Tom Blomqvist has become the youngest ever Formula Renault UK champion after finishing the final race of the season around the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in second place, as part of a Fortec Motorsport 1-2-3 with Riki Christodoulou as race winner.
Christodoulou started the race from pole position, with teammate Blomqvist sharing the front row, with Fortec's third driver Alex Lynn starting from a career best third. All three Fortec drivers made a strong start, which was more than can be said for CRS Racing's Harry Tincknell, who struggled to get away from fifth on the grid and dropped down the field.
Blomqvist's title challenger Lewis Williamson also made a good getaway from fourth on the grid, knowing that he would have to beat Blomqvist in the race to win the title. The Scot attempted to go around the outside of Lynn and take third at Druids on the opening lap, though Lynn held onto his position. Just behind, Tamas Pal Kiss ran wide, spinning into the gravel. The Hungarian, who had led the championship standings for much of the season, was able to rejoin and ended the race in 14th, setting the fastest lap in the process.
Williamson continued to press Lynn, and attacked him again on the run down to Druids on lap 10, trying to go both left then right of the Fortec driver. Lynn held firm though, as Marlon Stockinger and Ollie Millroy closed up on Williamson.
Out front, Christodoulou held on for an unchallenged win, his first since he returned to the category in June, becoming the tenth different race winner this year. Blomqvist followed him home to claim the championship, while Lynn held off Williamson to make it a Fortec 1-2-3, Lynn taking his best result in the category to date. Stockinger finished fifth, ahead of Millroy and Round 19 winner Nick Yelloly. Tincknell recovered from his poor getaway to finish eighth, with Richard Singleton ninth on his return to the series.
16-year-old Blomqvist is the son of rally legend Stig Blomqvist, who was on hand to congratulate his son on his success. Tom said: “It's just an awesome feeling! Being my first year it's been a steep learning curve and we struggled at the start but we gradually got better and better and to win the title is just amazing.”
His thoughts are already turning to next year, with stepping up to Formula 3 his main priority. “It all depends on budget really but Formula 3 is one possibility we have looked at. It's still sinking in at the moment that I've won! It was great to have my dad here watching me this weekend too.”
Championship runner-up Williamson said: “I tried to push Tom and the rest of the Fortec drivers as much as I could in the final round but it wasn't to be. It's still been a great season for us and I have to thank all my sponsors and of course Manor Competition for all their hard work and for giving me a brilliant car.”
Blomqvist and Williamson will go head-to-head once again before the end of year, both having been nominated for the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award. Both can also look forward to a prize test in a Formula Renault 3.5 Series car, while Kiss, who finished third in the standings, will join the pair in a British Formula 3 test later this year.
Christodoulou was pleased to end his season with a win: “It was quite a straight forward race from my point of view and great to finish on a high. There were certainly no team orders so whatever happened, happened.”
Third-place finished Lynn added: “The third-place in round 20 was a great way to end the season and I'm delighted to be taking home the Graduate Cup title. It's given me a real confidence boost for next year as it's my intention to return to Formula Renault UK.”
Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography