Fortec’s Oliver Rowland finished where he left off at Snetterton, taking another win and a second place to secure himself the 2011 Protyre Formula Renault Finals Series title at Rockingham today. Team-mate Josh Hill won the second race after taking pole position for both races earlier in the day. In the BARC class, MGR Motorsport’s James Fletcher who walked away with a perfect day, double pole positions, fastest laps and two victories, but it was Hillspeed’s Victor Jiminez who secured the BARC Class Title.
Rain overnight and clearing fog meant qualifying would require a wet set-up for all teams. In the BARC class, James Fletcher (MGR Motorsport), Series points leader Archie Hamilton (Fortec Motorsport) and Victor Jiminez (Hillspeed) were neck and neck throughout, hotly contesting pole position. A slippery track took the toll on both Antel Motorsport cars leaving last weekend’s podium visitor Ivan Taranov without a time and on the back of the grid. As the session drew to a close it was young gun Fletcher who flew to the top of the timesheet by a massive 2.294 seconds over fast finishing Jiminez and Hamilton.
Next out were the 2.0 cars; with weather conditions changing rapidly, the field of 21 cars were all keen to get out early and set a time in case the weather turned.
Early pacesetters Daniil Kvyat (Koiranen Bros Motorsport) and outright points leader Oliver Rowland (Fortec Competition) circled in the one minute thirty mark before a final dash as the session closed saw Hill wrestle pole from Rowland by a slim 0.098s.
Another quick mover Thomas Jager (Fortec Competition) slotted in beside Kvyat to lock out the second row with a pacey final run, relegating second in the points, Dan Wells (Atech Reid GP), to the third row. Hill was the only man to beat the 1min 30sec barrier, and he did it twice to ensure he started both races from pole position.
On a wet and slippery track, it was team-mates Rowland and Hill vying for the lead into the infamous Deene hairpin; Rowland dived inside the son of the 1996 Formula 1 World Champion, who in turn outbraked himself, the move ending with the pair making contact and leaving a seemingly luckless Hill a spectator for the remainder of the race.
Red Bull backed Russian driver, Kvyat bypassed the fracas ahead and stole second place, Jager had a moment and dropped from a promising fourth to dead last. Chirag Malhotra (Antel Motorsport) was another casualty of the first lap, ending his race prematurely whilst jostling for position amongst the BARC runners at Tarzan.
For the remainder of the race it was all Kvyat could do to chase Rowland’s tail, the Racing Steps Foundation backed driver edging away to an eventual four second lead.
Without poleman Hill to challenge the leading pair, it was left to fellow Brit, Wells, to provide a threat. Having overcome a slow start off the line which saw him drop from fourth to ninth, Wells fought hard to make his way to third, ensuring and a third visit to the podium in as many races. Jager had worked his way back up to thirteenth after his early spin and had his work cut out for him with Shahaan Engineer (Fortec Motorsports) chasing down on him as the chequered flag fell.
Koiranen team mates John Bryant-Meisner and Hans Villemi carved their way through the field mastering the overtake from as far back as fifteenth and nineteenth on the grid. Bryant-Meisner made a last lap gasp move up the inside of Nick McBride (Manor Competition) to steal seventh place from the Australian, whilst team-mate Villemi just missed a top ten finish in eleventh.
Rowland’s victory was enough to ensure he was Champion with a race to go; the 2011 CERTINA Formula Renault 2.0 UK runner-up and Graduate Cup winner, getting a car title in his first year out of karts.
In the BARC class Fletcher was in a league of his own, dominating with a lights to flag win, fastest lap in class and almost a ten second gap over second placed Jiminez; Hamilton, cruised to third, improving his lead in the points.
New addition for the weekend, Steven Durrant (RPD Motorsports) had a tight tussle for P4 with Taranov, the Antel driver managing to keep the newcomer at bay by over four seconds at the flag.
With conditions much the same for the last round of the Series, all drivers opted for slick tyres in the hope of a drying track in the 25 minute finale.
After a sluggish start that saw him concede the lead to Rowland, Hill followed his fellow Fortec colleague into the opening set of corners.
As you expect in the last round of a championship, risky manouveres were aplenty as drivers sought to gain points and improve their place in the points standings.
An impressive concertina effect at the Deene hairpin left Kvyat, Ed Jones (Fortec Competition) and Geoff Uhrhane (Atech Reid GP) well back in the order and with chunks missing from their front wing setups. Unfortunately, Jake Dennis (Fortec Motorsport) and Krzminski were not so lucky, incidents leaving the pair out of the race and causing the first of what would be four safety car periods for the race.
The subsequent restart only lasted one lap, as Stefan Wackerbauer (Koiranen Bros Motorsport), charging up through field after starting from pit lane due to a clutch issue, collected the BARC car of Hamilton at Pif Paf.
Hamilton would not restart the race, and with Jiminez in a strong position in the class, all he could do was sit and ponder what might have been; Wackerbauer retired one lap later, becoming the sixth car to do so.
