Alice Powell took the Graduate Cup win in round 12 of the Formula Renault UK Championship at Snetterton, this weekend, as well as finishing 7th and 4th outright, in the two races. This was the first time the Formula Renault Championship had raced at the new Snetterton Circuit.
In first qualifying, Alice struggled, going off the track a couple of times, and ended up only P9 on the time sheet. However, in the second qualifying, she produced a lap that put her 4th on the grid, “I am not too sure what went on in Q1, but I struggled. That was very disappointing, but Q2 was great and put me in a great position for challenging for a podium!”
For Race One, Alice got a reasonable start, but was not in a position to challenge the guy in front. From then on, the race was pretty much follow the leader, and it was only when others on front made mistakes, that Alice took the advantage to gain the position. She crossed the line only a few tenths behind 6th place.
For Race Two, she lined up in 4th place. Getting a good start, she challenged Tio Ellinas, who was in 3rd. However, at the Agostini Hairpin, Alice got hit from behind by Daniel Cammish, damaging the battery plug at the back of the car. Luckily, Alice carried on, losing not a great deal of time. On the first lap, Jack Hawksworth had a heavy impact with the safety barriers, causing the safety car to be deployed.
After 3 laps behind the safety car, the racing then continued, but oversteer at the first corner, saw Powell lose a large chunk of time from the cars in front, which meant she had to heavily defend from the cars behind her. But, she stuck at it, and managed to pull out a small gap and push to catch the guys in front.
With six laps remaining, exiting the Hamilton corner, the car lost all power for a split second, only to see the gap Alice pulled out from Cammish, close, and exiting the final corner she had a train of 3 cars right on her tail. Having thought she had seen off the attack from Cammish, her car cut out again, this time for slightly longer, allowing Oliver Rowland to pull alongside her. However, Rowland, thinking he was clear of Alice’s car, pulled over to the inside, clipping Alice’s right front wheel, causing him to go wide, which allowed Alice back through.
From then on, Alice got her head back down and pulled another small gap in 4 laps, to cross the line in 4th place, for the Manor squad and taking the Graduate Cup victory.
Speaking about the weekend, Alice commented “It has been another mixed weekend for me. I have still learnt a lot from the weekend and to come away with some decent point and the Graduate win is great! Race One, not much went on, but Race Two, kept me on my toes, especially with the car cutting out on occasions! I think I would have pulled a much bigger gap from Dan (Cammish), and even stood a chance for challenging for 2nd or 3rd if I did not had the problem, which was caused by the contact from behind at the start. Big thanks to everyone at Manor for their help, who continue to work so hard and do a great job. I am very much looking forward to Silverstone, which is in two weeks!”
Alice’s race engineer and Manor co-owner, Sarah Shaw said “After all the bad luck Alice has had so far this season it’s great to see her finally rewarded with a good result and Graduate Cup win. She drove a great race and kept a cool head, despite having to soak up enormous pressure when her car began to cut out as a result of damage to the electrics when she was hit from behind at the start”.
Alice’s next outing is in two weeks (20/21 Aug), at the Silverstone Arena Circuit. It will be support to the World Series By Renault Championship, which attracts crowds of over 100,000.