Josh Hill claimed his maiden victory in the Protyre Formula Renault Finals Series today at Snetterton, with Fortec team-mate Oliver Rowland taking the honours in race two. In the BARC class, it was MGR Motorsport’s James Fletcher who got his first Final Series win in the first race and Archie Hamilton claimed his third win of the series in race two today.
Action this morning kicked off with qualifying; with yesterday’s wet weather gone, heavy winds struck the Norfolk circuit and a number of drivers struggled to get to grips with the blustery conditions.
It was Hill that again took pole for both races, building on yesterday’s pair of front-row starts. The Fortec driver left it late into the qualifying session to set the fastest time ahead of Jordan King (Manor Competition) and yesterday’s double round winner, Oliver Rowland (Fortec Competition). Sunday’s second race would see Rowland line up alongside Hill and Dan Wells (Atech Reid GP) narrowly beat King to third spot on the grid.
In the BARC class Archie Hamilton (Fortec Motorsport) continued his dominance from Saturday, taking pole position by almost one second from his nearest rival,James Fletcher (MGR Motorsport). The pair would swap positions for the second race. Double podium scorer, Victor Jiminez (Hillspeed) took third on the grid for both rounds, and Ivan Taranov (Antel Motorsport), Sean Walkinshaw (Hillspeed), Chirag Malhotra (Antel Motorsport) and Joe Kibbler (Hillspeed) rounded out the remainder of the class grid for both races.
Sunday’s first race got underway with Hill holding off a strong fight from the fast starting Rowland, who overtook King off the line into infamous first corner, Richies. Further down the field there was chaos on lap one; Daniel De Zille (Fortec Motorsport), Joao Sergio Camara (Van Amersfoort Racing) and Stefan Wackerbauer (Koiranen Bros Motorsport) tangled between the Hamilton and Oggies set of corners. Further round the circuit on lap one, Taranov ended his fight for a third straight BARC podium when he left the track at Coran and damaged his front wing, ending his race.
The incidents were enough to warrant four laps behind the safety car as marshals cleaned up the wreckage left by the three cars. On the restart, race leader Hill fended off a strong challenge from Rowland, who subsequently had King tucked behind his rear wing for a number of laps.
In the BARC class, having narrowly avoided the first lap carnage, Fletcher snatched the lead from pole sitter Hamilton, who was held up negotiating spinning cars. Leader, Fletcher stayed out in front, and began to pull away, creating a healthy cushion between himself and Hamilton. Jiminez fought his way around Walkinshaw, who was pushing for third in the class.
Rowland threw everything he had at Hill; lap after lap of fastest laps from the 2011 Graduate Cup Winner brought the pair closer together, but Hill had enough of a lead to keep Rowland behind him as they took the flag. Rowland finished just four-tenths off Hill with King a distant third. Mark Burdett Motorsport’s Josh Webster was a brilliant fourth, ahead of Koiranen Motorsport’s Daniil Kvyat and the pacey Brit, Wells.
Second row qualifier Jake Dennis (Fortec Motorsport) had a strong race until an exhaust manifold issue saw him retire at Montreal a few laps from home. Melville McKee (Interwetten Racing) made a number of overtaking manouveres on his run up the field from sixteenth to eight, just behind Atech Reid GPs Geoff Uhrhane, who finished half a second behind his more experienced team-mate, Wells.
Notable other drives included Shahaan Engineer (Fortec Motorsport) who overcame issues during qualifying to finish twelfth from a lowly grid position on row thirteen. Hans Villemi (Koiranen Motorsport) continued his improvement by moving up from eighteenth to eleventh in the twelve-lap race.
Hill’s victory saw the young British driver enjoy his first podium since a third place finish at Pembrey in last year’s Winter Series campaign. Fletcher, another maiden winner took the BARC class victory from Hamilton by three seconds and Jiminez was again on the third step.
With one victory under his belt, Hill began race two in a confident manner. Unfortunately, the pole man stalled, gifting Rowland an opportune lead and another moment to shine. Hill did eventually re-join, albeit much further down the grid.
Hill was lucky to avoid being collected by a fast starting Webster. Drama unfolded elsewhere as the racey Russian, Kvyat retired at the Hamilton corner with an electrical issue. Rowland couldn’t believe his luck and disappeared into the distance.
Behind the karting star was a train of Webster, King, Dennis and Serralies; the Puerto Rican driver having fired up from a tenth place starting position. Wackerbauer had to pit, a lose front wing causing him to drop well down the order afterstarting from seventh.
Three laps later, Serralies ran wide at Murrays and dropped back two places – Ed Jones (Fortec Competition) and Atech Reid GP’s Wells nipping past. Serralies had pressure from Hurst who in turn had a cosmopolitan string of talent nipping at his heels; Jager, Van de Laar and McKee.
