Wet conditions made for great racing © Jakob Ebrey
Fortec drivers dominated proceedings in the Protyre Formula Renault Finals Series at a wet and wonderful Snetterton today. In qualifying it was Josh Hill who stole pole position for both of the days races, but Oliver Rowland would take both of the wins. In the BARC Formula Renault class, it was MGR Motorsport’s James Fletcher who took both pole positions, but Fortec’s Archie Hamilton who would come away with two victories.
Heavy rain meant that all teams were on wet tyres for qualifying, and it was a tight battle between Hill, Jordan King (Manor Competition) and Rowland fighting for the front row, each of them setting the benchmark at several points during the session. Daniil Kvyat (Koiranen Bros Motorsport) was early on the pace but then pitted halfway through the session, but wouldn’t get a chance to improve after the session finished under yellow flags when provisional pole man, Hill, had a accident at Richies.
In the BARC class, carrying on from top form in testing was MGR Motorsport’s Fletcher, stealing pole from Hamilton (Fortec Motorsport) by just under three tenths.
Elsewhere there were some standout performances by drivers new to Formula Renault; Indian driver, Shehaan Engineer (Fortec Motorsport) in his first ever race meeting in the Formula Renault 2.0 machinery took eight place, but was demoted to tenth when his fastest time was deleted due to a yellow flag infringement.
Similarly, Hector Hurst put his Manor Competition car on the fourth row and Geoff Uhrhane (Atech Reid GP) who competed in just one round of the CERTINA Formula Renault 2.0 UK championship, took a solid ninth place. After over two days of testing on the Snetterton circuit, much of which was dogged by red flag incidents, today there was not a single interruption by a red flag.
The first race of the day got underway in near monsoon conditions. With visibility at a minimum and the subsequent spray not proving to be a deterrent for any of the drivers, as the field of 30 cars flashed down the Senna Straight and into Richies without issue.
For both pole position men, Hill and Fletcher, the early part of the race would not afford much joy. Before the race had actually begun, Fletcher spun off during the warm-up lap and broke a wishbone, and for Hill, by the third lap, now down in third place after Rowland and Kvyat got ahead, a spin at Murrays would see the youngster drop to ninth.
With Rowland and Kvyat out in front, Hill’s fellow front starter, King, had also hit trouble after a spin at Agostini which dropped the Warwick born Manor driver to twelfth.
Koiranen Motorsport’s John Bryant-Meisner had an off at Palmer, striking the barriers struck which prematurely ended his race; team-mate Kvyat was desperately trying to reel-in the charging Rowland. Puerto Rican Felix Serralles (Fortec Competition) inherited third place from Hill and King’s earlier spin and would hold the position until the flag.
Dan Wells (Atech Reid Competition) had a trouble free race and came home fourth, ahead of Serralies’ team-mate Thomas Jager and Wells’ team-mate Geoff Urhane. Mark Burdett Motorsport’s Josh Webster was an impressive seventh.
As Kvyat began to close on Rowland, front row starter, King dropped further down the order with another off track excursion leaving him fighting back up theorder from seventeenth.
Kvyat gave Rowland plenty to think about on his Snetterton debut © Jakob Ebrey
On lap eight, with five laps to go, Rowland led Kvyat by just under two seconds; another of the Red Bull Junior stable, Stefan Wackerbauer (Koiranen Motorsport) seemingly at home in the hostile conditions moved from fourteenth on the grid to eight and spent the latter part of the race fending off Hill, who was eager to recoup points lost from his earlier spin.
Further down the field, Dutchman Van de Laar and Pole Krzeminski were battling an extremely close fight for 20th position, with the Dutchman clinching the position at the line by 0.28s.
Rowland took the win after a crucial fastest lap late in the race helped maintain the gap between he and the charging Russian, Kvyat. Rowland took the flag with just 1.2 seconds separated the pair, team-mate Serralles a further five seconds adrift.
