Dean Smith - Snetterton QualifyingDean Smith recorded his and Manor Competition’s fourth pole position start of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship at Snetterton in Norfolk today, Saturday, 1st August, as the 2007 category Vice-Champion bids for more podiums, and possibly wins, in rounds 13 and 14 tomorrow.

Lining up third on the grid for the first of the weekend’s races thanks to a time of 1m05.187 seconds (107.79mph), the 21-year-old was on course to take the round 13 pole position until he was blocked at Russell Chicane on his quickest lap. Competitors then lost the final few minutes of running in the first qualifying session following a nasty accident involving Finnish driver Matias Laine.

In the round 14 period, Smith was determined to seal the top spot and he did so in fine style with a best lap of 1m04.851 seconds (108.35mph). Importantly, for both of Sunday’s Formula Renault UK races, Smith will start ahead of championship leader Oli Webb.

David McDonald enjoyed one of his best days of the season so far with two very good performances in qualifying, the Surrey teenager lapping in 1m05.236 seconds (107.71mph) in the first session to grab sixth on the grid for round 13. In session two, he went even better with the fifth fastest time of 1m05.301 seconds (107.61mph) and is well placed to mount a maiden podium challenge.

Single-seater rookie Alice Powell starts 14th and 12th for the two races after posting laps of 1m05.591 seconds (107.13mph) and 1m05.625 seconds (107.07mph) respectively in the two sessions. Thomas Hylkema , meanwhile, will line up an uncharacteristic 18th on the grid for round 13 but in a more representative ninth position for round 14 following a best lap of 1m05.452 seconds (107.36mph).

Round 13 of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship is scheduled to begin at 09.50 tomorrow, Sunday, 2nd August, with round 14 expected to follow at around 15.45. The second of the weekend’s races is set to be screened live on Freeview, cable and digital satellite channel ITV4.

2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship Standings (after Rd12):
2nd Dean Smith, 260pts; 11th David McDonald, 127pts; 14th Thomas Hylkema, 78pts; 20th Alice Powell, 52pts

2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK ‘Graduate Cup’ Standings (after Rd12):
7th Alice Powell, 52pts

2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Team Standings (after Rd12):
3rd Manor Competition, 417pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.