Brighton's Will Hunt bags podium with fighting performance in Radical SR1 Cup finale at Snetterton
Fighting performances from Brighton racer Will Hunt yielded a podium finish in the closing instalment of the 2019 Radical SR1 Cup on the Snetterton ‘300’ circuit (19 October).
The final SR1 Cup qualifying session of 2019 was held on a typically bright and brisk autumnal morning, on a damp but drying track.
Hunt steadily upped the pace and went as high as second while acclimatising to the ever-improving track conditions, but the times continued tumbling and a late push yielded a 2m21.048s that was ultimately enough for fourth.
The circuit dried out significantly between qualifying and the first of two 20-minute races, and Hunt made use of a supreme launch from row two of the grid to sweep around the outside of Matt Jones for third position at Riches corner.
The Brighton racer spent the first two laps on Ross Elliott’s coattails, but had his charge interrupted by a brief Safety Car that left him vulnerable to a resurgent Jones at the restart.
Hunt was forced to play a rear-guard action for the remainder of the race but stood his ground in third to secure a 13th career podium and, with Jones fourth and Chris Short down in seventh, remain in contention for second overall in the championship.
Having sealed his first podium since the SR1 Cup’s visit to Brands Hatch in June, Hunt went into the final race of the season on Saturday afternoon wanting another strong points finish in a bid to improve his points position.
Starting sixth, Hunt plummeted to the back of the 18-car field after avoiding a first-corner collision that removed Jones – a rival for P2 in the championship – from the running.
However, a Safety Car gave Hunt a chance to regroup and the 22-year old was back inside the top ten after just five laps, but more work was required to reach the eighth place that would guarantee third in the championship.
Personal best lap times ensured he quickly despatched ninth and closed in on Mark Tranter at a rate of knots, before executing a decisive move for P8 on the final run through Riches.
Sadly, the Scorpio Motorsport driver dropped back down to 17th when his engine cut out later around the lap, resigning him to fourth in the definitive points classification.
“It felt like things were back to normal when we reached the podium in the first race at Snetterton,” said Hunt. “I got a good start into Turn 1, kept my head down and stayed consistent because the Radical SR1 Cup field is so competitive this year that you can’t afford to make any mistakes. It would have been great to get second in the championship, but I wanted to just let the results come and see where we ended up.
"I was devastated with how the second race panned out because we deserved so much more – fourth doesn’t do us justice. I really wanted to end on a high and I gave it absolutely everything, but I couldn’t have done a thing to prevent the mechanical issues we’ve had in the second half of the season and I’m satisfied that I have driven to the best of my ability throughout."
Brighton's Will Hunt focused on recovering lost ground in Radical SR1 Cup finale at Snetterton
Will Hunt is shooting for victory to better his championship standing in the final two races of the 2019 Radical SR1 Cup at Snetterton (19 October).
The Brighton racer has reached the podium in more than half of his 22 SR1 Cup outings to date but goes into this year’s season finale with the intention of breaking his race wins duck and boosting his points tally.
Hunt held second in the Drivers’ standings for much of the 12-race 2019 campaign but has fallen to fourth following an unfortunate DNF at Snetterton in July and a curious mechanical failure at Donington Park in September.
With a mathematical chance of regaining the runner-up spot, the 2018 ‘Rookie Cup’ Champion has intensified his off-track preparations in the simulator and at the gym to ensure he’s in a position to challenge for victories on the SR1 Cup’s second annual outing at Snetterton.
Hunt, aged 22, possessed great speed on his previous visit to the 2.99mile East Anglian racetrack and is going into this weekend with a bullish win-or-bust attitude and a willingness to take more risks, so he can go into the off-season satisfied he left nothing on the table.
“This year has flown, and it feels like only yesterday that I was on the starting grid at Oulton Park, in front of the tens of thousands of fans who turned out for the British GT Championship during the Easter Bank Holiday weekend,” said Hunt. “My ultimate goal following my Rookie Cup win was to secure second or higher in this year's Radical SR1 Cup standings and take my first race win, and while I’ve achieved some fantastic results, two unavoidable DNFs have left me wanting in fourth overall.
“Since the previous round at Donington Park, I have been training as hard as ever, both in the sim and at the gym, while also analysing data and maintaining a positive mental attitude. My goal is to simply drive to the best of my ability, taking everything I’ve learnt and putting it in to practice. I know I have what it takes to put in a strong performance – I have proven that many times this year – and I’m determined to scale the top step of the podium. Having said that, I’ll view the 2019 season as a success if I reach the chequered flag on Saturday afternoon knowing I have given it everything.”