Hunt wins the 2018 SR1 Cup Rookie Championship
The final round of the 2018 Radical SR1 Cup would take place at Will Hunt's home race at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit. The Forecast for the weekend predicted heavy rain from Friday Free practice all the way through to the checkered flag on Saturday afternoon.
Despite this being his home race Hunt had never previously driven the Kent circuit meaning he would be at an immediate disadvantage to Championship rival Chris Short who had been looking strong on the build up to the weekend. Nevertheless Hunt spent the wet and greasy Friday Practice to learn the circuit and put himself in the best position for Qualifying on Saturday.
"We finished Friday Provisional 3rd on the order. The day finished wet and seeing as Saturday is looking like it will be similar conditions we are in a good position; I haven't driven here before so at the moment the only data we have for the circuit is wet conditions so it may put us in a situation if the forecast gives us a dry track.
We have done all the hard work earlier on in the season so with a pretty chunky lead to my rival it does give us a bit of a cushion in points but we wont be taking it easy just because of that!"
On Saturday the team woke up to a surprisingly sunny day with the morning looking greasy. Conditions Hunt had been working with in Practice. However during qualifying the track begun to dry and within 10 minutes it begun to dry throughout leaving Will on the back foot with no dry track running previously. The result was P7 for the two races and the team with work to do come race 1.
"We got really caught out in Qualifying with the changing conditions. I really had not a lot of data for dry running and as the session went on we lost touch with the guys ahead. We will regroup and watch the on board and prepare ourselves for a aggressive race strategy."
Race 1: Will's intentions became very clear as the lights went out for the first race with a sensational start going from P7 to 4th before turn 1 and then an attempt at taking third from James Pinkerton in to Druids corner which proved unsuccessful. Hunt settled into 4th however came under intimidate pressure from those he had passed on the start. Despite battling hard to hold on to his hard fought position, Hunt struggled to keep them at bay as the experienced Lotus Drivers Dean Warriner and Mackenzie Walker put up a great fight to retake position.
As the race continued the track begun to completely dry out and not before long the circuit was completely dry. With Hunt opting to chose the wet weather tyres, grip and temperature became a struggle to maintain as he found himself being reeled in by Julian Lay and Rookie Cup rival Chris Short in pursuit also. Whilst trying to defend from Lay, Hunt ran slightly wide in to Druids corner allowing Lay through however Lay then himself ran wide on the exit forcing Hunt wide, this allowed Short to sneak through to take both drivers. Despite efforts to take back position Hunt crossed the line in an unusual 8th place and with work to do for Race 2.
"I really was lost for words after that one. We had the best start of my career and when I saw we were catching the top 3 into turn 2 I was starting to think it might be our race to win. But then all of a sudden we started slipping backwards and I found it really hard to get a rhythm with the changing conditions. I had a long talk with Jon (Team boss, Scorpio Motorsport) straight afterwards as it really wasn't good enough on my behalf. I owe it to the guys in the team to perform better than that and I know i am capable of racing a lot harder than I did. "
Race 2: As the lights went out Hunt got himself another great start however found himself with nowhere to go at the start, A dive to the inside at Druids however promoted up the order and this time Hunt begun to settle in to the circuit now with Dry tyres on. The experience of Warriner and Mackenzie stilled posed a threat however with slick tyres Hunt was able to defend on equal terms with the challengers. With Hunt's lack of dry weather running however the challengers begun to reel the #21 Scorpio car and eventually passed.
As the last lap begun, Hunt's rival Chris Short begun closing in and it would look like the Rookie Cup rivals would go toe-to-toe in a last lap showdown. On the last corner of the last lap, Short pulled to the inside to make what could be a deciding move however couldn't capitalise and a small touch with the rear of Hunt's car would send him spinning and Hunt would cross the line to take 3rd overall in the Championship and be crowned the 2018 Rookie Cup Champion.
"I'm absolutely lost for words, to have been so successful in my first ever year of motor racing has just been a dream come true. When I saw Chris closing on me across the line for the last lap I knew he would be up for making a pass on me. I didn't want to win the Cup being passed by my rival so I made my car as wide as possible on the defense and it paid off.
If you had told me a couple of years ago that I was going to achieve all this I would have laughed and dreamed but now its just surreal and the start of something big I promise you all of that!"
Hunt will return for the 2019 Radical SR1 Cup with Scorpio Motorsport and will be aiming to now fight for the overall title of Radical SR1 Champion. 2019 Calendar to be revealed soon.