Josh Hill confirmed himself as the fastest driver in the Protyre Formula Renault UK Finals Series by securing a double pole position in qualifying at Rockingham, meaning the Fortec Motorsport driver has taken six podiums in six races in the end of season championship.
After traffic problems in qualifying at Snetterton last weekend, the series organisers decided to split up the FRUK and BARC specification cars into two separate twenty minutes sessions at Rockingham. First out were the BARC cars and with the track drying out every lap, the grid ended up really spread apart as some of the drivers struggled to adapt to the conditions.
MGR Motorsport's James Fletcher took a double pole position with a best time of 1 min 34.885 seconds; an incredible 2.294 seconds clear of his closest rival, Hillspeed's Victor Jiminez. Fortec's Archie Hamilton was third, over three seconds off pole, ahead of Renault BARC regular Steven Durrant. Sean Walkinshaw will line up fifth for both races, 11.7s off pole, ahead of Chirag Malhorta and Joe Kibbler, the duo swapping positions for race two. Ivan Taranov was unable to complete a lap for Antel Motorsport, leaving him at the back of the grid for both races.
The newer FRUK 2.0 cars took the damp track next and after some installation laps to get used to the conditions, the quick times starting coming in. Current Finals Series leader Oliver Rowland set the early pace, but was closely pursued by team-mates Hill and Thomas Jager.
The drivers' progress was halted when a red flag emerged after Eurocup runner Hans Villemi ended up in the Tarzan gravel trap. When the green flag came out, six minutes were left on the clock, drivers having just two or three laps left to improve their times.
Doing just that was Hill, the Fortec Motorsport driver going fastest with a 1min 29.735s lap, before setting the fastest second-best lap next time around to secure himself pole position for both of today's races. Rowland was unable to improve his times after the red flag, leaving him second on the grid for both races.
Third fastest for the first race was Korainen Motorsport's Daniil Kvyat, joined on row two by Fortec's Jager. A last gasp lap by Dan Wells put the Brit fifth for Atech Reid GP, ahead of Fortec duo Ed Jones and Jake Dennis. Fastest of the Manor Competition runners in eighth was Nick McBride, with Felix Serralles and Dan de Zille completing the top ten for Fortec.
Behind Hill and Rowland on the grid for race two will be Red Bull Junior Team racer Kvyat once again, ahead of Jager, Wells and Jones. Josh Webster improves from eleventh for race one to line up seventh for race two, with McBride on row four once again, while de Zille and Serralles will once again line up together on row five.
The top fifteen on the grid for Round Five of the Finals Series are:
Josh Hill, Oliver Rowland, Daniil Kvyat, Thomas Jager, Dan Wells, Ed Jones, Jake Dennis, Nick McBride, Felix Serralles, Dan de Zille, Josh Webster, Tomasz Kreminski, Hector Hurst, Geoff Uhrhane and Stefan Wackerbauer.
The top fifteen on the grid for Round Six of the Finals Series are:
Josh Hill, Oliver Rowland, Daniil Kvyat, Thomas Jager, Dan Wells, Ed Jones, Josh Webster, Nick McBride, Dan de Zille, Felix Serralles, Tomasz Kreminski, Jake Dennis, Geoff Uhrhane, John Bryant-Meisner, Hector Hurst.