By Full Contact News and Views
Bouncing back impressively from a problematic opening weekend of the season at Monza in Italy last month, the 18-year-old concluded his ‘home’ event inside the coveted championship top three and just five points shy of second place.
Qualifying on pole position for the second of the weekend’s two encounters by 0.4 seconds, after conquering the tricky wet conditions which blighted the first couple of days, the Caterham Racing Academy driver controlled race two from the front despite intense pressure.
Making a good launch, Seb darted across to the right-hand side of the track to defend the inside line from Fortec Motorsport team-mate Ben Barnicoat and went on to build an advantage of 1.4 seconds by the start of lap five.
Although Callan O’Keeffe closed in during the second half of the race, Seb didn’t put a wheel wrong and was able to pick the lines he wanted while keeping the South African at arm’s length. Taking the chequered flag on lap 13 half a second ahead, the TAG Heuer ambassador, Jack Wills ‘Young Briton’ and Elite Cymru-supported driver was absolutely elated as he crossed the line punching the air.
“We’ve had so much bad luck so far this year, I’m so pleased it’s turned today – it’s absolutely fantastic to get the win”, said the delighted NEC rookie, “The season starts now for us, even with a bad first few races we can still go on from here and challenge for the championship. We’re definitely back in contention, we just need to focus now and get the most from the car. I wanted to change the car quite dramatically between Saturday and today to help make the rear tyres stay with us and to make the car more predictable. Today the car was unbelievable, the set-up we had for the second race is what we need for the rest of the season.”
In the wet third round on Saturday, 24th May, an unfortunate spin at mid-distance while dicing for position prevented what looked set to be a potential top six finish – although 14th position still delivered some important points for the championship standings.
Next on the 2014 Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup schedule is a visit to Hockenheim in Germany three weeks from now, over the weekend 14th/15th June. In a huge NEC field so far this season, an astonishing 36 drivers have scored points, but Seb sits in third position on 57 points, closing in on early pacesetter Louis Deletraz on 62. The current leader is the experienced Steijn Schothorst, in his third season of NEC racing, on 72 points.
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