"A good starting point to the year" as Hunt brings home P4 & P5 in season opener
The season opener of the 2019 Radical SR1 Cup provided a spectacle of close racing under the fantastic following for the British GT & Formula 3 rounds at Oulton Park. With Pre-season testing providing a good indicator of the #21 Scorpio SR1’s pace both in the car and the man at the helm.
“We have a good foundation and know that the competition will be a lot closer this year with new teams and drivers joining the championship. We have battled big names in the past and come out victorious so I have the faith in the team, car and myself that we can put in a solid effort this year."
Qualifying in the gorgeous heat allowed for the new regulation Hankook Compound to stick to the track well and Will set the very early pace. However it became apparent quickly that the gap between drivers this year would be split by tenths of seconds. With Hunt managing to scrape in his fastest lap on the Checkered flag putting him in 5th place for both Race 1 & 2 of the championship.
"For sure I had hoped to get on the front row this weekend, we know where we lost out and will look at the data and come out fighting at lights out”
As the lights went out Hunt made a move to the inside for Turn 1 however was swamped by drivers running wide on the exit and found himself compromised down to 7th. From there it was critical to settle down and retake the lost ground which was done superbly and before long Hunt had managed to negotiate his way up to 5th breathing down the neck of Julian Lay.
The two would remain nose-to-tail for duration of the round with Hunt’s main opportunity coming at the exit of Knickerbrook chicane where a look up the inside provided the best chance of promotion to forth however it was not meant to be. The Scorpio team would have to settle for 5th and retain their position for the first race.
“We were really caught out at the start with everyone ahead running wide, I had to evade some of them and it slowed us down. I am happy that we managed to get ourselves up as far as we can, I think if we were to pass Lay that would have been as far as we could get as by that point the others were so far up the road. We will need to evaluate and go again for the next one”
During the build up to the final race of the weekend the heat continued to rise to 25 degrees making track temperatures higher than anticipated. At lights out for Race 2 Hunt went for a similar move to the first and this time managing to make it pay off with a promotion up to forth he was then chasing down his 2018 Rookie cup rival, Chris Short.
Hunt remained within touching distance of Short not allowing him to drive away. However as the session went on the problem of overheating became an issue, with cars up and down the order struggling both car and driver temperatures began to rise; Warriner and Pyro Motorsport’s Andy Wilkins collided after an incident at Druids corner forcing the safety car out; Hindering Hunt’s ballistic charge on the last podium space.
On the safety car restart both Hunt and Short were compromised on the exit of Lodge and the attack for the podium was falling ever distant. On the penultimate lap Hunt went deep on the brakes into Knickerbrook forcing the escape road allowing Zapoloski through into 4th, a result Hunt was not going to accept. A fast charge back and a move into Shell Oil’s Hairpin re-promoted to Hunt to 4th by which point Short had begun to extend his gap; a gap that was not to be cut in the last lap.
“We have to be happy with ourselves this weekend; obviously the goal was to be standing on the podium but to have achieved a solid bag of points to start the season could be vital come October at the finish line at Snetterton to round off 2019. We will debrief after this and do a lot of research in to this weekend so that we can come back stronger at Cadwell Park. We know we have the pace and ability to finish well so we need to up the ante next time out.
Action continues at Cadwell Park on May 18th.