Dan Wells had a tough start to his 2011 CERTINA Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship season, but fought through to end the year with some positive results. The Checkered Flag caught up with Dan after the final rounds of the season at Silverstone to reflect on his topsy-turvy year.
Salisbury-based Wells started his maiden Formula Renault year with Daventry-based Antel Motorsport. The partnership was not successful however and after a variety of troubles and poor on track results, Wells decided the best move was to switch team to Atech Reid GP prior to the third meeting of the year at Thruxton.
Commenting on the start of the season, Wells commented: “Though I never once doubted my talent, it did create financing problems which I had to work hard to overcome. I had to dig deep to keep focused but learned valuable lessons both on and off the track. The move to Atech Reid GP was fantastic. I cannot put into words how much of an improvement it was to be honest.
“I have had great support from the team all year, and I would like to say a big thank you to my race engineer Stuart, chief engineer Roel, my driver coach Kelvin Burt, my mechanic Sara, my team manager Chris and of course Anthony and David who have given me the opportunity.”
After a series of promising meetings, the 19 year old burst to the front at Rockingham, with a seasons best performance in qualifying, taking fourth on the grid, before converting this to a seasons best fourth place finish. He followed this up with another strong weekend at Brands Hatch, qualifying fifth in both races, before looking set for a maiden podium finish in race two, before a slight mistake dropped him to fourth on the penultimate lap.
Wells commented: “Everything just came together on the Saturday morning at Rockingham . It was a very strong race too, and it has given us optimism for the future. Brands Hatch was also a very enjoyable weekend for all of us. We were strong in Friday practice on old rubber and managed to carry it through to the new tyre run on Saturday morning. We managed to get the car to my liking and I’ve really managed to exploit the strengths in the car.
“I was feeling sick all weekend so to be in a position of fighting for the podium was a feat in itself, and of course I was disappointed I couldn’t quite finish the job but I was encouraged by the pace we showed all weekend. It was another learning step and all these little things over a year serve to make you stronger. It’s now how I put what I’ve learned into practice for the future.”
Despite a tough season, Wells ends the year in positive mood with how he's handled the problems and happy with the pace and potential he's shown. The Wiltshire-based racer now heads into the Formula Renault Finals Series hoping to impress before getting a budget together for 2012.
Wells concluded: “Given the difficult year I’ve had off track I’m pleased with how I’ve handled it all. I’ve got a good team working with me now and I think we will reap the benefits of it soon. My job is to fight for the winter championship and work my hardest to find a way to be able to race next year. I'm looking forward to getting back in the car.”