Atech Reid GP continued its successful run in the 2011 Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship at Thruxton, with Tio Ellinas picking up his fifth and six podium finishes of the season as he continues to lead the drivers' championship. The weekend also marked the first appearance in an Atech car for Dan Wells, the 19 year old moving to the team after appearing in the first two meetings for Antel Motorsport.
Race one saw Ellinas starting on row two, with a strong start seeing the Cypriot move into second place at the Complex, a position he held till the end of the race. Wells got a great start, moving up to fifth at one point, before a spin on lap two saw him drop down the field, eventually working his way back to fourteenth. The teams final racer Oscar King was hampered through the race will a poor handling car, due to damage caused with an off on the final lap of qualifying two, finishing ninth.
Commenting on race one, Tio said: “I'm pretty happy with second, I made a good start and I was much faster than Lynn and King off the line so I managed to get past King at the Complex. After that I tried to keep a good distance from third and keep in touch with the leader. Tomorrow will be tougher, from seventh, but I think a podium should be possible.”
Dan said: “I had a fantastic start, probably the best I've ever had, and got past Rowland around the outside at Noble. But then I carried too much speed into Goodwood and did a full 360 degree spin which dropped me right down the order. After that it was just a case of clawing my way back up, but over the course of the race I had a situation I've never had to deal with before, the tyres going away in the race, and having to adapt my driving style accordingly, with the lower grip levels. Have to say it was fun though!”
Oscar said: “It was very disappointing to be starting so far down the grid as we'd had great pace in second qualifying, probably quick enough for P2, until I went off at the Complex, badly damaging the car. The team did a great job to get it back out for the race in time, but the car didn't feel quite right from the green flag lap to be honest.”
Race two saw Ellinas make a good start, moving into fifth on lap one, before a strong drive up the field saw him into second by lap six, the place he held to the end to take his sixth consecutive podium. King had his best drive of the season so far, getting up to fifth at one stage, before being bundled over the kerbs, damaging his cars floor. He eventually nursed the car home to ninth, one place behind Wells, who enjoyed another strong drive on his debut weekend with the team.
Reflecting on race two, Ellinas commented: “I'm very happy to have got second, after our qualifying problems I certainly didn't expect to win but second is good for the championship. I didn't make the best of starts but managed to avoid the collision on lap one to gain two places. Then I just did my best to try and close down the gap, passing Oliver Rowland for third and then Jordan King when he outbraked himself to move into second. I'm pleased to be leading the championship and very much looking forward to Oulton Park.”
King added: “Overall I'm pretty happy really, I had a good start and things were going really well. I was holding my own and got up to fifth place battling with Gilbert and Rowland. We came into the chicane on lap seven and I was bundled over the kerbs, which damaged the rear floor. The car was very unpredictable after that with a lot of oversteer. Otherwise though, I was pleased with my start and my pace up to that point so I'm looking forward to the next rounds.”
Wells concluded: “It was quite a good day, not such a good start as yesterday but I managed to avoid the collision at the Complex on lap one. I was well positioned to pass Mitch Gilbert and Oliver Millroy but was forced into the gravel so lost the chance to take those places. After that it was pretty close, running in a five-car train, but I simply ran out of laps. I learnt from yesterday's race how to change my driving style with the tyre degradation so as not to lose too much time and was running consistently just off the leaders' pace. All round a pretty good debut weekend with Atech Reid and I'm pleased with the whole team.”