Continuing his exceptional form in the BARC class, Fletcher was holding twelfth outright on the road and the class lead; further back were Durrant and Jiminez, with Taranov not far behind. With Hamilton a spectator, Jiminez’s third place position would be more than enough to become the 2011 BARC class champion.
Elsewhere, Jager had kept his nose clean and had moved into a promising third, but ahead of him Rowland and Hill had broken away, that was until another safety car period saw the gap closed.
On the restart, Hill took Rowland into Deene, as the youngster made a rare mistake and locked up under braking. Try and he might, Rowland couldn’t find a way past Hill and that’s how the pair finished to the flag.
Hill ended on the best note possible, taking the only clean sweep of the Series for the 2.0 cars with a pole position, victory and fastest lap to his name in the final race.
Behind the leading pair, under two seconds covered Jager, an impressive Nick McBride and the ever-improving Webster. Wells was sixth, just ahead of Felix Serralles (Fortec Competition) who had a stunning drive, having started on the tenth row of the grid.
Frontrunner Kvyat, recovered from the first lap carnage to take tenth, just ahead of Hector Hurst (Manor Competition), who had kept himself out of trouble and gained five places during the race.
Fletcher continued his dominance in the BARC class, taking yet another victory, leaving him to rue the DNFs from a week ago at Snetterton, as the title fell to Jiminez. However, it wasn’t a straightforward end to the race for Hillspeed’s young Spanish driver.
A clash with Durrant towards the end of the race saw the pair spin, promoting Taranov into second and Sean Walkinshaw (Hillspeed) onto his first podium visit for the Series.
Fast calculations were made as the chequered flag fell and it became clear that Jiminez, who hadn’t won a race in the series, had in fact won the BARC title by a mere three points from Hamilton, underlining the fact that in the Finals Series, consistency is key.
Prizes for day three are as follows: Rowland as points leader of Day Three (six tyres courtesy of Renault Sport and Michelin), Wells (four tyres) and Kvyat (two tyres), while a further prize goes to Hill for outright pole (two tyres). In the BARC class, leading points scorer on Day 3, Fletcher, will receive one full set of fireproofs: balaclava, socks, pants and t-shirt, plus one pair racing gloves, all provided by partner Freem racewear.
Prizes for Formula Renault 2.0 Finals Series Champion, Oliver Rowland: 4 sets of Michelin tyres, one CERTINA watch, and of course, the Champion trophy.
Prizes for Formula Renault BARC class Champion, Victor Jiminez: 1 set Michelin tyres, one CERTINA watch, and one bespoke Freem Race Suit.
What they said: Driver Name (Class, Team) result:
Oliver Rowland (FR2.0, Fortec Competition) Qualified 2/2, R1 win, R2 2nd, overall Champion: “It’s been a great series, the depth of talent has been really strong. To come away from the series and say that a driver like Daniil [Kvyat] didn’t beat me is a great confidence boost. Over the Winter, I’m going to Iron out the small mistakes, like the one with Hill in race two today. The winter is going to be one where I concentrate on building this relationship up with my new engineer and work harder not to make those mistakes. A big thanks to Fortec, and to Racing Steps Foundation and my supporters, it’s been great and without them I wouldn’t be able to fight for titles like this.”
Victor Jiminez (BARC, Hillspeed) Qualified 2/2, R1 2nd, R2 4th, class Champion: “I’m very happy with the class championship win, it was very difficult to fight and keep the points I needed. The track this afternoon had very low grip on slick tyres, and when I went to pass Steve [Durrant] I missed the gap and that dropped me back to P4. In the end consistency got me there and I’m very happy and thankful to the team [Hillspeed].”
Thomas Jager (FR2.0, Fortec Competition) Qualified 4/4, R1 13th, R2 3rd: “Yesterday in the dry the speed wasn’t there, but Wednesday was wet and we were one of the quickest ones, so when we saw it was wet this morning, we went back to the set up from then and I knew we’d be quick. I made a few mistakes in this morning’s race, but held it together in the final race for a positive end and podium to finish the series. I only joined the team shortly before the Series, and I’ve never raced on either of the circuits we’ve been to, so it’s been great that Fortec has given me such a great car to work with and to finish with a podium here at Rockingham.”
Daniil Kvyat (FR2.0, Koiranen Bros Motorsport) Qualified 3/3, R1 2nd, R2 10th: “In Race 1 at the start my engine went into defense mode again [as in Snetterton] on the grid as it was overheating, and I had to push to get the places back and by lap two I had a good position. I tried to catch Rowland but couldn’t, I was at max but couldn’t get the pace out.”
Dan Wells (FR2.0, Atech Reid GP) Qualified 5/5, R1 3rd, R2 6th, Series Runner Up: “I can only be pleased with how the series has gone, ending as Runner Up when there are 32 cars can only be positive. It’s been fantastic working with the team, everyone’s worked so hard – the engineers, mechanics, driver coach, and it’s been a massive effort. We had strong pace all series long and the car has been super. We know we’ve got the pace so it would be great to come back and carry this into 2012.”
