UK: David Epton Thruxton preview
PODIUM EPTON'S AIM FOR FORMULA RENAULT SWANSONG Formula Renault UK front-runner David Epton has the podium in his sights ahead of the final two rounds of the 2007 season at Thruxton Circuit on 13th/14th October, an event which is expected to mark ...
PODIUM EPTON'S AIM FOR FORMULA RENAULT SWANSONG
Formula Renault UK front-runner David Epton has the podium in his sights ahead of the final two rounds of the 2007 season at Thruxton Circuit on 13th/14th October, an event which is expected to mark the Apotex Scorpio Motorsport driver's last appearance at the wheel of an FR 2.0 car.
With a graduation into sportscar racing the sole focus for 2008, David is looking on rounds 19 and 20 of the current Formula Renault UK campaign as his final races in the championship and as something of a Thruxton specialist, the 26-year-old is confident he'll be able to bow-out of the series in style.
Although budget restrictions have meant he has only contested five of the nine Formula Renault UK events to be held so far this year, the Preston-based racer did actually make his first appearance of the season at Thruxton during the two rounds back in May and impressed greatly on what was his maiden outing in the new-for-2007 specification car.
Achieving a brace of top seven results, one following an enforced fight-back from the tail of the field having been pitched into a spin by a rival during the early stages of the race, David underlined his racing pedigree at the ultra-fast Hampshire venue, a circuit still classed as his 'home' track having been raised in nearby Fleet.
Setting the fourth fastest race lap in the first of the May weekend's outings, just a couple of 10ths of a second shy of race-winner Dean Smith's pace, David was also named THB Clowes Driver of the Day for his outstanding performance in the second encounter.
Since becoming Vice-Champion of the Formula Palmer Audi series in 2005, David hasn't enjoyed the best of luck. However, the Honeywell Aerospace-backed racer is confident next weekend's action could well bring his most successful results in a Formula Renault.
As a terrific team player, David is also hoping to score heavily for Loughborough-based Apotex Scorpio as the team bids to seal its strongest ever season with third position in the entrant's championship. With multiple champion team Manor Competition very close behind, strong finishes from David and team-mate Will Bratt are going to be crucial.
"Hopefully we can finish the year on a high with good results and get the team some points for the entrants battle with Manor", said David, "Given what we did at the start of the year in our first race back, and knowing Thruxton as well as I do, I'm confident we can enjoy a solid weekend and be around the top six again for sure.
"We set the fourth fastest race lap during the first Thruxton race back in May and having enjoyed good results there in the past I'm sure we can do well. Last time it was my first outing in the new car with the upgraded aerodynamic package and considering how competitive we were, and knowing what I know now, we should be strong."
David, who is a qualified BAE Systems accountant, certainly deserves success for his Formula Renault UK swansong and with sportscars looking to be where his racing future lies, to sign off in single-seaters with a podium would be a very popular result.
"Basically I just want to have two good results and enjoy the weekend", he added, "It's almost certain this will be my last weekend in a Formula Renault so I want to go out on a high. If I can achieve a podium finish, which I don't think is unrealistic at all, it would be absolutely fantastic.
"As soon as the weekend is over though, the hard work will really begin as we start to try and put sponsorship deals together for 2008. Unfortunately this year was affected by a lack of budget but we hope to be able to raise the funds early ahead of next year to give us the best possible chance of moving into sportscars -- that's definitely the goal."
Qualifying for the 19th round of the 2007 Formula Renault UK Championship at Thruxton is scheduled to take place at 10.20 on Saturday, 13th October, with the round 20 session expected to commence at 14.40.
Both races will take place on Sunday, 14th October, with the first 16-lap encounter timetabled to begin at 12.20 and the final race of the season set to start at 17.00.
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