Fortec charger, Oliver Rowland took a comprehensive lights to flag victory today, leading home team-mate Alex Lynn and Atech Reid GP’s Tio Ellinas in round seventeen of the CERTINA Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship at a sun-drenched Brands Hatch circuit in Kent.
Making the most of his position at the front of the grid, Rowland dominated, leaving Lynn to defend hard from fellow title challenger Ellinas throughout the course of the opening laps.
Manor Competition’s Alice Powell and Josh Hill gained the most places on the first lap, both making up two places, overcoming Fortec duo Alex Walker and Ed Jones. Atech Reid GP’s Dan Wells dropped from fifth to seventh, with Daniel Cammish (Mark Burdett Motorsport) and Felix Serralies (Fortec Competition) making their way past the Salisbury-based driver.
Rowland began to pull out a healthy lead of over a second by the end of lap two; team-mate Lynn continued to defend from Ellinas, who was seemingly intent on finding a way past the championship leader. Lower down the order, Wells passed Serralies after the Puerto Rican driver ran slightly wide on the second lap.
With Lynn and Ellinas embroiled in a fascinating battle, Rowland set about extending his lead over the pair; three consecutive fastest laps saw him grow his lead to 1.8 seconds. Eventually, on his eleventh time around the 2.3-mile circuit, the Racing Steps Foundation backed driver would break James Calado’s two-year-old lap record with a 1:23.038.
Following a brief safety car period to recover the stricken car of Fortec’s Jones, who spun out at Paddock Hill bend when attacking team-mate Walker, Rowland got the jump on Lynn at the restart and remained in front to take his second win in three races.
“It almost felt easy today, the car was so perfect,” said a thrilled Rowland. “I was a little bit worried about the start because we have struggled a bit with them this year, but I got off the line well. Normally, I would just push for the first six or so laps, but I just kept on pushing as the car felt so good. Everything was perfect today.”
Championship leader Lynn followed Rowland home, with Ellinas just behind, nine tenths of a second separating the top three after the safety car period.
“We had a good race,” said Lynn. “I made a good start and got into second in the first corner in front of Tio, so that’s the main thing. Ollie drove a really good race and was really fast so it was just all about keeping Tio behind me and making sure that we got the championship points that are needed. As long as we finish second this afternoon, we should be alright.”
Despite trying a number of different approaches, Cypriot driver Ellinas couldn’t find a way past Lynn, who made his Fortec as wide as possible when defending the hard-charging Atech Reid GP driver. Thirty-nine points separate Ellinas and Lynn at the head of the field now, Lynn with 482 points, Ellinas with 443 points.
“I made a good start but unfortunately couldn’t get past, Alex,” said Ellinas. “I was trying quite frequently to find a way past but couldn’t make a move happen as I kept running out of road. For the next race we are starting in P3 and I am feeling very confident, if I can make some early moves on the first lap then a race win is possible.”
Rounding out the top four was Manor Competition’s Jordan King; unable to match the pace of the first three cars, King had a quiet race aside from the occasional attempt by the rapid Cammish. Just behind Cammish, fellow Mark Burdett Motorsport driver, Jack Hawksworth, back at the team again having switched from Atech Reid GP, rounded out the first six finishers.
Prior to the safety car period, Wells had spent the majority of the race in sixth place, however he dropped back five places to finish a lowly eleventh.
Elsewhere, Serralies, Powell, and Hill kept things interesting until the last lap. After a sluggish exit from Surtees, Powell found herself defending ninth place from fellow Manor driver, Hill.
A bold move from the son of the 1996 Formula 1 World Champion promoted him past Powell, and on the final lap, Hill launched another brave move, this time on Serralies at the Druids hairpin; the Puerto Rican driver ran wide into the awaiting gravel trap, dropping to twelfth, just ahead of newcomer Geoff Uhrhane (Atech Reid GP).
Today’s second CERTINA Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship race from Brands Hatch begins at 15:35, with live coverage on ITV4 and ITV4 HD.
Round seventeen top ten results
- Oliver Rowland Fortec Motorsports 23:15.145 G
- Alex Lynn Fortec Motorsports +0.458 secs
- Tio Ellinas Atech Reid GP +0.957 secs
- Jordan King Manor Competition +2.040 secs G
- Daniel Cammish Mark Burdett Motorsport +2.219 secs
- Jack Hawksworth Mark Burdett Motorsport +3.746 secs
- Mitchell Gilbert Fortec Motorsports +5.426 secs G
- Josh Hill Manor Competition +6.643 secs
- Alice Powell Manor Competition +7.281 secs G
- Alex Walker Fortec Motorsports +7.560 secs G
Round eighteen qualifying times
- Oliver Rowland Fortec Motorsports 1:22.515 G
- Alex Lynn Fortec Motorsports 1:22.779
- Tio Ellinas Atech Reid GP 1:23.198
- Jordan King Manor Competition 1:22.315 G
- Dan Wells Atech Reid GP 1:23.465
- Daniel Cammish Mark Burdett Motorsport 1:23.767
- Felix Serralies Fortec Competition 1:23.895
- Ed Jones Fortec Competition 1:24.202
- Mitchell Gilbert Fortec Motorsports 1:24.209 G
- Alice Powell Manor Competition 1:24.231 G
- Josh Hill Manor Competition 1:24.251
- Alex Walker Fortec Motorsports 1:24.284 G
- Jack Hawksworth Mark Burdett Motorsport 1:24.340
- Geoff Uhrhane Atech Reid GP 1:24.779