Dan Wells enjoyed a great weekend during the first four rounds of the 2011 Protyre Formula Renault UK Finals Series, the Atech Reid GP driver taking two hard fought podium finishes, while team-mate Geoff Uhrhane continued to improve his pace on his second Formula Renault outing.
20 year old Wells showed great pace throughout the weekend at Snetterton, starting in Saturday qualifying. The Salisbury-based driver put himself fourth and third on the grid for the day's two races and a strong run in the opener saw him finish fourth, before the second race saw him drive into second early on, before harassing the leader throughout the remainder of the race, though he was unable to force his way past.
A delighted Wells reflected: “I am absolutely ecstatic! I have been really pushing myself all year to get onto the podium in the Formula Renault 2.0 category and, after narrowly missing out at Brand Hatch late in the season it's just great to have finished on the podium here this afternoon. The team has worked really hard on the car and have been supportive all season and it is just a great feeling to be so competitive in a field of 29 entries. I don't think anyone can wipe the smile off my face right now.”
Australian team-mate Uhrhane qualified inside the top ten for both the days races and enjoyed a superb run in the opener, working his way up a couple of places to finish sixth. His second race didn't go to plan though, with Uhrhane hit from behind on the opening lap, ending his race there and then.
Uhrhane said: “It has been a huge learning curve this week after driving the Formula Ford all year. In practice I have been consistently lapping times well inside the top ten and we qualified eighth and ninth today which in a field of 29 experienced drivers is a good result. The first race I was able to move up into sixth, which was great, but in the second I was hit from behind into the first turn. This series for me is about getting a feel for the car in time for the 2012 championship year and all we need to do now is keep improving.”
The drivers returned the next day and both continued their impressive form. Sunday's qualifying saw Wells looking to qualify on the front row, but he could only manage sixth for the opener, before improving for third for race two. The first race of the day saw him hold the same place throughout, but race two saw him slip to sixth early on, before fighting back to take third on the last lap, his second podium of the weekend. The results put Wells second in the championship with two races at Rockingham remaining.
Wells added: “What a race! I am really happy to nab third, its brilliant! For a while there I didn't think I was going to do it but I kept it together until the very last lap and managed to make up those two places when a couple of drivers ahead of me came together”
Uhrhane qualified seventh and ninth for the two races and like Wells, the opening race saw him hold his position until the end, just half a second behind his team-mate. The second race saw him fight his way up to seventh early on, but a mistake with three laps to go saw him forced to retire.
Uhrhane said: “Today the second race was a highlight for me until I just pushed myself too hard and came off the circuit. I am a little bit disappointed but, I have to take the positives from the weekend and move onto the second round at Rockingham next weekend. I am a driver that pushes myself and likes to take risks which is what you need to do sometimes if you want to better yourself. I am really looking forward to next week.”
Commenting on the weekend, Team Principal Anthony Reid concluded: “It's great to have been here to share in Dan's fabulous results. We are all very proud of him and will hope to see him improve over the series and share in his many future successes. Both of our drivers are performing well within our expectations this weekend, Geoff in particular has made a fantastic transition from the Formula Ford to the Renault 2.0 and it was a shame that Geoff didn't finish the second race today because he would have secured his best finish so far in the Formula Renault 2.0 category to date. Now we change our focus to the racing next weekend at Rockingham.”