UNI-Virtuosi Racing enjoy dream start in opening round of FIA Formula Two Championship
- Credit: Archant
UNI-Virtuosi Racing had a dream start to the 2019 FIA Formula Two Championship when lead driver Luca Ghiotto claimed pole position and a race victory to lead the series after the opening round in Bahrain.
The Attleborough based team's qualifying strategy proved effective, waiting until the last minute to send out the Italian driver whose final flying lap secured the top spot.
'It was a fantastic lap from Luca and to be on pole in our debut as UNI-Virtuosi is a great start,' said team manager Andy Roche.
The opening race didn't go as well for Ghiotto who suffered a clutch problem at the start and fell back to sixth place from which he used all of his experience to fight back to finish in second place.
'The frustration is bigger than the satisfaction,' remarked Ghiotto post race.
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Lining up in seventh place for race two the local team decided on an ambitious strategy, to pit for new tyres, even though Ghiotto had swept into the lead.
'It was quite scary to see if it would work,' added Ghiotto who dropped to 14th place after his stop but he carved his way back to the front for his second series victory.
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The local team's second driver, newcomer Guan Yu Zhou, struggled to post a good qualifying lap but fought his way up the order to finish race one in tenth place, and post the fastest lap, and then narrowly missed out on a podium place in race two.
'Fantastic way to start the season,' declared a jubilant Roche.
Jeremy Clark won his race to take part in the opening HSCC 70s Roadsport Championship race on Saturday by finishing a long winter rebuild on his championship winning Lotus Elan in the Donington paddock Friday evening.
However, the Attleborough racer was unable to take up his third place qualifying slot when the Lotus' engine sprung a terminal oil leak moments before the race.
'The connection to the dash board oil pressure gauge fractured,' explained the local racer. 'It was a specialised part and not an 'ebay special' which make it all the more frustrating.'
Meanwhile, Fressingfield Ferrari 308GTB racer John Dickson would start from pole position having snatched top spot with his last flying lap.
On the run to the opening corner Dickson held off the fast starting Porsche 911 of John Williams and then had to defend his place, mid race, from the fast closing Lotus Europa of Will Leverett.
'I was under a little pressure from Will but managed to keep his challenge in check with a better run through the traffic,' admitted the race winner who also claimed fasted lap to complete a perfect meeting for the local driver.
The Classic Sports Car Club starts off a busy Snetterton motor racing season this weekend with a 12 race programme catering for machinery as diverse as Lotus Elan's to Smart cars.
Malcolm Johnson and his Lotus Europa will be a leading contender in the Group 2 Swinging Sixties race, which the Norwich racer led last year until the might of American muscle breezed past in the form of Daniel Williamson's Chevrolet Covette and the Chevrolet Camaro of Ray Barrow.
Carl Chambers is the current Turbo Tin Tops champion but he didn't have the best of times when he contested last year's race with the Weybread racer retiring his Peugeot 208 GTi in an event which was easily won by the Mark Smith/James Moulton-Smith BMW M3.
Watch out for Billy Nairn's Snetterton Speedshop run Mini Cooper S in the Classic K race who is out for revenge after hitting problems last year, which dropped him out of a podium place, when Luke Wos' Turner took the spoils.
Brandon's Peter Challis will be a leading contender in the New Millennium event with his Arrowpak Porsche 997 but may find the trio of Ginetta G50's difficult to overcome.
Racing starts on Saturday at 1.35pm and resumes five minutes later on Sunday.