Monday, September 12, 2005

FORMULA RENAULT UK: Disappointing day at Donington for McIntosh

Courtesy Stuart Morrison Public Relations

Donington Park, England (September 11, 2005) Sean McIntosh (Photo, Left) hoped to repeat his early season success at Donington Park but the Canadian racer’s hopes turned to disappointment today as he returned to the Leicestershire track for Rounds 15 and 16 of the 2005 Formula Renault UK Championship.

Having set the fastest time in testing earlier in the week, Sean together with the Team Firstair squad were optimistic for another strong showing heading into this weekend’s double-header. Yesterday’s rain-soaked qualifying sessions would set the tone for the outcome of the weekend as a brief รข€˜off’ cost Sean track time in the first session, placing him tenth on the grid for Round 15 this morning, while a more promising showing in the second session, for Round 16 this afternoon, netted the 20-year-old fifth fastest time.

Track conditions improved slightly overnight and Sean had a clear objective heading into this morning’s first 12-lap sprint race to the front and score points. Sitting second in the title battle to Britain’s Oliver Jarvis, a decent points haul would keep Sean’s title-rival in check heading into the second of the day’s races.

Starting tenth on the grid for Round 15, following four consecutive front-row starts including three pole positions, Sean rocketed off the line as the lights flicked to green. He quickly disposed of the three cars ahead of him on the starting line-up to climb from tenth to sixth at the first turn.

Fighting for a top-five position on the opening tour of the 2.5-mile Grand Prix circuit, Sean was passed by James Jakes heading into McLeans and from there the two chargers, sitting second and third respectively in the title chase, would fight wheel-to-wheel all the way to the checkered flag. The damp track enabled Jakes to just keep ahead of McIntosh despite the Vancouver-native enjoying a quicker car on the occasional dry stretches of the circuit.

The race was stopped two-laps prematurely following a roll at the Hairpin by Rodolfo Gonzalez. McIntosh claimed the checkered flag in fifth place, happy with his progress from tenth and with another twenty points to add to his season tally. Dutchman Yelmer Buurman, who had fought Sean for a victory in Scotland two weeks earlier, won the race from Sebastian Hohenthal and Oliver Jarvis.

Round 16 this afternoon would prove to be less fortuitous for Sean’s title aspirations despite starting fifth on the grid, his thirteenth top-five qualifying spot in sixteen races. Snatching fourth place at the start Sean’s race was soon to come to an abrupt and disappointing end. Having run slightly off-line on the slow-drying track he clipped the kerb exiting Coppice Corner and duly found himself beached in the gravel and out of the race.

Posting only his second retirement of the season, McIntosh had to sit on the sidelines and watch Oliver Jarvis capitalize on his misfortune by posting a victory in his absence, the Manor Motorsport driver further extending his lead in the championship standings.

Speaking at the end of a frustrating day at Donington Sean remarked:

“Obviously from a championship point of view it was a far from ideal weekend but looking at the positive side of things I proved I can battle even starting further down the grid. The first race was quite enjoyable, James and I raced cleanly and we met our objective to score some decent points. The second race was just too bad but these things can happen in racing.”

“I can’t dwell on it and we don’t have time to either! There are still four races to go. I won’t be giving up my fight for the championship and hopefully at Silverstone next weekend we’ll bounce back to keep the chase going all the way to Brands Hatch at the start of October!”

Oliver Jarvis continues to lead the championship on 386 points with James Jakes up into second on 360 while Sean sits third on 340 before three dropped scores are taken into consideration at the end of the season.

Silverstone’s National Circuit hosts Rounds 17 and 18 of the 2005 Formula Renault UK Championship next weekend, September 17th-18th.

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