Brands Brings vital points to Hunt's championship progress
The halfway point in the 2019 SR1 Cup brought the Scorpio Motorsport team to Will Hunt’s home race at Brands Hatch. Varying weather forecasts would be the story of the weekend with mixtures between heavy rainfall and sunny intervals playing havoc with team strategies throughout the weekend.
Hunt began the weekend in Friday testing strong with consistent improvement throughout the day finding himself in the top half of the timing screens, ready for the Qualifying on the Saturday.
The Rain covered the circuit in the early morning however as Qualifying drew nearer the sun was out and there was a question on everyone’s minds…Will the track be dry?
Qualifying: The Scorpio team took a massive gamble and put the Hankook Slick Tires on the #21 SR1 for Hunt. Initially it was a struggle as the Wet tyres initially favoured the conditions. However as the time began to count down the track dried and soon became a dry circuit.
The Scorpio call paid off as Hunt begun to deliver ever improving lap times setting his fastest lap as he crossed the Checkered flag with another lap surely securing pole position; in the end it was P2 and the best ever qualifying position for the Brighton based driver.
“It was a real struggle to keep the car on the track in the early stages. I had faith in the team’s call and knew that eventually the track would come to me as long as we kept it on track. Coming round Clearways (Final corner) on my last lap I knew 2 things; one was that this was a quick lap, the other that the next lap would be even faster. Sadly we were denied by the Checkered but nevertheless im over the moon to complete my best ever qualifying and be on the front row for my home race. Now we need to capitalise on this.”
Race 1: As the drivers waited in the assembly area the heavens opened and brought a sudden downpour to the circuit. There was panic as teams frantically swapped their opted Hankook Slick tyres for the Full Wet Compound. The outside line for P2 that would have been a disadvantage in dry conditions now favoured Hunt at the start. As the lights went out the #21 SR1 got away equal to Stoney in P1 as they arrived into Paddock Hill bend, 3rd Place Elliot got a great start and went to the high side to take the best wet line overtaking both drivers into turn 1.
As the conditions worsened both Elliot, leading the race and Warriner in P4 lost control of their cars coming down the start/finish straight and ending up in the pit wall promoting Hunt to third. Julian Lay had capitalised on the conditions and made a move on Stoney to take the lead of the race.
As the Checkered flag waved Hunt would finish 3rd and secure the last podium position by a large distance from the cars behind.
“Both Stoney and I got away from the line at the start OK but Ross had a blistering start from third and took us both around the outside into T1 and then Julian did something similar in to Druids (Turn 2). From then on it was about keeping the car on the tarmac as the conditions worsened and getting as high up on the podium as possible.”
Race 2: The weather changed dramatically between Race 1 and 2 as the sun shone down on the Kent circuit. At the start Hunt appeared to react quicker than Stoney to the lights and edged slightly the Quattro Motorsport Driver into Turn 1, however again Ross Elliot in 3rd place managed to make an excellent start as the three drivers arrived at Paddock Hill 3 wide with no one giving an inch. Hunt in the middle ran wide forcing Elliot to abort his move whilst Dean Warriner took advantage of the action to move up the inside into 3rd position.
On Lap 2 Elliot and Hunt’s Championship rival Short tangled into Paddock Hill Bend in a high speed incident retiring both cars and bringing out the safety car with Hunt Retaining 2nd.
Stoney caught Hunt off guard from the safety car restart and instantly created a gap, Warriner in 3rd also restarted well and immediately put the #21 SR1 under pressure arriving at Paddock Hill Bend and went for a large lunge up the inside of Hunt with some heavy contact forcing his way through. Hunt then spent the rest of the race reeling in to retake P2 but sadly the checkered flag would bring an end to Hunt’s pressure.
“It’s great to finish the weekend with two hard fought podiums. Obviously it would have been nice to improve on my front row result in qualifying however it wasn’t meant to be. Both races played out like recovery drivers when I lost position and it felt like I really hard to give it 110% for the whole race.
The results this weekend move us to 2nd in the championship with 6 races remaining at Snetterton (2 Meetings) and Donington Park which was the ultimate goal this weekend I had.
Our job now is to carry this momentum forward and see if we can apply some pressure on 1st in the Championship.”
The SR1 Cup continues to Snetterton on 27th July.