Hector Hurst left the latest rounds of the 2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship once again clutching the positives from a tough meeting, this time at his local circuit Thruxton. For the third meeting in a row, Scorpio Motorsport's Hurst was on the receiving end of contact from a rival, taking him out of the first race and leaving him on the back foot for the second.
After a frustrating weekend last time out at Croft, Hurst headed to the high-speed Hampshire circuit hopeful of a strong performance to get his season back on track. Pre-event testing didn't go entirely to plan, with the 19 year old strangely off the pace, but he really got his head down and raised his game in qualifying,
Hurst said: “In qualifying, my lap times were much improved from how we were in testing and we were very pleased with where we. The whole grid was extremely close apart from the pole-man who had a clear advantage this weekend, so it was quite strong to be eighth and sixth after how we'd been the day before.”
This put Hurst in confident mood heading into the day's first race, but it was barely three corners old when Hurst was suddenly hit in the side while braking for Campbell, the momentum from which sent him into another car, before he finally came to rest in the tyre wall.
A dejected Hurst commented: “Positives from the first race, I got a great start off the line, we've really cracked out procedure and was lining up to gain a few positions. Then someone behind put a wheel on the grass and took me out before turn three, so that was the end of the race, leaving one positive and a lot of points lost.”
This marked the third time this season that Hurst has been unceremoniously removed from a promising position in a race. Just like at Oulton Park and Croft, the latter of which saw him spun round on the final lap when he was set for a season's best fourth place, Hurst was the innocent party and had his race ruined by a rival's error.
The incident caused substantial damage to Hector's Formula Renault 2.0 machine, but a sensational effort by his Scorpio Motorsport team defied the odds and got Hurst back out on track for the second race, leaving him once again full of praise for his team.
Hurst commented: “There was so much damage to the car after the first race, I was hit from behind, which then resulted in more contact to the front and the side with the wall. The guys just did such an incredible job to get it turned around before the second race, with 100% the correct set up. Full marks to them, I didn't think I'd get out but they did a truly fantastic job. Scorpio Motorsport keeping up their great reputation.”
This gave Hurst a chance to make amends for the earlier disappointment with a strong run in the second encounter. With a mis-match of tyres on his car, the Bolde Estates Ltd-backed driver struggled for grip and pace early on, but once the tyres were bedded in, he showed some great speed and racecraft to fight back to an eighth place finish.
Hector recalled: “For the second race we had to put four different tyres on from two different batches, as the first set we had on were completely written off through safety, because they had holes and tears in them. For the first few laps they were off and were different at every corner I drove, so we did lose four positions which wasn't great. But then I had a quite exciting race, there was good driving from the drivers I around, for a change, and I had some really enjoyable scraps right through the race and came back in eighth with some very competitive lap times.”
Despite the positive finish in race two, it was once again a case of what might have been for Hurst, with another race meeting ending up with Hector not getting the results his performance deserved after contact from a rival.
Hurst commented: “It's stupid really, it's happened three times too many. There's not really any excuse, once you can say 'okay don't worry, it's a racing incident', but when it's happened for a third time, you just say 'come on guys, use your eyes a little bit.' It's that simple, but I won't get hung up on it, will always take the positives away and whenever we get the chance we show that we are very quick.”
Hector now has one more race meeting left of the season, with the finale taking place around the Silverstone National circuit. Looking ahead to the meeting, Hurst concluded: “Silverstone's going to be a great race meeting, it's going to be really good for the fans and the sponsors because of the categories racing there. It's a great track to drive, I really like it and it's where we've had our best pace on all of the circuits, so we should be able to use all of the speed we've had all season effectively.”