Will Stevens came away with victory in the Round Six of the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship at Brands Hatch, after torrential rain had earlier forced Round Five to be postponed. The Manor Competition driver grabbed the lead on the final lap and came home to win his second race of the season.
After severe downpours, the series organisers decided that track conditions left it too dangerous for the open wheeled racers to race in the morning, leaving Round Five postponed until later in the season. Fortunately for the drivers, the rain had eased up before their second race and with the track nearly fully dried out, they were able to race on slick tyres.
It was Manor Competition’s Lewis Williamson who lined up on the grid in pole position, joined on the front row by Fortec Motorsport’s Tom Blomqvist. Behind them, Stevens and championship leader Tama’s Pa’l Kiss made up row two. A mechanical problem in qualifying left title contender Harry Tincknell starting at the back of the grid in sixteenth place.
As the race began, it was Williamson who made the best start, leading the pack around the first lap. Behind, Stevens managed to sneak past Blomqvist into Surtees to get into second place, with Atech GP’s Nick Yelloly moving up into fourth place, having started sixth on the grid.
He wasn’t able to hold onto the position for long though, with a mistake on lap three at Surtees allowing Pa’l Kiss to pass him. Throughout the opening stages, the man on the move was Tincknell, who shot up seven places within the first four laps.
Up at the front, Williamson was making it look comfortable, setting consistently quick lap times and pulling out a small advantage over his team mate Stevens. Behind him, Pa’l Kiss was also looking fast in fourth, putting pressure on Blomqvist ahead for the final podium spot. After one move was blocked going into Paddock Hill Bend, the Hungarian tried his luck at the same spot on the next lap and succeeded, squeezing past the Swede into the final podium spot.
Pa’l Kiss didnt make it easy for himself though, as a couple of laps later, he managed to get all out of shape at Hawthorns, spinning the car a full 360 degrees. Remarkably though, the Atech GP driver didn’t lose too much time and was still able to hold onto his position, with Blomqvist unable to take advantage of the mistake.
As the drivers entered the final lap, the race was about to have a very dramatic conclusion. After looking cool, calm and collected out front for the whole race, Williamson looked to have the race in the bag, but a mistake at Stirling left him out of shape, losing him plenty of time. His team mate Stevens took full advantage, overtaking him and completely the final half of the lap to get the victory.
Pa’l Kiss followed him home in second, with Blomqvist rounding off the podium positions. Yelloly came a season best fourth, with Team Firstair’s David McDonald rounding off the top five. Behind, an impressive Tincknell came home in sixth, with Williamson finishing a lowly seventh, ruing his last lap mistake. Alex Lynn won the Graduate Cup, coming home eighth, with Jessie Lane and Victor Correa rounding off the top ten.
As they left Brands Hatch, Stevens’ win pulled him to within 5 points of Pa’l Kiss at the top of the Championship standings. Tincknell’s great recovery drive kept him in contention, with him a further 7 points behind Stevens. In the Graduate Cup, Lynn holds a healthy 36 point lead over Fabio Gamberini, the only other Graduate in the series. Oulton Park is the next stop, with Rounds Seven and Eight of the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship taking place on 5/6 June.
Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography