Alex Lynn leads the way as the stars of the Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship get set for the next two rounds of the 2011 season at Oulton Park, one of the most popular tracks on the calendar for the single seater drivers.
Lynn moved back into the championship lead today after his Fortec Motorsport team successfully won their appeal against Lynn and team-mates Oliver Rowland's exclusion from Round Four at Donington Park, giving Lynn back his race win.
The Aythorpe based driver now has five race wins so far this season, as well as five pole positions and three fastest laps, and will be hoping to add to his tally around the picturesque Cheshire circuit.
Lynn said: “I'm looking forward to Oulton, but then I look forward to all of the races. We were quick there in testing so we should go well and hopefully we'll get the same kind of results as we've had in the races so far.
“Oulton is definitely a difficult circuit and you need to have a good car underneath you. Qualifying is going to be vital because it's so tricky to overtake.”
Bumped down to second in the standings now is Cypriot Tio Ellinas, who has finished on the podium in all six races this season. The Atech Reid GP driver is hoping to take his first win of the season around the circuit on which he made his car racing debut just last season.
Ellinas commented: “I have good memories of Oulton Park as it was where I did my first car race last year in Formula Ford. I qualified on the front row and then finished fourth, which was good.
“I like the circuit and I'm looking forward to the weekend. I was quick in testing so I think there is a good chance of being at the front. The barriers are quite close to the circuit so it's very challenging and every corner is different. Qualifying is key and I need to fight for pole to be in a good position to fight for victory and the podium.”
Ellinas will be backed this weekend by his Atech team-mates Oscar King and Dan Wells. Hampshire based Wells will be taking part in his second meeting for the team after switching from Antel Motorsport ahead of the previous meeting at Thruxton.
Wells, who consequently took his best results of the season at his local circuit, said: “Oulton Park is my favourite circuit. When you start the lap, the undulations just hit you. It's like a rollercoaster and there is no harder challenge. If you can hook up a lap, it feels immense, so while the circuit is challenging, it's also very rewarding. I'm going there in positive mood and I'm working well with my new team.”
Currently leading the way in the Graduate Cup is Fortec's Rowland, who took a double podium at Thruxton. He will be hoping to continue his form at Oulton, as will team-mates Mitchell Gilbert and Pedro Pablo Calbimonte, who both took their best results of the season at Thruxton. They will also be joined by Felix Serralles.
Gilbert said: “I think Oulton Park is like the Nurburgring of England and hopefully we can build on the performance we showed at Thruxton. The whole weekend will be decided in qualifying, but we have a strong car in qualifying and we have to see where we go with it.”
Title winning outfit Manor Competition have yet to pick up a victory this season, but its strong quartet will be hoping to put that right at Oulton. Ollie Millroy will lead the way, the 2010 racewinner ready to take on a track he relishes.
Millroy commented: “Oulton is an awesome track and it's definitely up there with the great tracks like Spa. It's high-speed and you're always on the edge with no room for error as any mistake could mean hitting the barriers. It's a proper drivers' track.”
Josh Hill heads into the weekend on the back of a top four finish at Thruxton, while team-mate Alice Powell will be hoping to bounce back from a double DNF at Thruxton, where she was challenging for podiums. Also hoping to pick up two strong results is Jordan King, who hopes to reign in Rowland in the Graduate Cup.
King said: “Oulton Park is a circuit I really enjoy and its good fun to drive. Every corner leads into another at Oulton Park so the times can come quite easily if you can nail the lap, and its really satisfying when you do hook everything up. I'd like to think we'll do a good job in qualifying and then hopefully we can turn it into a result in the races. A top three in qualifying would set us up well.”
The field is completed by Mark Burdett Motorsport, with regular Jack Hawksworth joined at Oulton by new team-mate Daniel Cammish. Hawksworth, who has two podium finishes so far this year, has clear aims for Oulton.
Hawksworth explained: “Oulton Park is one of my favourite circuits and its one of the closest to home. The character and elevation changes make it interesting; it's a proper race track. The only issue is that it can be difficult to overtaking, so qualifying is going to be vital.
“My aim is to win both races, like it is every weekend. I'm heading Oulton Park aiming to do my best and two pole positions would put me in a good position for the races.”