased to finish third as we have gained some good points over Lynn, I’m really looking forward to this afternoon.”
Starting from the back row of the grid after a mistake in qualifying, Lynn made short work of moving up through the field. By lap two, Lynn was up to eighth and chasing debutant, Alex Walker, who eventually gave way at the infamous Tarzan hairpin.
Lynn took his time getting past Dan Cammish (Mark Burdett Motorsport), but a classy move up the inside into turn two saw Lynn re-ignite his on-track battle with Manor Competition’s Jordan King.
After two laps of pressure from Lynn, King spun on the exit of turn six while in fifth place and eventually re-joined last. However, King wouldn’t be at the back of the field for long, on exactly the same corner one lap later, it was the hard-charging Lynn, now chasing Dan Wells (Atech Reid GP) for fourth that would spin in an identical fashion and prop up the back of the field.
“Well that was a really good race, until I had a spin with about six laps to go,” said a frustrated Lynn. “I’m slightly disappointed that it finished the way that it did as I got up to fifth and we were very fast. We’re on pole for the next race and I’m confident we can have a good one.”
Hampshire teenager, Wells, had the best result of his season, resisting the pressure from Lynn and a late charge from Cammish.
Round 16 of the CERTINA Formula Renault 2.0 UK championship from Rockingham is live on ITV4 and ITV4 HD from 16:00 today. Live text commentary of the race is available on Twitter.
Round fifteen top ten results:
1. Oliver Rowland Fortec Motorsports 22:34.391 17 laps G
2. Mitchell Gilbert Fortec Motorsports +10.039 G
3. Tio Ellinas Atech Reid GP+10.524
4. Dan Wells Atech Reid GP +12.444
5. Dan Cammish Mark Burdett Motorsport+12.563
6. Alex Walker Fortec Competition +13.513 G
7. Alice Powell Manor Competition +15.746 G
8. Oscar King Atech Reid GP +18.306 G
9. Jordan King Manor Competition +18.957 G
10. Alex Lynn Fortec Motorsports +23.430