Archie Hamilton holds a commanding lead in the BARC Class of the 2011 Protyre Formula Renault UK Finals Series after a dominant display in the opening weekend at Snetterton, the Fortec Motorsport driver taking three class wins in the four races.
Saturday morning's qualifying saw 20 year old Archie secure second on the grid for the two races. The opening race saw him line up at the front though when rival James Fletcher went off the track on the warm-up lap and Hamilton led the first couple of laps, before an off-track excursion of his own when he hit standing water dropped him to third. Archie fought back though and forced his way back past into the lead, setting the races fastest lap in the process.
On a slightly drying track, Hamilton took the lead in race two after passing Fletcher off the start and instanrtly pulled away. His lead was cut short though when the safety car appeared, but once it went back in, he pulled a gap at the front once again and cruised home for his second win of the day, also taking the fastest lap once again.
Hamilton said: “Today was fantastic! I was conscious that qualifying was only a short time before the first race so I didn't want to push too hard and damage the car, so was cautious and settled for second. I could then afford to push a bit harder in the races. The rain and wet made both races difficult – the first with the standing water and then with wet and dry for race two but, apart from a slight off in race one, I managed to keep within the limits. Setting the fastest laps was a good confidence boost but the two trophies are fantastic and I dedicate my wins to my grandfather who is my inspiration and my father for his support and faith.”
Sunday saw the conditions dry, which meant a night of studying data for the potential change in conditions with his engineer paid off for Hamilton. Qualifying saw the Basingstoke-based driver comfortably quickest, with two storming laps putting him on pole for both races, ending up nearly a second faster than his closest BARC rival.
The opening race saw Archie lead away from the line, but a multi-car accident ahead in the TOCA class forced Archie to go onto the grass in avoidance, with James Fletcher nipping by into the class lead. Knowing Fletcher was no real threat to his title hopes, Hamilton remained in second place till the end. He backed this up with a lights to flag win in race two to cement his advantage in the standings.
Hamilton added: “It's fantastic to have not just my first Formula Renault win but three! I came into the series determined to give it my best to win a title and I'm pleased to have made good progress towards that this weekend. I've got a lead going into Rockingham so I need to focus on getting the finishes I need to win the series.”