There was no shortage of drama in the BARC class either. Fortec’s Hamilton led Taranov, Fletcher and Camera; Jiminez fought back from a slow start trying to avoid the stalled car of Hill on the grid. Fletcher would pass Taranov, but Hamilton was escaping at a rapid rate – seven seconds was his lead.
Laps later, Dennis was continuing to pressure King for third and closed the gap to within two tenths and Jones, who had shown a good turn of speed made a costly mistake which saw the youngster hit the barriers at Coram, ending his race whilst in sixth position.
Eventually, Dennis made a move King for third coming down the Senna Straight and into Richies. Try as he might, Dennis couldn’t shake off the Manor Competition driver, with King fighting for the place back around Agostini and Hamilton. The sensational duel ended when King went up the inside of Dennis, losing his front wing and giving Dennis a puncture, promoting Wells to third place, where hewould remain until the flag.
Rowland took the win, his third of the series and extended his lead from Wells in the points table. Webster’s second place rewarded a strong debut in the 2.0 machinery and Bryant-Meisner , aided in part by the incidents ahead of him,took the biggest scoop of places, starting fourteenth on the grid and finishing just off the podium in fourth.
Sensible drivers from Estonian driver Villemi, Jager, Van De Laar and Hurst rounded out the top eight. De Zille, another Formula Ford UK graduate was a positive ninth, and McKee did well to recover from a troubled weekend by finishing tenth. Krzeminski, Engineer and McBride all were within two seconds of the top ten at the end of the 25-minute race.
The BARC class ended with Hamilton taking a narrow 1.25 second win from Fletcher, who had pushed his rival hard until the end of the race, but it wasn’t enough to steal the win from the Fortec driver. The ever consistent Jiminez finished third, on the podium for the fourth consecutive race in the series.
Prizes for Day two will go to Rowland as top points scorer of day two (six tyres courtesy of Renault Sport and Michelin), Webster (four tyres) and Hill (twotyres), while a further prize goes to Hill for outright pole (two tyres). In the BARC class, top points scorer on day two, Fletcher, will receive one full seat of fireproofs: balaclava, socks, pants and tshirt, plus one pair racing gloves courtesy of partner Freem racewear.
The Protyre Formula Renault 2.0 Finals Series continues next Saturday 12 November at Rockingham, Northampton with the final two rounds of the Series. We thank our Series partners Michelin, Renault Sport, Protyre, MMC Insurance Broking, CERTINA and Freem racewear.
What they said: Driver Name (Class, Team) result:
Oliver Rowland (FR2.0, Fortec Competition) Qualified 3/2, R1 2nd, R3 Win: “It was good to end the day with a win and P2 this morning, especially on this track as it’s not my best circuit. I didn’t have any advantage and we didn’t have loads of outright pace. Hill was quicker than me this morning, and in quali I had some traffic – even though I had the fastest ‘ideal’ lap with all the sectors. I’m looking forward to Rockingham, it’s a strong track for me so the aim is to take two wins.”
Josh Hill (FR2.0, Fortec Motorsport) Double Pole, R1 Win, R2 14th: “During quali the wind at T3 [Palmer] was incredible, you couldn’t get the car to hit the apex. I did quite well, I had a 1:47.1 with traffic so I knew we were fast, we’ve found really good pace. The wind and tyres really affected the race, we had some heavy graining on the left rear after quali and switched it to the right rear for the race, so the grip on the right corners just wasn’t there, so it was a struggle but I held it together for the win. At the start of Race 2 I had no clutch, my foot was welded down but it was still moving so I had to brake. At the five second board I tried to shuffle my feet over to get a foot onto the throttle but when the red lights came on it stalled. Not ideal but I got fastest lap in the end, and we have plenty of positives to take away from this weekend.”
Josh Webster (FR2.0, Mark Burdett Motorsport) Qualified 5/5, R1 4th, R2 2nd: “In race two I just missed clipping Hill on the start grid, who stalled directly in front of me. It’s been a great weekend thanks to the team for getting the car better and better as the week went along. We started off lacking some pace but found it, and to get a second place is great, and now we’ll look to carry that over to Rockingham. This is only my first race weekend in the 2.0 car, so I’m lacking a bit of experience but enjoying it and getting to grips with the car, finding its limits.”
James Fletcher (BARC, MGR Motorsport) Qualified 2/2, R1 Win, 2nd: “My first win in Formula Renault after less than a handful of outings in the car, we’re very quick, I took the fastest lap and the car was much better than this morning. In quali we had a lot of understeer but we changed the set up for the race and fixed it. At the start of Race 1 I was squeezed by Taranov, but managed to skip the mess at Oggies to pass Hamilton who was held up. I got the space and went for it, which has made up for the bad day yesterday. Happy days!”
