One week on since the third race meeting of the season at Silverstone, it was now a trip across the Atlantic and over to the Pacific for the fourth round at Laguna Seca in California. The circuit with it’s high elevation changes works quite unpredictable with the rigid chassis of the Formula Renault, but it also has several overtaking spots which make for good spectating. Once again it would be 36 drivers to compete for this round and with it being early in the season, some teams and drivers were on for taking a challenge to those higher up the standings.
For qualifying, 3 of the main team drivers would have to sit out qualifying leaving it up to Pashalis and Oscar to set times for the team. Maarten Van Loozenoord, Daniel McAuley, Josh Thompson and Tom Depke would all enter the session too with only John Godfrey having to sit out along with Peter, Sam and Antoine. In the end of the 10 minute run, it was Maarten who took pole position for race 1 by almost 7 tenths, proving his speed once again when it matters. Oscar would place P2 only a fraction ahead of FEKA driver Jack Keithley. Further back Pashalis would claim 7th place along with Academy driver Josh taking the final spot in the top 10.
As the cars got ready for the lights for race 1, a connection failure forced Oscar to be kicked from the session meaning he’d have to sit out of the race, a disappointing result. Both John and Antoine did not make it past lap 2 either unfortunately however it was not all doom and gloom. Maarten led from lights to flag to take the first blood, followed by Keithley and Pashalis 11 seconds back. Josh would also move up to take 8th place along with the other two AC drivers Tom and Dan taking 12th and 15th respectively. It was a great drive for Peter Berryman also cutting through the field to finish in 13th place after starting from 33rd, 20 positions gained! Sam also had a good recovery drive to finish just outside the top 20 despite a pit lane start and damage received early on in the race.
With race 2, a 22 place reverse grid was the draw putting Maarten and Pashalis towards the mid pack. Antoine and Oscar also were both starting outside the top 30 however this didn’t deter and both were battling for positions in the Top 20 after only 2 laps. Unfortunately Josh and Tom both had to retire from contact with other cars and even worse a misjudgement on the sprint upwards to the corkscrew resulted in contact between Antoine and Oscar giving both cars damage. However, Peter who started in 10th, forced his way through very quickly and went on to take the race win being a 2nd victory for Apex for the day. Maarten, Pashalis as well as Dan and Sam all placed within the top 10 claiming a good points haul to add to the team championship battle.
Once again with the warmer mid day conditions, the Californian heat really set in for race 3 with a sizzling 39 degrees Celsius track temperature. The wheel of fortune was spun and resulted with a larger 29 place reverse grid putting Peter, Pashalis and Maarten very far back. The race got off to quite a chaotic start with several incidents claiming the races of many cars. Unbelievably, Maarten was tailing Oscar after only a handful of laps in fourth place after coming from 26th! Both were pushing hard and catching the lead by almost 2 seconds per lap when the car of Sponholtz and Oscar made contact in Turn 5, Maarten took his advantage and got both cars in 1 corner. Pushing further forwards, it was Maarten who took the win from Nathan Davies right at the line by just 0.002s! The smallest margin seen so far in the championship. Oscar took home a steady 3rd place while Tom and John of the Academy team both placed inside the top 10 followed closely by Pashalis in 9th. After sustaining wing damage, Peter still managed to take 11th position with team-mates Antoine and Sam finishing in 12th and 13th.
For the final race, it was into the evening light and cooler conditions. With grip quite high and drivers having to adapt to the different conditions, it was all about getting a good finish to end the meeting. With only a medium reverse grid of 23 cars, it meant Peter, Pashalis and Antoine were quite close to the leading cars. All had decent starts with Peter quickly getting into the lead. Maarten unfortunately while carving through the other drivers was DQ’d after a surplus in incident points. Nathan Davies and Josh Thompson also made contact on lap 1 ending Josh’s race and later Nathan’s who’d sustained heavy damage. Oscar also lost a front wing and a spin put him into the wall with two other cars colliding separately collected him as he tried to rejoin. With many retirements, it wasn’t a bad result as with Academy and main team forces combined, Apex took a 1-2-3-4-5 for the final race of the evening with Peter, Pashalis, Antoine, Dan and John! Sam also claimed a great 10th place.
Apex Racing UK still leads the Team Standings by quite a margin with Apex Racing Academy moving up to 3rd place heading into the next race. The BSR Formula Renault 2.0 Series will return next Tuesday at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for Round 5. Be sure to catch the race LIVE on Apex Racing TV, where you can also catch up on the Laguna Seca broadcast. You can also check out the current Standings as well as all the news from BSR and even how to sign up by clicking HERE. That’s all for now, tune in next week.
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