Rookie Webb scores points on debut World Series by Renault home race
Posted on in Latest News
22 August 2011
Track: Silverstone, UK
Track length: 5.901 km (3.667 mile)
Date: Friday 19 – Sunday 21 August, 2011
Race 1: 26 laps
Qualifying: Pos: 12; Time: 1m46.087s + 1.072s
Result: Pos: 7; + 21.183s
Race 2: 25 laps
Qualifying: Pos: 13; Time: 1m46.355s + 0.976s
Result: Pos: 12; + 31.101s
British racing driver Oli Webb scored valuable championship points at his home race in the latest round of World Series by Renault this weekend, 19-21 August. Competing at the legendary Silverstone circuit, Webb finished 7th and 12th in front of a home crowd of more than 150,000 motorsport fans.
20-year old Webb showed strong potential during qualifying for Race 1, posting competitive times throughout the session around the 5.901 km circuit. Feeling increasingly comfortable with the set-up of his PONS Racing car, Webb went out for one final run but, in one of the closest grids this season, a small mistake in the middle sector meant Webb lost valuable time and ended the session 12th.
An aggressive start to Race 1 saw Webb make up two places off the line, and then holding position around the outside of Turn 1 before setting about closing down the lead group over the next few laps. Within three laps, Webb had moved up to 8th and, with clear track ahead of him, closed the gap to 7th-placed Sten Pentus by one-second per lap. Webb pressured the young Estonian for the remainder of the race but, after a tough battle, the BRDC Superstar driver crossed the line in 8th place overall, and 2nd-placed rookie driver. However, following his PONS Racing teammate, Nick Yelloly, who finished 6th, being disqualified from the standings for a technical infringement, Webb moved up to 7th.
The second qualifying session of the weekend saw the Knutsford-born star running near the top of the standings and again feeling confident with the car’s set-up. As the session neared the end, the times began to fall. However, a brief yellow flag period at the start of his final run forced Webb to back off, meaning he was unable to improve his time, ending the session 13th.
Conditions for Race 2 were warm and dry, and Webb hoped to make another strong start. However, he was immediately on the back foot as the car bogged down off the line, losing valuable time and dropping three positions. Webb managed to regain these lost places over the next five laps and, with the benefit of clear air, set a series of consecutive fastest laps and looked good for another top 10 finish.
By the time Webb made his final pit stop, he was firmly in the points, but a difficult tyre change delayed his return to the track. When he made it back out, the MSA Elite driver had slipped down the order and rejoined in 14th. Despite applying pressure to a group of three cars ahead of him, Webb was unable to make any further progress through the field. Following the disqualification of the Fortec duo Alexander Rossi and Cesar Ramos, which were found to have non-complying wheelnuts in the post-race technical checks, Webb moved up to 12th in the final race results.
Commenting on his debut home race, Webb explained: ‘We have been working really hard over these past few weeks on the set-up to make the car as competitive as possible, and I came into the weekend feeling really confident. The work really paid off as the car immediately felt great, so we didn’t lose valuable time with set-up changes. We had the strong raw speed in the car on both days, and it was great to score some more championship points The problems with the pit stop in Race 2 cost us the chance to score in both races but, overall, I think we are moving in the right direction and showing real signs of improvement.’
Webb continued: ‘I love the Silverstone circuit and have had a string of good results over the past few years, so I hoped to repeat that again this weekend. It was fantastic to see so much support, and it was great to be on the podium as 2nd-placed rookie in Race 1 in front of my home crowd, with the Union Jack on my racesuit and boots! It was a just a shame that we weren’t able to repeat that on Sunday as we definitely had the speed.’
Round Eight of Webb’s rookie World Series by Renault season continues at Paul Ricard HTTT in France over the weekend 16-18 September.