It’s dark, it’s gloomy and it’s getting colder…for us this means one thing – it’s Formula Renault Finals Series time! The teams headed off down the road to Corby last night for two days of testing before practice starts on Friday and it’s awfully quiet at the factory without them! In our third blog we want to bring you up to speed on the Finals Series ahead of the (final) weekend at Rockingham and let you know what’s coming up in the not-too-distant future.
So the big news was that Josh Hill has joined us for the Finals Series and he has certainly impressed, starting on pole for all four races at Snetterton, over half a second quicker than the rest of the field on a very wet Saturday. Although Hill was disappointed not to convert more than one pole to a victory in a mixed weekend for the 20-year-old, we were delighted for Josh to score his maiden Formula Renault UK victory with us in the third race of the weekend – a win that was long overdue given Josh’s outstanding talent. Joining Josh we’ve also got three other Fortec newbies with varying racing experience – young Shahaan Engineer has tested with the team this season but last weekend was his first actual race and he did a stellar job for the team. Dan de Zille is the oldest of our drivers with a wealth of Formula Ford experience, while Thomas Jaeger is Hill’s closest challenger from the newbie camp with some fantastic drives over the weekend in less-than-pleasant weather conditions.
While some fell victim to the dreary November weather, Oliver Rowland proved exactly why he’s the favourite to take the title at Rockingham in a few days’ time. The Graduate Cup Champion made some phenomenal starts at Snetterton, to take three wins from four at the Norfolk circuit which he admits is one of his weaker tracks and, where Hill was consistently quicker than him all weekend. Rowland has now won seven of the past ten races that he’s entered and the 19-year-old has a 38-point lead heading into the final two rounds at Rockingham. Ollie is continuing to demonstrate why he’s been marked out as one of Britain’s top young drivers as he goes from strength to strength, and he’s collected quite a few trophies this weekend…
Jones and Dennis put in solid performances as they move up to Formula Renault UK from InterSteps, and they’re hoping to get some more valuable racing experience and mix it up with the FRUK regulars this weekend while Eurocup regular Felix Serralles took two third-placed finishes on Saturday in a strong showing for the Puerto Rican.
Archie Hamilton has done the Fortec team proud in the BARC class as its sole representative, taking three wins from four and leading into the final two rounds at Rockingham. Martin Cao joins the BARC team for a test tomorrow with the possibility of racing at the weekend, although nothing has yet been confirmed.
So once the Finals are over and we’ve hopefully taken both class titles that’s it for us and we can start decorating for Christmas. Just kidding…We’ve got one of the most exciting events of the season still to come – the Macau Grand Prix. Macau is a hugely demanding street circuit, which is not for the faint-hearted and it’s certainly not recommended for F3 rookies! It’s an extremely complex logistical operation to get everything over there – the cars left the factory early last week, while a breakdown of all parts is required to get everything flown over with minimal security questions and it has taken months of thorough planning. It’s sure to be worth it though as Macau is a firm favourite with drivers, teams and fans alike and it offers an atmosphere that’s totally different from all other races on our calendar.
If you can get down to Rockingham on Saturday, you’ll be in for a real treat as it’s set to be an action-packed day out! We’ll be sure to bring you more news and goings on here in our next blog as the Macau events draws nearer.