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Blomqvist Shows Title Credentials With Silverstone Double

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Tom Blomqvist blew away the opposition at Silverstone in Rounds 13 and 14 of the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship to record his first ever wins in the series, in the process firmly placing himself in the hunt for the 2010 title. After a hard fought win in the first of the day’s races, the 16 year old enjoyed a more leisurely lights to flag win to double his tally.

Rain produced an exciting qualifying session, with Marlon Stockinger taking pole, after a gamble to run on slick tyres in the tricky conditions paid off, giving him his second pole position of the season. Joining him on the front row was newcomer to the series Luciano Bacheta, taking part in a one round deal for race winning outfit Team Firstair. Blomqvist started third, with team-mate Riki Christodoulou alongside him. Atech GP's Nick Yelloly and CRS Racing's Harry Tincknell made up row three, while title rivals Tama's Pa'l Kiss and Will Stevens lined up seventh and eleventh respectively.

As the lights went out, it was Stockinger who led into Copse for the first time, with Blomqvist getting the jump on Bacheta for second. Bacheta was to lose out on an action packed first lap, dropping to ninth by the end of the lap, with Yelloly working his way up the order to replace him in third, with Lewis Williamson close behind in fourth after starting eighth. Another driver to lose out was Christodoulou, a spin at Brooklands leaving him facing the oncoming traffic, with some cars unable to avoid him in time, leading to contact.

More contact took place further around the lap, with Williamson and Tincknell tangling at Woodcote, with Tincknell's car coming to rest on the pit straight. The debris and stricken cars on circuit made the introduction of the safety car inevitable. Before it was able to pick up the frontrunners though, the lead had changed, with Blomqvist getting past Stockinger on lap two.

As they ran behind the safety car, the order ran Blomqvist, Stockinger, Yelloly, Williamson, with CRS's Robert Foster-Jones avoiding the chaos to move into fifth. As they racing resumed, Blomqvist led away, while behind Yelloly moved up to second, passing team-mate Stockinger at Brooklands on lap seven.

Stockinger quickly dropped to fifth on the next lap, promoting Williamson to third, with Pa'l Kiss moving up into fourth. The Hungarian soon latched onto the back of the front three, creating a four car battle for the lead. Yelloly pushed Blomqvist hard at the front, the two regularly running side by side, but the Swede defended well to hold onto his lead. Yelloly also had to keep his eyes in his mirrors, with one move for the lead leaving him exposed to Williamson, the Manor Competition driver sliding past at Copse on lap 19. Yelloly quickly fought back at Brooklands, leading to contact between the two. Yelloly held his place, but Williamson dropped back to fourth behind Pa'l Kiss.

The fighting behind finally allowed Blomqvist to get away at the front and he drove home to take his first win in the series. Yelloly followed in second for his  second podium of the season, with Pa'l Kiss gaining vital championship points in third. Williamson finished fourth, with Stockinger fifth and Fabio Gamberini taking the Graduate class win in sixth. For front row starter Bacheta, the race was to end in disappointment, with a flat tyre forcing him into retirement.

Blomqvist was in prime position to make it two out of two, starting Round 14 on pole position. Manor Competition's Stevens joined him on the front row, with his team-mate Ollie Millroy next up. Graduate cup driver Alex Lynn produced a best qualifying performance of the season to start fourth, with Yelloly and Tincknell again making up row three.

Twenty-two laps now stood between Blomqvist and his second win and as the lights went out he took full advantage to lead the field into the sweeping right-handed Copse followed by Stevens, Millroy and Williamson.

Blomqvist was able to start pulling away straight away, with the Manor cars fighting between them behind. By the halfway stage, the Fortec Motorsport driver had a solid lead, while behind; it was to soon be all change. As they entered lap eleven, it was still Stevens ahead of Millroy and Williamson, but a lap later, the trio had swapped places, with Williamson emerging in second, Stevens the unfortunate driver dropping to fourth. Observing all this from behind was Pa'l Kiss in fifth, the title contender not looking to get involved and potentially jeopardise a good point's finish.

Williamson soon set about chasing down Blomqvist, but was unable to catch the fast young Swede, the Fortec driver comfortably taking the flag to take his second win of the weekend, the first driver to take a double this season. Williamson led the Manor train in second, his sixth podium of the season, followed by Millroy picking up his third of the season. Stevens finished fourth, ahead of title rival Pa'l Kiss, while Thomas Hylkema finished sixth to make it all four Manor Competition cars in the top six. Gamberini made it two Graduate class wins for the weekend in seventh after problems for Lynn left him three laps down in last place on the road, a disappointing end to the race after a great qualifying performance.

As they leave Silverstone to head north of the border to Knockhill for Rounds 15 and 16 of the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship on 4th/5th September, only 20 points separate the top four drivers in the championship. Pa'l Kiss leads the way ahead of Manor duo Williamson and Stevens, with Blomqvist's great weekend putting him right into the mix in fourth. In the Graduate class, two wins have seen Gamberini narrow the gap to 26 points at the top of the class standings.

2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship provisional drivers' standings – rd 14:

1st Tama's Pa'l Kiss HUN Atech GP     344 pts
2nd Lewis Williamson GBR Manor Competition     333 pts
3rd Will Stevens GBR Manor Competition     330 pts
4th Tom Blomqvist GBR Fortec Motorsport     324 pts
5th Harry Tincknell GBR CRS Racing     287 pts
6th Ollie Millroy    GBR    Manor Competition     235 pts


Graduate Cup:

1st Alex Lynn GBR Fortec Motorsport   133 pts
2nd Fabio Gamberini     BRA Mark Burdett Motorsport   107 pts
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Simon provides coverage of the support championships for the BTCC, having been a fixture in the TOCA paddock for over six years.
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