In the BARC class, Victor Jiminez (Hillspeed) had seized the early initiative after pole-sitter Fletcher’s off. Fletcher got back to the pits after the warm-up lap off and spent the majority of the race in the pitlane as his Hillspeed team repaired damage; he would later complete five laps.
However, Spaniard Jiminez wouldn’t have it all his own way, a spin on the penultimate lap handed victory to Fortec’s Hamilton, who had been a close second for the entire race. Jiminez rejoined and took second, thanks to the large gap he and Hamilton had created over third placed Ivan Taranov (Antel Motorsport).
Despite marginally drier conditions for the day’s second race, all cars took to the grid on wet tyres. Another clean start soon turned to yellow flags at the Montreal hairpin when Hill and Rowland came together. After a close battle into Richies, the Fortec pair were side by side into the right hander and pole-man Hill lost out whilst Rowland charged ahead.
After a brief safety car period to clear Hill’s stricken car, race began with Rowland out in front and Wells close behind; slightly further back, the midfield was lucky to escape a spinning Thomas Jager at the Bombhole on lap six.
While Rowland and Wells diced within three tenths of a second of each other for the majority of the race, Kvyat applied pressure to Serralies who was now third. Kvyat continuing his earlier race one form put in lap after lap of fast times, but Serralies had enough pace to keep ahead.
Elsewhere Polish driver Krzeminski (Mark Burdett Motorsport) had a strong start, going from a lowly eleventh row grid slot to twelfth place, however he would eventually finish fifteenth.
Building on his earlier performance, Krzeminski’s team-mate Webster, was now up to fifth from tenth, having hustled his way through the pack in the same way he did in race one.
Another driver making light work of those in front of him was Wackerbauer, now sixth from fourteenth on the grid.
Further down the order Hector Hurst had moved up to clinch a top ten finish, making it three Manor Competition cars in the top ten. Koiranen’s Hans Villemi finished eleventh from eighteenth, a performance that made his team extremely happy.
Towards the final few laps a train of cars followed Webster in fifth, with Wackerbauer, King, Dennis, McBride and Hurst all breathing down the rear of each other, defending their positions within the top ten.
At the front it was a tense, tight battle between Rowland and Wells, with Rowland not being given an opportunity to break away by more than six tenths from the determined Atech driver; the penultimate lap saw the gap down to just threetenths again as Wells pushed all the way to the flag.
In the BARC class, a podium finish for Fletcher was lost following an incidentwith Taranov; this left Fletcher with a right rear puncture and another premature end to his race. Heading the class was Hamilton who was chased hard by Jiminiez, the Spaniard not letting Hamilton extend his lead past a second at any one time.
Hamilton was utterly dominant in the BARC class © Jakob Ebrey
Eventually it was a repeat result of round one, with Hamilton taking the win from Jiminez and Taranov; notably Hamilton also set the fastest lap again to take a clean sweep of all points available to him.
Prizes for day one are as follows: Rowland as points leader of Day one (six tyres courtesy of Renault Sport and Michelin), Kvyat (four tyres) and Serralles (two tyres), while a further prize goes to Hill for outright pole (two tyres). In the BARC class, leading points scorer on Day 1, Hamilton, will receive one full set of fireproofs: balaclava, socks, pants and t-shirt, plus one pair racing gloves, all provided by partner Freem.
The Finals Series continues tomorrow at Snetterton with Rounds three and four of the six-race mini-championship.
What they said: Driver Name (Class, Team) result:
Oliver Rowland (FR2.0, Fortec Competition) Qualified 3/2, Double win: “I wasn’t fast enough in qualifying. Josh was a bit quicker but I made up for it in the races. Race one I got a good start and passed Josh [Hill] and Daniil [Kvyat] off the line and pulled away. In race 2 I was up alongside Josh and we went side-by-side into Montreal and touched. I don’t know if it damaged my car. I struggled a little to keep Dan [Wells] at bay for the rest of therace, he drove a really good race and it’s a well deserved P2 for him.”
