Will Hunt’s Championship challenge came to a grinding halt in heart-breaking circumstances this weekend as the #21 Scorpio SR1 fell victim to reliability issues forcing a DNF in what was arguably going to be a first victory for Hunt in his motorsport career.
Drama began in Friday’s Free Practise session when the rear suspension of the car failed during the flat out ‘Bomb-Hole’ corner resulting in a high speed off into Corum. Initial inspection confirmed that the rear Coils has ejected from the car, costing the team vital testing time to get the car ready for the final practice run.
Qualifying on Saturday begun in the most challenging conditions of the season with extreme heavy rain being the factor. Levelling out the playing field and giving Hunt a chance to shine in conditions naturally suited. However, with conditions continuing to worsen and cars coming off every lap and even a safety car deployment Hunt only managed to squeeze in 3 flying laps achieving a 3rd place start for the races.
“Honestly, it was the most difficult conditions I have faced; we were getting loss-of-traction on the back straight when you expect to be on full throttle with standing water everywhere. With everyone having issues we could only get in 3 laps which wasn’t ideal, but we will take second row on the grid and make the most of it for the race”
Race 1: Scorpio had opted to run a wet setup for the race as conditions seemed to be drying, but still extremely slippery as others had decided to run dry setups on the hope the track would come to them. From the start Hunt made a superb move around the outside of three cars and was sizing up a move on the race leader, Stoney by Turn 3. An early mistake by Stoney near the end of the lap almost gifted Hunt the race lead as the two tussled for position. By lap 3 Hunt had caught up to within a second of Stoney and beginning to size up a move, when, suddenly on the pit straight, the #21 SR1 came to a dramatic halt with no power. What was almost certain to be a challenge for his first ever race Win ended in utter heartbreak for the Brighton Based driver.
“Im absolutely gutted, I had given the start of the race absolutely everything I had, and putting the car on the ragged limit and it was showing. To have to stop the car midway through the race and watch from the side-lines is always upsetting when you’re battling for the lead. But this is racing and these things happen so we need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and do ourselves proud in Race 2. I’m passionate about my racing and I take this as a chance to prove what I’m capable of when these sort of things happen.”
Race 2: With conditions all but dry to start the team voted to go for a full dry setup despite threatening clouds above. Hunt made another blinding start moving up the inside of second place Warriner into Turn 1 and begun charging down Stoney immediately. On lap 2 the rain began to cover the Norfolk circuit and the challenge to find the most grip begun, Stoney took advantage of this and begun to edge a lead whilst Hunt tried to achieve similar pace. Not too long after however Warriner begun to find pace and forced Hunt onto the defensive in what from then on proved to be race of defence for Will, eventually losing position and finding himself in a tussle with a heard of Radical SR1’s. Crossing the line at the end Hunt came home in a closely battled 5th Position after heading wide at Bomb-Hole onto the wet grass allowing a gaggle of cars to slide through.
“Once the rain came down it was a real test of skill. I had planned to use Stoney as my guide through the initial phase but once he had made a gap it looked like I was setting the lines for the guys behind who took advantage of my (sometimes) experimental lines. Dropping a couple of positions at Bomb Hole wasn’t ideal and once I fell into the train of cars I struggled to get into a rhythm when I found myself defending hard. We will have to regroup after this one now with a long break until Donington Park and come back fighting stronger.”