Formula Renault UK

Podium For Stevens On Home Soil

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Will Stevens took his sixth podium finish of 2011 with third place in the opening Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup race at Silverstone, before taking a solid points scoring finish in the second race around the Grand Prix circuit.

With the qualifying session split into two groups due to the large 38-car grid for the meeting, Stevens' second best time in his group put him on the second row for the opening race of the weekend. A good getaway saw him hold third earlier on, with the 20 year old gaining a spot when Carlos Sainz pitted for a drive through on lap three.

Stevens looked the challenge for the lead, despite heavy rain over the back of the circuit making the conditions tricky, and with two laps to go made a move, but the leader Robin Frijns held him off. Stevens made another move at the very final corner, but rather than take the lead, he slipped back a place to Alex Riberas to end up third. 

Stevens explained: “I made a good start and good momentum put me in a position to pass Sainz early on but didn't want to lose time in the early stages. Then I heard from my Fortec team about his drive-through penalty so it wasn't worth taking any risks.

“As the race progressed, the track conditions became very tricky, particularly around the back of the circuit where it was quite damp and we were all sliding wide. Frijns caught a backmarker two laps from the end and got held up slightly which allowed me to close right up. I had a tough decision to make in a split second as to which side to try and pass him, it was difficult to judge because the track was damp on one side and had lots of tyre rubber on the other, but I had a go and he moved over, forcing me towards the grass, so I had to back out.

“Then at Brooklands on the final lap he braked much earlier than usual, probably in case it was slippery, and so I did too. This allowed Alex (Riberas) to get the run on me, which is a little disappointing as I really thought we could have had a win today. We had the pace so hopefully we can come back tomorrow with another strong qualifying and get that home win.”

The second qualifying session put the Surrey-based racer on the fourth row for the second fourteen lap race. A fast start saw him jump a place into seventh, before he lost it again later in the lap, Stevens ran comfortably in eighth for the opening few laps, before a minor error saw him slip another place. With a lack of grip hampering his progress, he had to settle for a ninth place finish, keeping him fourth in the championship standings with four races remaining.

Stevens added: “In qualifying we underestimated the track change from yesterday and had a lot less grip and a bit of understeer in the high speed corners. In the race I made a good start and managed to get by Sainz going into the first corner. We had quite a good pace at the beginning but then I lost the place to Kvyat who got the run on me out of Becketts.

“Then I started to struggle with understeer and a lack of grip, which resulted in me making a mistake coming out of Club allowing Sainz to get past. The pace went right off towards the end, particularly in sector one and sector three, we just didn't have the balance right.

“But, looking ahead, we go into the next rounds the way we always do, looking to win. So now we'll go back and look at the data and see where we struggled today and hopefully we can sort it all out before Paul Ricard.”

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Simon is an experienced journalist and PR officer, who has worked in the national motorsport paddocks for over a decade, primarily on the BTCC support package.
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