Josh Hill (FR2.0, Fortec Motorsport) Double Pole, Two DNFs: “This morning was great, a double pole position you cant do any better. Race one I picked up a bit of damage somewhere which affected my times, and then around Corrum I hit standing water and aquaplaned off the track – as simple as that. I tried to find my way back from there and ended up finishing ninth. In race two Rowland outbrakedhimself at the first corner, and then I was leading. At the hairpin he lunged inside of me when I had the line and left me with no room.”
Daniil Kvyat (FR2.0, Koiranen Bros Motorsport) Qualified5/6, R1 2nd, R2 4th: “Qualifying was disappointing, the pace just wasn’t there. We didn’t choose the correct set up and coming into the box mid way through the session was probably the wrong decision. Starting on the third row for both races was hard to try and make up places. Race 1 wasgreat with a P2 finish but for race two the engine engaged defence mode as it was running at 105 degrees celsius and was too high. I lost several places off the start, but made them up during the race. The pace is definitely there, so we’re looking forward to tomorrow. I’m P2 in the points which is good but we have to start winning tomorrow, we want to go to Rockingham as points leader.”
Jordan King (FR2.0, Manor Motorsport) Qualified 2/4, R1 11th, R2 7th: “Qualifying was ok, and we went into Race 1 with good pace but on lap 3 I locked up at Montreal and rejoined in P9. The next lap I went off at Palmer and dropped back even further. It was tough but I fought back to 11th. Speed was good – we were 4th fastest overall, but a couple of small errors cost me. Race 2 I didn’t have a great start, I lost a couple of places but gained some on the outside of T1. Then someone stopped in front of me and so I lost the places again up the inside of me. At the hairpin I was hit from behind which damaged the rear floor. I was on Josh [Webster]tail the whole race but just couldn’t get past him. The speed is definitely there, I just need to get some better starts.”
Dan Wells (FR2.0, Atech Reid GP) Qualified 4/3, R1 4th, R2 2nd: on Race 2: “I felt quicker but I just couldn’t find the gap to overtake [Rowland]. It was a bit nip and tuck, the BARC cars caused a bit of havoc and I got caught up with one at T5 in the race. We will work hard again tomorrow to catch Oli [Rowland] some more. I’ve done some sim work on the iZone and PTRs but they don’t do wet on a sim, so really it’s only my 6th or so race out in the wet and it’s all learning. I hope to get quicker. The steering was seizing up a bit in race 1 due to some moisture. In quali we should’ve been P2 but I made two small mistakes. P4 and P3 weren’t too bad though.”
James Fletcher (BARC, MGR Motorsport) Double Pole, R1 DNC, R2 DNF: “Two poles in qualifying was great. The car was really good this morning. In race 1 I spun on the warm up and damaged the rear left. We came back out towards the end of the race, the car was still a bit off but it was driveable. Race two I was running up in third but got held up behind a 2.0 car hesitating its way into T1, Taranov was blocking but then I got past him. He lunged at me when I was already at the apex of Montreal. It’s a bit frustrating but thankfully no damage. Onwards for tomorrow now.”
Archie Hamilton (BARC, Fortec Motorsport) Qualified 2/2,Double Win: “We got P2 for both of the races in quali, I had bad traffic in the session but wasn’t too bothered. I didn’t want to push too hard knowing that we only had a short time between the session and the race and I didn’t want to damage the car. Race 1 [James] Fletcher didn’t start so I was in the lead but on the third lap I came off whilst leading. I caught up to Victor [Jiminez] and forced him into a mistake and then took the win. Race 2 I got [James] Fletcher off the line, we had a few 2.0 cars in between us and I just put my head down and got on with it, maintained the gap and got fastest lap. Tomorrow will hopefully be the same again but if it’s dry it will be a different story.”
