MOTORSPORT: Young Buckingham driver Anton Spires (pictured left) had an impressive weekend competing in the MSVR Blast in the Park Monoposto Championship at Donington driving for Kingdom Motorsport in a new Formula Renault.
Spires was competing against 18 competitors including six Formula 3 Dallaras which would have a straight line power advantage.
Spires, who is backed by AA DriveTech and www.Booost Oxygen.com, was driving a new car which was only completed late last Wednesday night and underwent a limited testing programme at Donington the following day.
Saturday was overcast but dry for qualifying and Spires qualified in fifth in 1:10.373 seconds, average speed 101.24 mph and was only headed by the Formula 3 Dallaras of Peter Venn, Tony Bishop, Malcolm Scott and Richard Purcell. Spires said: “They just have too much straight line speed - it’s annoying, I can close up on the corners only for them to drive away from me on the straight.”
The weather conditions remained the same for the race on Saturday.
The power of the Formula 3s had the advantage of the start line which meant Spires losing a place to Steve Patania by the time they reached Redgate and throughout the first three laps.
On lap four due to an incident the safety car was deployed for three laps.
Spires needed a good re-start to ensure the Dallara of Russ Giles didn’t use the power of the Formula 3 car to get the jump on him.
The re-start for Spires was good and he set off in pursuit of the Dallaras’ ahead but was unable to overcome the power advantage. Spires remained in a very creditable sixth place to the end.
Sunday’s qualifying was held in near storm conditions, heavy rain, wind and temperatures of 6 degrees which felt much colder with the wind chill factor.
Overnight Shaun Morris, Spires’ race engineer, had set the car up to wet settings.
The youngster’s driving skills suited the conditions and he qualified an excellent 2nd.
Spires said: ‘the aquaplaning and high winds made the car unstable in a straight line and made lap times 21 seconds slower than the day before.
“I wish the drivers on the M1 would realise it’s important to drive slower in these conditions! I wouldn’t have seen so many crashes on the way to the circuit this morning.”
The conditions were worse for the race with more standing water on the track than in qualifying, Spires made a good start but couldn’t defend against Jim Brockley’s Ralt RT3 and was in third place when the field completed the first lap in a ball of spray. Robbie Watts led in the Formula 3 Lola. Brockley had a 2.3 second advantage over Spires which decreased over the next seven laps.
On lap 8 Spires passed Brockley into second and these were the final positions.
The next rounds of the MSVR Monoposto championship are at Silverstone over the weekend of May 12/13. Spires and the team feel there is more to come from the car in a dry set up and will be testing either today, Friday or the following Friday, May 11, whichever day is forecast to be the drier.