Hector Hurst endured a disappointing weekend in Rounds Three and Four of the 2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship at Brands Hatch. After two frustrating qualifying performances, the Scorpio Motorsport driver suffered a start line incident in race one, forcing him into retirement, before recovering for a twelfth place finish in race two.
After a solid start to the season at the opening rounds at Donington Park, where he took a superb fifth place on his car racing debut, Hector headed to Kent hoping to challenge at the front and showcase his championship credentials. The 18 year old was in a confident mood, after proving quick around the circuit during pre-season testing, and the weekend started well in Friday testing.
Hector said: “Friday was okay, we were pretty quick and on the pace. Not quite as quick as we were expecting, but still good enough to challenge at the front.”
Hurst, headed into qualifying knowing that with Brands Hatch being renowned as a circuit to be very difficult to overtake around in Formula Renault's, a strong performance was vital if he was to challenge in the two races.
Hurst commented: “Qualifying in general was quite surprising. We seemed to be doing the same times we did in practice and everyone else seemed to go about two to three tenths quicker, so we ended up in ninth and tenth, which was below what we expected.”
Race one saw Hector hoping to make amends for qualifying with a strong drive through the field, however the race proved to be a disaster for the driver from Lymington, Hampshire. A stall on the start line left him stranded in his grid place, with the unfortunate Macaulay Walsh running into the back of him. Despite getting going again, damage to his rear forced him to pit at the end of lap and retire.
A disappointed Hurst reflected: “Race one was probably the definition of the worst race you could ever have. Made a terrible start, stalled, and the bloke behind didn't see so hit me. DNF on the spot.
“I think it looked worse than it was. It didn't take any corners off, damaged a bit of suspension and the rear wing, but that was pretty much it to be honest, so could have been a lot worse on the damage front.”
Race two also proved to be frustrating for Hector. Starting tenth, another poor start saw him drop a few places on the opening lap. Once settled, Hector began posting some very impressive laps times as he caught onto the back of the rivals ahead. He became one of the few drivers in the race to make overtaking moves, including a great pass on Walsh at Surtees, described by many as the most difficult part of the circuit to overtake at.
He eventually worked his way to a twelfth place finish and proved his front running credentials by ending as the third fastest driver on circuit in the race. He commented: “After my mistake at the first start, and it appears starts are my weakness, I was too conservative and lost two, three places off the line, which is not what you want. I settled into a rhythm after that and started making some progress, setting fastest laps which I only lost on the last lap.
“Overtaking is pretty hard around the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit, especially as everyone's so close on lap times, so you have to try and pull off a few original moves. The one going into Surtees was an interesting one, which I managed to pull off.”
Hector, who has a place from September 2011 at Oxford Brookes studying Automotive Engineering, is now looking to put the weekend behind him and move onto Rounds Three and Four of the series at Oulton Park on Saturday 28th May, where he believes he can enjoy some success and move up from his current position of twelfth in the championship, concluding:
“I said I'd be disappointed if I didn't get wins here at Brands, and I didn't, so I'm disappointed. Heading to Oulton I hope to get on the podium and get some champagne.”
Photo Credits: Simon Paice