Alex Gill Doubles Up in Donington Qualfiying


Alex Gill (Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd)

Fortec Motorsport racer Alex Gill has taken pole position for rounds 4 and 5 of the Protyre Formula Renault Championship at Donington Park. The 16 year old grabbed the top spot for two of the three races at the East Midlands venue after battling the MGR Motorsport run Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi. Scorpio Motorsport’s Piers Hickin took the top spot for round six in a separate session.

Round 4’s grid was decided based on the fastest times from the early qualifying session where Gill and Fittipaldi were split by only 0.180 seconds. Fittipaldi hit first, taking the provisional top spot on his ninth lap, only to lose out to the blue and white Fortec machine two laps later when Gill put in a 1:08.410. Colin Noble Jr in the MGR run, family prepared #45 machine fell just outside the top quarter of a second for third.

Cliff Dempsey Racing enjoyed a better result in qualifying than during the first rounds of the championship at Rockingham. American racer TJ Fischer put his Dempsey run car into fourth place ahead of Dimitris Papanastasiou for Hillspeed. Tarun Reddy took sixth in the third MGR machine with Hickin in seventh. The second Dempsey machine of Patrick Dassault and final MGR entry of Matteo Ferrer rounded took eighth and ninth.

SWB Motorsport struggled during the session and line up their four drivers, including late sign-up Hayden Edmonds in a solid block. Edmonds took eleventh behind Finnish racer Atte Lehtonen. Series debutant Sam Oram-Jones bested the Jersey based Jack Butel in the battle of the penultimate spot. Butel had the dubious honour of lining up stone dead last and some 9.004 seconds off the pace.

The round 5 grid looks similar though this field was set by the second fastest times in the session. Gill and Fittipaldi again share the front row on a 1:08.530 and .760 respectively. Fischer and Reddy were more consistent in their lap times than Noble and fill the second row of the grid, the American in third with the Indian rising star in fourth. Noble found fifth ahead of Dassault with Hickin and Papanastasiou on row four. The top ten was rounded out by Atte Lehtonen and Matteo Ferrer, the SWB man finding consistency rather than outright pace.

The battle for places on the round six grid went to Hickin and Scorpio. Colin Noble not only improved to second but bested all three of his MGR Motorsport team mates. Ferrer took third ahead of Fittipaldi while the ever-present Alex Gill stuck his Fortec liveried nose between the #21 and the #22 of Tarun Reddy. If not for the interloping #7 we would have had 20, 21 and 22 all together with #23 in the form of Patrick Dassault lining up in seventh.

The numerical perfection ends there with Papanastasiou’s Hillspeed run machine taking eighth ahead of TJ Fischer in ninth and Atte Lehtonen as the better of the SWB drivers once more. Oram-Jones bettered Edmonds in the intra-team battle to take eleventh during his second competitive session as a car racer. Jack Butel again rounded out the grid.