James Fletcher (BARC, MGR Motorsport) Double Pole, Double Win: “The first race was ideal conditions, minimal grip suits me well and I was glad that we got into some clear air so we could push with no cars in the way. The second race was tricky, with all the safety cars but we managed nicely and came away with the win. The Finals Series has been unbelievable, the team has been awesome and I couldn’t have done it without them. A special thanks to Kelvin Burt who is one of the best drivers I’ve ever known and I couldn’t have done it without him and extra special thanks to my parents, I wouldn’t be here without them. Hopefully we can be up with the pack in the main series next year.
Race 1 Qualifying (fastest time)
Formula Renault 2.0 Class – top ten qualifying:
1. 29 Josh Hill GBR Fortec Motorsports 1:29.735
2. 44 Oliver Rowland GBR Fortec Competition 1:30.039
3. 2 Daniil Kvyat RUS Koiranen Motorsport 1:30.342
4. 34 Thomas Jager AUT Fortec Competition 1:30.571
5. 16 Dan Wells GBR Atech Reid GP 1:30.666
6. 14 Ed Jones UAE Fortec Competition 1:30.875
7. 41 Jake Dennis GBR Fortec Motorsports 1:31.083
8. 17 Nick McBride AUS Manor Competition 1:31.173
9. 19 Dan de Zille GBR Fortec Motorsports 1:31.219
10. 21 Josh Webster GBR Mark Burdett Motorsport 1:31.223
Formula Renault BARC Class – top three qualifying:
1. 66 James Fletcher GBR MGR Motorsport 1:34.885
2. 25 Victor Jiminez ESP Hillspeed 1:37.179
3. 26 Archie Hamilton GBR Fortec Motorsport 1:39.717
Race 2 Qualifying (second fastest time)
Formula Renault 2.0 Class – top ten qualifying:
1. 29 Josh Hill GBR Fortec Motorsports 1:29.997
2. 44 Oliver Rowland GBR Fortec Competition 1:30.095
3. 2 Daniil Kvyat RUS Koiranen Motorsport 1:30.590
4. 34 Thomas Jager AUT Fortec Competition 1:30.664
5. 16 Dan Wells GBR Atech Reid GP 1:30.879
6. 14 Ed Jones UAE Fortec Competition 1:30.976
7. 21 Josh Webster GBR Mark Burdett Motorsport 1:31.285
8. 17 Nick McBride AUS Manor Competition 1:31.328
9. 19 Dan de Zille GBR Fortec Motorsports 1:31.361
10. 22 Tomasz Krzeminski POL Mark Burdett Motorsport 1:31.548
Formula Renault BARC Class – top three qualifying:
1. 66 James Fletcher GBR MGR Motorsport 1:36.201
2. 25 Victor Jiminez ESP Hillspeed 1:37.568
3. 26 Archie Hamilton GBR Fortec Motorsport 1:39.877
Formula Renault 2.0 Class – Race One top ten results:
1. Oliver Rowland Fortec Competition 26:17.744 – 16 laps
2. Daniil Kvyat Koiranen Motorsport +4.454s
3. Dan Wells Atech Reid GP +7.949s
4. Ed Jones Fortec Competition +9.388s
5. Jake Dennis Fortec Motorsports +10.804s
6. Dan de Zille Fortec Motorsports +12.330s
7. John Bryant-Meisner Koiranen Motorsport +14.053s
8. Nick McBride Manor Competition +15.661s
9. Josh Webster Mark Burdett Motorsport +22.017s
10. Hector Hurst Manor Competition +23.411s
Formula Renault BARC Class – Race One top three results:
- James Fletcher MGR Motorsport 27:28.494 – 16 laps
- Victor Jiminez Hillspeed +9.780
- Archie Hamilton Fortec Motorsport +1 lap
Formula Renault 2.0 Class – Race Two top ten results:
- Josh Hill Fortec Motorsports 25:34.167 – 17 laps
- Oliver Rowland Fortec Competition +0.953s
- Thomas Jager Fortec Competition +7.936s
- Nick McBride Manor Competition +8.706s
- Josh Webster Mark Burdett Motorsport +9.520s
- Dan Wells Atech Reid GP +10.138s
- Felix Serralles Fortec Competition +10.341s
- John Bryant-Meisner Koiranen Motorsport +11.145s
- Hector Hurst Manor Competition +18.348s
- Daniil Kvyat Koiranen Motorsport +18.776s
Formula Renault BARC Class – Race Two top three results:
- James Fletcher MGR Motorsport 26:10.629 – 17 laps
- Ivan Taranov Antel Motorsport +11.080s
- Sean Walkinshaw Hillspeed +20.703s
Final Championship Points:
Formula Renault 2.0 Class:
Rowland 190, Wells 133, Webster 118, Kvyat 111, Hill 87, Jager 79, McBride 79, Serralles 68, Bryant-Meisner 68, Villemi 63.
Formula Renault BARC Class:
Jiminez 156, Hamilton 153, Fletcher 132, Walkinshaw 131, Kibbler 106, Malhotra 100, Taranov 98, Durrant 22.
The 2011 Protyre Formula Renault 2.0 Finals Series was proudly brought to you by MMC Insurance Broking, CERTINA Swiss Watches, Protyre, Michelin, Renault Sport, and Freem race wear.