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Formula Renault - Mon 12th Nov 2012 - ROOKIE GAMBLE JUST MISSES CHAMPIONSHIP TOP SIX FOR HILLSPEED - Hillspeed Racing


12 Nov 2012

Formula Renault Gamble 1


Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series with Michelin team Hillspeed just missed out on a top six championship finish during the final two rounds at Rockingham on Saturday, 10th November, although single-seater newcomer George Gamble did end the campaign as the best of the rookies.

Arriving at the Northamptonshire venue’s 1.94-mile International Sportscar Circuit off the back of a superb debut at Brands Hatch three weeks prior, 16-year-old Gamble again ran comfortably inside the top 10 in both encounters but an unfortunate excursion in race one dealt his hopes a blow.

Running in eighth place at the time, as Gamble attempted to try and close-down erstwhile points leader Matt Mason the Hillspeed driver made the slightest of errors – on a track still very slippery from earlier rain – and unfortunately slid off into the gravel trap at Tarzan Hairpin.

Determined to make amends, the youngster hit back in the second race to claim eighth position but he was awarded the points for seventh due to second-place finisher Matthew Brabham being ineligible to score because of his international racing licence. In the end, Gamble only missed out on a coveted top six championship position by a mere four points.

Team-mate Matt Rao, another newcomer to Formula Renault BARC during the Winter Series opener last month, was also forced to retire from the first of the Rockingham races to cap a disappointing start to the weekend for Hillspeed.

In race two though, the ‘slicks and wings’ rookie finished in 11th position to post his first points score of the championship, only missing the top 10 by 0.3 seconds at the chequered flag and impressively running lap times comparable with podium finisher and title contender Mason.

“George and Matt both showed good pace this weekend, we didn’t make the progress we wanted from Brands Hatch but seventh in the championship is still a good finish considering George’s lack of experience in single-seaters”, said team principal Richard Ollerenshaw, “Matt’s pace in race two was particularly good, had he qualified in the top six we could have been looking at a great result.”

In the accompanying ATL Racing Fuel Cells Ginetta Junior Winter Series, car racing debutant Piers Hickin unfortunately had a baptism of fire which ultimately resulted in the 16-year-old youngster withdrawing from the weekend after race one.

With overnight rain making track conditions very challenging, the newcomer faced a tough introduction to Ginetta Junior action for the morning qualifying session and contact with the retaining wall early-on meant he wasn’t able to post a lap time.

Therefore forced to start round one from the back of the grid – in a different car due to the damage sustained in the earlier accident – Hickin got away from the line cleanly and negotiated the first few corners without problem but at Tarzan on the opening lap, he went off the track into the gravel.

“We fully understood Piers’ decision to withdraw after race one”, explained Ollerenshaw, “After the qualifying accident, and then the off in race one, his confidence took a big knock and so the safest and most sensible option by far was for him to sit-out the remainder of the day. It’s a real shame as he had shown good promise in testing.”

Final 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series with Michelin Standings:
7th George Gamble, 50pts; 20th Matt Rao, 11pts