Oliver Rowland will start tomorrow’s rounds seventeen and eighteen of the CERTINA Formula Renault 2.0 UK championship at Brand Hatch from the front of the grid, having edged out Fortec team-mate Alex Lynn during two fascinating qualifying sessions for the penultimate event of the season.
Sunshine drenched the Kent circuit and provided perfect conditions for qualifying. Graduate Cup leader, Rowland, who took his maiden win last time out at Rockingham, emerged with the quickest times in both sessions; a lap of 1:22.381 in the first, and 1:22.515 in the second, enough to secure his position at the front of the field for tomorrows races.
Multiple Kart champion, Rowland fended off the challenge from team-mate Lynn, with two storming last minute laps to edge ahead and take pole by two tenths in both sessions.
“I’m delighted,” said pole-man Rowland. “Every three laps we went faster, I think that I got one lap deleted however because I went off at Graham Hill bend, by accident. The car was mega and I was right on the limit again. I’m very happy to end the day with two poles.”
Lynn would be Rowland’s closest challenger, having looked set to take provisional pole for both races until his team-mate’s efforts would relegate him to second place. However, Lynn’s efforts were more than enough to give him track position ahead of championship rival, Tio Ellinas (Atech Reid GP).
“Q2 was a fairly good session for us,” said Lynn. “I think that we were fast, so it’s great to get another second position ahead of Tio again, we just need to see what we can do tomorrow now.”
Ellinas would be left to settle for a pair of third place starts this weekend, the Cypriot unable to better the times set by the front running Fortec-prepared machines.
“We made some changes in between sessions and the car felt very good,” explained Ellinas. “Unfortunately, towards the end we started to lose some speed and the other guys just managed to pip me.
“We’ve made some positive improvements since yesterday, but so have Fortec. However it won’t stop me from trying to fight them tomorrow in the races.”
Fourth quickest for both rounds was Jordan King, just over half a second away from Rowland’s pole times, but still the highest qualifier from Manor Competition. Team-mates Josh Hill and Alice Powell both struggled in qualifying, Hill having his first session curtailed after a rear wing issues prevented him from taking any further part.
Outside the top-four, Dan Wells was fifth fastest, again qualifying well after a season of mixed fortunes that has seen the Atech Reid GP driver often residing further down the field. The top-six was completed by Mark Burdett Motorsport’s Daniel Cammish, who regularly troubled the Fortec and Atech Reid GP drivers at the top of the timesheet.
Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 driver, Felix Serralies was quickest numerous times during the twenty minute qualifying session, but the Fortec Competition driver could only qualify seventh.
Showing the close nature of the championship, the top eight on the grid in the morning qualifying session were covered by just eight tenths of a second, and the top five in the afternoon.
Debutant, Geoff Uhrhane (Atech Reid GP) who is looking to familiarise himself with Formula Renault machinery ahead of competing in the forthcoming Formula Renault 2.0 UK Finals, could only qualify fourteenth for both races, just over two seconds off the pole position times of Rowland.
“Today has been a bit of a struggle for me, said Uhrhane. “I’ve made a big step up from Formula Ford and this is my first time racing the car this weekend. I’m getting better and better with every lap that I drive in the car, and my confidence is improving. Hopefully we can step it up to the next level as the weekend goes on.”
Tomorrow’s first race will be at 10:00am, replayed on ITV4 and ITV4HD later in the day, and the second race will be live at 15:35 on the same channels. Live text commentary of both races will be available via Twitter.
Round seventeen qualifying times
1. Oliver Rowland Fortec Motorsports 1:22.381 G
2. Alex Lynn Fortec Motorsports 1:22.580
3. Tio Ellinas Atech Reid GP 1:22.925
4. Jordan King Manor Competition 1:22.971 G
5. Dan Wells Atech Reid GP 1:23.109
6. Daniel Cammish Mark Burdett Motorsport 1:23.123
7. Felix Serralies Fortec Competition 1:23.196
8. Jack Hawksworth Mark Burdett Motorsport 1:23.236
9. Mitchell Gilbert Fortec Motorsports 1:23.600 G
10. Alex Walker Fortec Motorsports 1:23.623 G
11. Ed Jones Fortec Competition 1:23.918
12. Alice Powell Manor Competition 1:23.939 G
13. Josh Hill Manor Competition 1:24.002
14. Geoff Uhrhane Atech Reid GP 1:24.779
Round eighteen qualifying times
1. Oliver Rowland Fortec Motorsports 1:22.515 G
2. Alex Lynn Fortec Motorsports 1:22.779
3. Tio Ellinas Atech Reid GP 1:23.198
4. Jordan King Manor Competition 1:22.315 G
5. Dan Wells Atech Reid GP 1:23.465
6. Daniel Cammish Mark Burdett Motorsport 1:23.767
7. Felix Serralies Fortec Competition 1:23.895
8. Ed Jones Fortec Competition 1:24.202
9. Mitchell Gilbert Fortec Motorsports 1:24.209 G
10. Alice Powell Manor Competition 1:24.231 G
11. Josh Hill Manor Competition 1:24.251
12. Alex Walker Fortec Motorsports 1:24.284 G
13. Jack Hawksworth Mark Burdett Motorsport 1:24.340
14. Geoff Uhrhane Atech Reid GP 1:24.779