A weekend of struggle for Ryuji Yamamoto
The 13th and 14th races of the Formula Renault UK Championship were held over the Easter weekend at Snetterton Circuit. Ryuji Yamamoto, entered in the series on a Nissan/NISMO scholarship was unable to get into a groove, finishing both races in 14th.
Snetterton, located near Norwich, lies approximately 300kms northeast of the capital, London, and is a circuit of 3.123kms per lap. It is a high speed track, with two long straights connected by a high speed corner, tand a maximum lap speed reaching in the region of 240kph. There are however, tricky chicanes in two spots. Drivers' skills, bravery and cornering technique are thoroughly tested here.
The temperature was surprisingly warm for the U.K. at 20 degrees when the 13th race of the season got underway at 9:40 am. Yamamoto started off well after qualifying 12th, moving up a position on the 2nd lap. Unfortunately, when he went for a shot at passing another car in the final corner of the following lap he went slightly off line, causing him to lose momentum, and dropping him to 15th. He advanced back up to 14th on lap 5, and had a tail-to-nose battle with the #3 car of Rossi (U.K.), a roughly 0.2 second difference separating the pair for nearly 10 laps. However, his engine's top speed would not rise sufficiently and although he was able to close up in the corners, he would fall behind again on the straights. He took the checkered flag after 18 laps.
From 3:40 pm, another 18-lap race got set to start, this being the 14th race of the year. Yamamoto started from 13th on the grid, but confusion at the beginning pulled him down to 18th. He upped his lap time gradually and passed 2 cars, and with leaders falling behind, finished 14th.
In the evening, Round 10 (originally scheduled for June 1st at Croft Circuit) was held, the race delayed from its regular spot on the calendar due to rain. Ryuji began in 12th place after qualifying, and finished the event 11th. Ryuji Yamamoto "I really couldn't get into my rhythm from Friday's free practice session. I recorded top times in the tests that were held last week, but the fact that the set-up was based on getting a good time may not have worked too well for us this time. There are two weeks until the next race. Between now and that time, the team and I will pursue the cause of the difficulties this weekend so we can get in the top 5 next time."