Race 1 Qualifying (fastest time)
Formula Renault 2.0 Class – top ten qualifying:
1. 29 Josh Hill GBR Fortec Motorsport 1:59.188
2. 42 Jordan King GBR Manor Competition 1:59.624
3. 44 Oliver Rowland GBR Fortec Competition 1:59.794
4. 16 Dan Wells GBR Atech Reid GP 1:59.803
5. 2 Daniil Kvyat RUS Koiranen Bros Motorsport 1:59.908
6. 24 Felix Serralles PUR Fortec Competition 2:00.021
7. 34 Thomas Jaeger AUT Fortec Competition 2:00.452
8. 18 Hector Hurst GBR Manor Competition 2:00.536
9. 8 Geoff Uhrhane AUS Atech Reid GP 2:00.565
10. 10. 39 Shahaan Engineer IND Fortec Motorsport 2:00.681
Formula Renault BARC Class – top three qualifying:
1. 66 James Fletcher GBR MGR Motorsport 2:08.502
2. 26 Archie Hamilton GBR Fortec Motorsport 2:08.782
3. 25 Victor Jiminez ESP Hillspeed 2:09.710
Race 2 Qualifying (second fastest time)
Formula Renault 2.0 Class – top ten qualifying:
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. 10. Josh Webster GBR Mark Burdett Motorsport 2:00.879
Formula Renault BARC Class – top three qualifying:
1. 66 James Fletcher GBR MGR Motorsport 2:09.012
2. 26 Archie Hamilton GBR Fortec Motorsport 2:09.058
3. 25 Victor Jiminez ESP Hillspeed 2:11.009
Formula Renault 2.0 Class – Race One top ten results:
1. Oliver Rowland Fortec Competition 26:19.791 – 13 laps
2. Daniil Kvyat Koiranen Motorsport +1.298s
3. Felix Serralies Fortec Competition +6.126s
4. Dan Wells Atech Reid GP +14.556s
5. Thomas Jager Fortec Competition +20.989s
6. Geoff Uhrhane Atech Reid GP +21.830s
7. Josh Webster MarkBurdett Motorsport +23.759s
8. Stefan Wackerbauer Koiranen Motorsport +25.046s
9. Josh Hill Fortec Motorsports +25.476s
10. Nick McBride Manor Competition+30.440s
Formula Renault BARC Class – Race One top three results:
1. Archie Hamilton Fortec Motorsports 26:47.609 – 12 laps
2. Victor Jiminez Hillspeed +1.085s
3. Ivan Taranov Antel Motorsport +21.674s
Formula Renault 2.0 Class – Race Two top ten results:
1. Oliver Rowland Fortec Competition 26:45.577 – 12 laps
2. Dan Wells Atech Reid GP +0.312s
3. Felix Serralies Fortec Competition +0.957s
4. Daniil Kvyat Koiranen Motorsport +1.558s
5. Josh Webster MarkBurdett Motorsport +13.461s
6. Stefan Wackerbauer Koiranen Motorsport +13.709s
7. Jordan King ManorCompetition +14.100s
8. Jake Dennis Fortec Motorsports +15.641s
9. Nick McBride Manor Competition +15.772s
10. Hector Hurst Manor Competition +16.441s
Formula Renault BARC Class – Race Two top five results:
1. Archie Hamilton Fortec Motorsports 28:05.901 – 12 laps
2. Victor Jiminez Hillspeed +0.920s
3. Ivan Taranov Antel Motorsport +27.230s
Championship Points After Race Two:
Formula Renault 2.0 Class:
Rowland 66, Kvyat 52, Serralles 50, Wells 50, Webster 36, Wackerbauer 32, King 26, McBride 23, Jager 20, Uhrhane 18.
Formula Renault BARC Class:
Hamilton 68, Jiminez 56, Taranov 50, Walkinshaw 44, Malhotra 40, Kibbler 36, Fletcher 0.