Dan Wells continued his strong run of form in the CERTINA Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship with a great performance in the penultimate rounds at Brands Hatch. The Atech Reid GP driver took a career best double qualifying performance and followed it with a career best finish of fourth.
The Wiltshire youngster enjoyed a productive test on Friday, running in the top half of the field on old tyres. This put him in confident mood heading into qualifying and the 20 year old once again came into his own, putting himself on the third row of the grid for both races.
Wells said: “I was very pleased with how qualifying went, we were very strong in sectors 1 and 3 but couldn't quite get it hooked up for the second sector, but even so, to qualify consistently in 5th for both races shows that we are making good progress.
“In Q2 we had some technical difficulties with the car on the way to the session but the team did a fantastic job and had it all sorted for when I rolled out of pitlane. It's great for a driver when you know you have a team who can deal with anything thrown at them, which allows me to focus on my job 100%”.
Starting fifth for the opener, a trademark blistering start saw Dan looking to make up places, until he was driven towards the pitwall be a defending rival. Forced to back out of the throttle, he lost two positions on the run to Paddock Hill. Dan fought back though and regained sixth place soon after, but a mistake while pressuring for fifth saw him go off circuit, rejoining to finish eleventh.
Wells commented:“The start was lit off the line once again but I was forced to back out of it when the driver in front drove straight for the pit wall, which lost me the chance to break away at the front with the leading trio.
“I managed to get a place back a lap later and was pushing Cammish all the way through the race. We were quicker and I was really pushing hard to overtake but unfortunately I lost downforce behind him at Stirlings and went on the grass slightly, causing a spin which left me down in eleventh instead of sixth. I was very disappointed with myself but I'm learning.”
Wells started fifth again for race two and another good start saw him maintain that position for the opening lap. Ahead, two rivals jump started and when they took their drive through penalties, Dan was promoted to third. He held the position comfortably until he started to feel unwell in the car. A slight mistake saw him run wide briefly, dropping him to fourth, Wells once again just missing out on a maiden Formula Renault podium.
Wells reflected: “I get very good starts every time – but I must say Lynn's in race two was the quickest I've seen! As soon as I saw this I knew I'd be in the fight for the podium. My team mate didn't have a good start and I was trying to find a way past on the first lap but I couldn't quite make it. Both Lynn and King then pulled over leaving me chasing Tio.
“I hadn't been feeling well since Rockingham and I had taken some medication before the race but the high temperatures on Sunday saw me start to feel sick while driving – I tried my hardest to hold on but I ultimately finished fourth. It's a shame because I felt like we had the pace to be on the podium but I have Silverstone to make amends.”
After his strong showing at Brands, and at Rockingham two weeks before, Wells now believes he can go to the final rounds at Silverstone and continue fighting for an elusive podium, maybe even a maiden win in his rookie season. Wells currently lies tenth in the championship standings, but only sixteen points stands between him and a top six championship finish.
Dan concluded: “Silverstone National is a short circuit but I enjoy it a lot. I'm confident we'll be in the fight for the top step of the podium.”