Will Hunt suffered yet more misfortune in the penultimate round of the 2019 Radical SR1 Cup at Donington Park (20-21 September), but remains hopeful of a strong finish in the championship.
A DNF was accompanied by a solid top five result in the East Midlands, therefore the Brighton, West Sussex racer still has a mathematical shot at second place in the standings with two races remaining at Snetterton next month.
Two days of testing on the extended Donington Park Grand Prix circuit enabled Scorpio Motorsport to experiment with a wide array of setups and, to Hunt’s surprise, the fastest was one of the more challenging configurations.
Hunt worked on adapting his driving technique to suit and improved significantly, only to be stymied by a loss of power, which his Scorpio Motorsport team rectified during a late shift in the Donington Park paddock on Friday (20 September) night.
All Radical SR1 Cup contenders had been tightly bunched in testing, therefore the emphasis was on qualifying towards the sharp end of the grid and maximising the race starts.
Hunt was still finding his feet with his new car setup in qualifying and, with hundredths of a second splitting the pack, placed fifth and fourth for races one and two respectively.
However, as one the fastest and most consistent drivers on the SR1 Cup grid, the 22-year old was confident he could get the better of his nearest rivals and challenge for the podium over a race distance.
A sensational start to race one on Donington’s shorter National layout saw Hunt rise from fifth to fourth through the first turn at Redgate before executing a bold move around the outside of the third-placed car as the field tumbled at high speed down the Craner Curves.
His amended setup proved effective on Donington’s fast, flowing confines, but he was vulnerable to overtakes at the exit of Redgate and was soon pushed back out of the podium places by a resurgent rival.
However, supreme tyre management enabled Hunt to stay in touch with the eventual third-place finisher, until a snapped throttle cable brought his challenge to an abrupt halt with only three laps remaining.
Critically, the DNF cost him third position in the championship standings, and he was determined to recoup some of the lost points in the second SR1 Cup encounter of the day.
From fourth on the grid, Hunt got a mighty launch and stuck to the conventional racing line as all those ahead of him darted for the inside on the approach to the first braking zone at Redgate.
The Scorpio Motorsport racer briefly held P1 but was shuffled back to third at the exit of the right-hander, before getting another run at second position out of the Old Hairpin.
Hunt was both aggressor and defender as a three-way scrap for third developed, but was forced wide onto the dirt and emerged from the skirmish in fourth, which he maintained until late in the race.
Fifth at the chequered flag, Hunt subsequently lies fourth in the championship heading into the final round of the 2019 Radical SR1 Cup at Snetterton, where he will have a chance of finishing as high as second in the points.
“It has been a fairly forgettable weekend in terms of results, but while it’s frustrating to have fallen further in the championship, we take a lot of positives away,” said Hunt. “We were unfortunate to have notched up a second DNF in as many weekends – we’re not in the habit of retiring from races – but we found a setup that we’re comfortable with and are going into the final round of the season at Snetterton with a mathematical shot at regaining some positions in the championship standings.
“Following the DNF at Donington, we have to finish inside the top three in both Snetterton races. We were second quickest on the Radical SR1 Cup’s previous visit to the circuit in July and we have nothing to lose by taking a few risks in a bid to end the season with a career-best result. I’m not going down without a fight!”