Championship leader, Alex Lynn (Fortec Motorsports) took his pole position tally to fourteen for the year today to seize an early initiative ahead of the final two rounds of the CERTINA Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship at Silverstone this weekend.
The Essex-based youngster was continually quickest during both qualifying sessions, finding just enough to edge out his rivals, and ensure he was in prime position for tomorrow’s all-important races, which could see Lynn take the 2011 CERTINA Formula Renault 2.0 UK drivers title. Lynn is now also in a strong position to surpass the championship’s race wins record of eleven, currently held by James Matthews.
“I’m pleased with the way that the session went,” said Lynn. “I think that the times are very close, all of the Fortec Motorsports cars have done a very good job today, there isn’t much in it at all. I’m absolutely delighted to have gained my fourteenth pole of the year.”
Atech Reid GP’s Tio Ellinas is Lynn’s sole rival for the 2011 championship title and the Cypriot will start both races from the third row, having qualified sixth in the morning and afternoon qualifying sessions. Ellinas can win the championship, but needs to significantly outscore Lynn; the current difference in points after the drop score calculation sees Lynn have a forty-point cushion over his challenger.
“We made some changes on the car for Q2 and it felt better from this morning,” explained Ellinas. “I was pushing hard but unfortunately the lap times just didn’t come for me in the session, so we will have to go back and look at the data to see how we can improve. I’m ready to go out and fight for the championship in both races and see what happens.”
Lynn had strong opposition from Mark Burdett Motorsport’s Daniel Cammish in the morning session. Cammish’s time of 53.800 around the 1.64 mile National circuit gives him his first front-row start in the championship, his best qualifying performance of the year. During the afternoon qualifying session, Cammish posted the fifth quickest time, which sees him alongside Ellinas for race two tomorrow.
“Q1 went very well for us,” said an upbeat Cammish. “I knew that we had the pace yesterday having finished P4, but we felt that there was still a bit of time to find in the car and also myself.
“It’s incredibly close here; the difference between having a really good day and a really bad day is so small. I’m 100 percent going to go for this win tomorrow. Alex is on pole, but he’s got a lot to lose and I have everything to gain from this.”
Fellow Fortec driver Mitchell Gilbert also provided Lynn with a challenge for pole position. Australian, Gilbert, was on the pace throughout the afternoon session and missed out on pole position by seven hundredths of a second.
“First of all I’m feeling very happy,” said Gilbert. “Its good to be back on the front row again, I think that it has been almost four rounds since I have been able to do that. The session went very well for me, but Alex just managed to pip me for pole at the end. Looking ahead to the race tomorrow, I’m going to give Alex everything that I’ve got, hopefully I can give him a run for his money.”
Earlier in the day Gilbert posted the fourth quickest time, sitting alongside in-form man of the moment, and team-mate to Gilbert, Oliver Rowland. Following three wins in four races, Rowland again took the challenge to Lynn and will start third for both of the final races tomorrow.
“I’m a little bit disappointed, especially with Alex and Mitchell in front of me,” said Rowland. “The tyres came in and it was just about pushing and improving on every lap for me. In the end I gave it all that I could, I struggled a little bit in turn one but seemed to be fine on the rest of the lap. I think that we will just have to see how it goes tomorrow as it is quite difficult to overtake round here.”
Fortec completed a dominant qualifying performance in the afternoon session when Felix Serralles took fourth, giving the Daventry team a 1-2-3-4 start to the final race of the season tomorrow.
Elsewhere, Manor Competition’s trio of drivers, Josh Hill, Jordan King and Alice Powell qualified seventh, eighth, and thirteen respectively for round nineteen. Hill was particularly happy with his performance as he seeks to end the season on a high.
“The session was relatively good for us compared to some of my recent qualifying results,” said Hill. “It was promising, but still wasn’t quite the result that we had hoped for. I’m definitely going to be aiming to improve further for Q2.”
Hill starts ninth for round twenty, with Jordan King ahead in eighth, and Alice Powell again starting from thirteenth.
“The session was quite disappointing for me,” said Jordan King. “The speed just wasn’t there for us this afternoon, I’m not too sure why but we will have to go back and work on that for the races tomorrow. I’m just going to go for it [in the races] and enjoy myself, hopefully I will be able to make up some places and come through the traffic.”
After a season best fourth place last time out at Brands Hatch, Atech Reid GP’s Dan Wells starts both of tomorrow’s twenty-two lap races from eleventh. Atech Reid GP team-mate Oscar King will start twelfth and tenth.
Qualifying for race two starts at 14:15. Rounds nineteen and twenty (Sunday 16th October) are both televised on ITV4 and ITV4 HD, with the second race broadcast live at 16:25.
Round nineteen qualifying top ten times
1. Alex Lynn Fortec Motorsports 53.485
2. Daniel Cammish Mark Burdett Motorsport 53.800
3. Oliver Rowland Fortec Motorsports 53.801 G
4. Mitchell Gilbert Fortec Motorsports 53.827 G
5. Jack Hawksworth Mark Burdett Motorsport 53.875
6. Tio Ellinas Atech Reid GP 53.945
7. Josh Hill Manor Competition 54.014
8. Jordan King Manor Competition 54.039
9. Felix Serralles Fortec Competition 54.057
10. Ed Jones Fortec Competition 54.131
Round twenty qualifying top ten times
1. Alex Lynn Fortec Motorsports 53.895
2. Mitchell Gilbert Fortec Motorsports 53.973 G
3. Oliver Rowland Fortec Motorsports 54.024 G
4. Felix Serralles Fortec Competition 54.111
5. Daniel Cammish Mark Burdett Motorsport 54.180
6. Tio Ellinas Atech Reid GP 54.184
7. Ed Jones Fortec Competition 54.258
8. Jordan King Manor Competition 54.452
9. Josh Hill Manor Competition 54.482
10. Oscar King Atech Reid GP 54.563