Rowland takes first Formula Renault win as Lynn equals recordPosted: September 19, 2011
Fortec Motorsport took a double last weekend at Rockingham as Oliver Rowland took his maiden victory in the Formula Renault 2.0 UK series, while Alex Lynn matched the all-time wins record for a season with his 11th in race two.
Runaway championship leader Lynn had a rough start to the weekend however when he slid into the gravel trap during a dramatic qualifying session on Saturday. He therefore started the opening race from the back of the field while his team-mate Rowland started from the pole position.
The polesitter then made a great start along with team-mate Mitchell Gilbert alongside him on the front row, and the pair led the field through the opening lap with Tio Ellinas in hot pursuit of Gilbert’s second place.
The lap was not without drama, as heading into turn four Atech Reid GP’s Jack Hawksworth tried an ambitious lunge inside Josh Hill and slid into his sidepod, spinning the pair and ending their races on the spot which brought out the safety car.
On the restart Rowland spent the early laps of the race with his Australian team-mate Gilbert in close company, but the Racing Steps-backed driver then got his head down and cruised to an emphatic first win of the season by a 10 second margain over the battling Gilbert and Ellinas.
Championship leader Lynn meanwhile was working his way up the field well and was up to seventh place by lap eight, which soon became sixth when he outbraked Mark Burdett Motorsport’s Daniel Cammish heading into Deene hairpin.
He then pressured Jordan King into a spin at Pif Paf on lap 11 for fifth place, but then made an uncharacteristic mistake by spinning at the same corner a lap later dropping him down to a 10th place finish.
A man with every reason to smile meanwhile was Atech Reid’s Dan Wells who picked up a season best result of fourth place after holding off Cammish, while Fortec debutant Alex Walker finished a solid sixth ahead of regulars Alice Powell, Oscar King, Jordan King, and of course Lynn.
Rowland told ITV4: “I wanted to get a gap, we had the pace and it finally came with quite a big margain in the end.”
He also dedicated his win to the recently late Martin Hines, a man who helped an enormous number of drivers in his career, Rowland being one of them.
Lynn made no mistakes in second qualifying and snatched pole from his team-mate Rowland, and at the start was quick to assert his favourite position at the front of the field.
Hill was again out of luck when he triggered an accident with Oscar King on lap two, the Manor driver damaging his car by riding over the back of King’s car exiting the backing before careering into him out of control heading into the hairpin.
The race then turned into a straight time trial between the two team-mates at the front, with Rowland setting fastest laps at mid-distance before Lynn upped his pace to cruise to an 11th win of the season by less than a second, equalling a 17-year record of wins in a season.
Ellinas again took his place on the third step of the rostrum, edging slightly closer to Lynn at the top of the points but in what seems like an impossible task with four races to go. Atech team-mate Hawksworth finished in fourth place, while Cammish again came across the line in fifth.
Behind them, Gilbert was sixth ahead of Jordan King, while the most entertaining battle of the race was between Powell and Walker, with Powell hanging on just for eighth with some strong defending ahead of Wells rounding out the top 10.
Lynn’s drama in race one may have kept the championship still alive, but as the series heads to the Brands Hatch GP circuit, Lynn and team-mate Rowland are now close to sealing both the championship and Graduate cups respectively.
Championship standings after rounds 15/16:
1. Alex Lynn (Fortec Motorsport), 454
2. Tio Ellinas (Atech Reid GP), 418
3. Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsport), 345 (G)
4. Jack Hawksworth (Atech Reid GP), 265
5. Mitchell Gilbert (Fortec Motorsport), 241 (G)
6. Alice Powell (Manor Competition), 207 (G)