Archie Hamilton (BARC, Fortec Motorsport) Double Pole, R1 2nd, R2 Win: “In quali I did a couple of really good laps, it was difficult with the wind changing but managed still to get two laps in and get double pole. We were 1Ž2 second quicker than Friday testing, so that was great. In Race 2 we went really well, I go my head down and pulled a gap on Fletcher. Towards the end I wasbeing a bit more conservative and saw he [Fletcher] was closing the gap butnever got close enough to pressure. The car is really good and went well all weekend, a big thanks to the team. Looking to Rockingham I’m aiming for two wins, but at least to be consistent, which is the key to winning the Championship.”
Race 1 Qualifying (fastest time)
Formula Renault 2.0 Class – top ten qualifying times
1. Josh Hill GBR Fortec Motorsport 1:46.440
2. Jordan King GBR Manor Competition 1:46.586
3. Oliver Rowland GBR Fortec Competition 1:46.766
4. Jake Dennis GBR Fortec Motorsport 1:46.770
5. Josh Webster GBR Mark Burdett Motorsport 1:47.015
6. Dan Wells GBR Atech Reid GP 1:47.212
7. Geoff Uhrhane Atech Reid GP 1:47.419
8. Stefan Wackerbauer Koiranen Bros Motorsport 1:47.613
9. Nick McBride Manor Competition 1:47.624
10. Daniil Kvyat RUS Koiranen Bros Motorsport 1:47.791
Formula Renault BARC Class – top three qualifying times
1. Archie Hamilton GBR Fortec Motorsport 1:51.055
2. James Fletcher GBR MGR Motorsport 1:52.051
3. 25 Victor Jiminez ESP Hillspeed 1:52.322
Race 2 Qualifying (2nd fastest time)
Formula Renault 2.0 Class – top ten qualifying times
1. 29 Josh Hill GBR Fortec Motorsport 1:59.214
2. 44 Oliver Rowland GBR Fortec Competition 1:59.876
3. 16 Dan Wells GBR Atech Reid GP 2:00.033
4. 42 Jordan King GBR Manor Competition 2:00.047
5. 24 Felix Serralles PUR Fortec Competition 2:00.073
6. 2 Daniil Kvyat RUS Koiranen Bros Motorsport 2:00.137
7. 34 Thomas Jaeger AUT Fortec Competition 2:00.524
8. 8 Geoff Uhrhane AUS Atech Reid GP 2:00.598
9. 41 Jake Dennis GBR Fortec Motorsport 2:00.797
10. Josh Webster GBR Mark Burdett Motorsport 2:00.879
Formula Renault BARC Class – top three qualifying times
1. James Fletcher GBR MGR Motorsport 2:09.012
2. Archie Hamilton GBR Fortec Motorsport 2:09.058
3. Victor Jiminez ESP Hillspeed 2:11.009
Formula Renault 2.0 Class – race three top ten results
1. Josh Hill Fortec Motorsports 26:28.698 – 12 laps
2. Oliver Rowland Fortec Competition +0.344s
3. Jordan King ManorCompetition +2.940s
4. Josh Webster Mark Burdett Motorsport +6.132s
5. Daniil Kvyat Koiranen Motorsport +9.455s
6. Dan Wells Atech Reid GP +11.865s
7. Geoff Uhrhane Atech Reid GP +12.369s
8. Melville McKee Interwetten Racing +12.965s
9. Nick McBride Manor Competition +14.291s
10. Ed Jones Fortec Competition +18.708s
Formula Renault BARC Class – race three top three results:
1. James Fletcher MGR Motorsport 27:06.713 – 12 laps
2. Archie Hamilton Fortec Motorsports +3.268s
3. Victor Jiminez Hillspeed +13.455s
Formula Renault 2.0 Class – race four top ten results:
1. Oliver Rowland Fortec Competition 25:15.361 – 14 laps
2. Josh Webster Mark Burdett Motorsport +5.080s
3. Dan Wells Atech Reid GP +14.184s
4. John Bryant-Meisner Koiranen Motorsport +14.680s
5. Hans Villemi Koiranen Motorsport +15.465s
6. Thomas Jager Fortec Competition +15.796s
7. Dennis Van De Laar Van Amersfoot Racing +20.313s
8. Hector Hurst Manor Competiton +25.077s
9. Daniel De Zille Fortec Motorsports +26.360s
10. Melville McKee Interwetten Racing +27.823s
Formula Renault BARC Class – race four top three results:
1. Archie Hamilton Fortec Motorsports 26:25.772 – 14 laps
2. James Fletcher MGR Motorsport +1.257s
3. Victor Jiminez Hillspeed +39.481s
Championship Points After Race Four:
Formula Renault 2.0 Class
Rowland 128, Wells 90, Webster 86, Kvyat 72, Hill 53, King 51, Serralies, 50, Jaeger 46, McBride 43.
Formula Renault BARC Class
Hamilton 128, Jiminez 106, Walkinshaw, 88, Malhotra 80, Kibbler 72, Fletcher 64, Taranov, 50.