The opening round of the 2010 Formula Renault UK Championship went the way of Hungarian driver Tama's Pa'l Kiss and ATech GP, the rebranded Hitech Junior team.
The race saw the competitive debut for the brand new car, with the 20 strong field taking to the track following a day of wet weather, meaning the drivers faced the challenge of a damp track for the opening race of the season around the fast, flowing Thruxton airfield circuit.
Qualifying for the opening race saw Manor Competition's new signing, Twenty year old Scotsman Lewis Williamson set the sessions fastest time, a 1:14.736s to claim the first pole of the season on a drying track. Lining up alongside Williamson was the youngest driver in this seasons Championship, Sixteen year old Tom Blomqvist, son of rally legend Stig.
On the first lap going in to The Complex, Blomqvist tried to take the lead from Williamson but pushed too hard spinning off track, further back there was another spinner, this time Mark Burdett Motorsport's Fabio Gamberini who caused the first safety car period of the season.
After a two laps behind the safety car, Williamson tried to pull away from the chasing pack as he looked for his maiden win in the category. By lap eight, Hungarian Pa'l Kiss had caught up with the Scottish driver and was looking to pass for the lead at the Club chicane, which Williamson rebuffed. Williamson was unable to defend the position a lap later as Pa'l Kiss took the position and led his first ever Formula Renault UK Championship race.
Behind the lead battle, the race for the final step on the podium was continuing after Fortec Motorsport's debutant Ollie Millroy slipped back to fifth; the recovering Will Stevens and Harry Tincknell took third and fourth away Millroy. A couple of laps later, Williamson continued his slide down the field as Manor team mate Stevens took second away, while Tincknell was holding up the rest of the Formula Renault field, with Millroy looking to regain a podium position from the Devon youngster.
Up front, Pa'l Kiss was confidently pulling away from the pack, and looking for the damp patches on the track to keep the ATech GP's Formula Renault's tyres cool. Pa’l Kiss would take the chequered flag with great delight, with Stevens and Tincknell completing the podium. Tincknell secured third on the penultimate lap, passing Williamson at the Complex, and then holding off the Manor Competiton driver on the final lap, while Blomqvist completed an impressive recovery drive after taking the chequered flag in fifth, having ended the opening lap down in fifteenth place.
The graduate cup victory went the way of Alex Lynn. The Fortec Motorsport finished inside the top ten, taking the chequered flag ninth overall.
A delighted Pa'l Kiss said after the race: “I'm delighted with the win especially as it was a hard race and the track was very greasy, in fact I very nearly came off at one point. I had a good battle with Williamson but was able to get passed him and then settle down until the end of the race.”
|1||47||Tama’s Pa’l Kiss||Atech GP||25:03.179s|
|2||3||Will Stevens||Manor Competition||25:06.132s||2.953s|
|3||5||Harry Tincknell||CRS Racing||25:09.148s||5.953s|
|4||17||Lewis Williamson||Manor Competition||25:10.113s||6.934s|
|5||10||Tom Blomqvist||Fortec Motorsport||25:10.247s||7.068s|
|6||12||Nick Yelloly||Atech GP||25:10.597s||7.418s|
|7||27||Ollie Millroy||Fortec Motorsport||25:11.295s||8.116s|
|8||55||Robert Foster-Jones||CRS Racing||25:11.999s||8.820s|
|9||36||Alex Lynn||Fortec Motorsport||25:13.716s||10.537s|
|10||33||Marlon Stockinger||Atech GP||25:20.054s||16.875s|
|11||99||Chrissy Palmer||Fortec Motorsport||25:20.631s||17.452s|
|12||7||Thomas Hylkema||Manor Competition||25:35.583s||32.404s|
|13||15||Victor Correa||CRS Racing||25:36.549s||33.370s|
|14||22||Jessie Laine||Mark Burdett Motorsport||25:37.837s||34.658s|
|15||8||Joe Crook||Scorpio Motorsport||25:47.903s||44.724s|
|16||11||David McDonald||Team Firstair||25:35.353s||2 Laps|
|DNF||2||Michael Lyons||CRS Racing||14:11.946s||8 Laps|
|DNF||4||Jordan Oakes||Team Firstair||7:28.374s||5 Laps|
|DNF||1||Josh Mulholland||Manor Competition|
|DNF||21||Fabio Gamberini||Mark Burdett Motorsport|
Italics = Graduate Cup.
Tom Blomqvist took the fastest lap on lap seven, with a time of 1:15.542s.
Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography