April 8, 2019
From the off it was evident Tommy was going to be fighting for top five positions with the possibility of a podium too. But on his first race weekend in the class being consistent and picking up points was the main aim for the driver who has just jumped up from Karting.
Racing the Indy layout, the times were extremely close in qualifying! Although there were twelve drivers on the grid, ten of those were split by less than four tenths in qualifying with Tommy right in the thick of it. Finishing just 0.154 seconds off pole Tommy qualified fifth for race one with his second fastest time just 0.178 seconds off pole leaving him sixth on the grid.
Race one saw Tommy get off to a difficult start dropping back to seventh on the opening lap of the race. On what is the hardest track of the season to overtake on Tommy now had a big task on his hands, but he moved straight up to sixth on lap two before moving up to fifth three laps later. As the race entered its second half Tommy pulled off another move to get himself now into fourth place, which is where he’d go on to comfortably finish.
The reversed grid second race would see Tommy start from third on the grid with a podium the aim. However, any chances of that happening would unfortunately disappear before the field crossed the line for the first time. A mistake at Surtees saw Tommy brush the barriers forcing him to come into the pits. Quick work from the team saw Tommy back out on track by the completion of lap two, but he would still be limping around in comparison to the rest of the field meaning is tenth place finish was a very credible one!
Eager to bounce back in race three Tommy was quick off the line moving straight up to fifth on the opening lap of the final race of the weekend. Although that is where Tommy would stay for the rest of the race it didn’t come without pressure from teammate Bart Horsten. It took a long time, but Tommy did eventually relieve that pressure in the latter stages of the race to take fifth place and solid points away from Brands Hatch.
The results leave Tommy sixth in the championship with 23 points.
Similar to his teammate Bart Horsten was always thrown into the top five battle after his impressive pace on Friday practice. Improving every time he went on track Bart would be looking to improve with every race and if not for an unfortunate second race there’s a very good chance he would have done that!
Qualifying saw Bart just two tenths off the quickest time with both his fastest and second fastest laps. But with the field so closely matched this would leave him down in seventh place for races one and three. Had Bart set his ideal lap time he would have found himself fifth on the grid for race one, but seventh was far from a disaster and could set him up nicely for the reversed grid second race.
The first race saw Bart on the back foot early on after a difficult start to the race saw him drop to ninth place on the first lap. But two moves in as many laps quickly saw him back to where he started and he was soon chasing pole sitter Joe Turney. Bart eventually passed Turney and now set his sights on Louis Foster and a top five finish. With just a handful of laps remaining Bart would silence any rumours that Brands is a hard track to overtake on after pulling off a fantastic move on the brakes into paddock hill to take a well-deserved fifth place finish!
The second race would see Bart start from the outside of the front row of the grid! Any sign of nerves quickly disappeared with the Australian making a fantastic start to lead after the opening lap. His time in the lead would unfortunately be short lived with Turney coming past on lap three and just after he had lost second to Zane Maloney on lap six Bart’s race would end after he slid off line at Clearways dipping the left-rear tyre on the white painted lines and spinning before coming to rest beached in the gravel. It would be a disappointing end to the race with a podium a strong possibility up until that point.
The third and final race saw Bart make a good start jumping up to sixth from seventh on the grid. The race would see no changes of position for Bart, but he would be tested with race one winner Luke Browning hassling him all the way to the flag. Bart started by pressurizing teammate, Foster for fifth but his attention soon turned to holding on to sixth which he would do successfully. An impressive drive given Browning’s results over the weekend.
With the DNF in race two Bart now sits eighth in the championship, but he showed real signs of promise at the opening weekend of the season!