BARNES STORMS TO FIRST FPA WINS

2nd July 2006

Free Practice

The Brands Hatch DTM weekend began with an early morning free practice session for Formula Palmer Audi, which was held in warm and sunny conditions.

It was South African driver Chris Hyman who topped the timesheets, ahead of Jon Barnes with Viktor Jensen in third. James Wingfield, who was in second position in the championship going into the weekend was tenth in the session, just over a second off the pace.

Barnes stayed out on circuit for a couple more laps than both Hyman and Jensen, and he used the time to check the car setup and tyre pressures in the hot conditions.

Qualifying 1

The first qualifying session was held in very hot conditions on Friday afternoon. Barnes lead the cars out onto the circuit, but he encountered traffic on his first flying lap and decided to head straight for the pitlane to wait for a gap in the traffic.

While the other drivers pounded around the circuit for lap after lap, Barnes simply sat in pitlane waiting for the perfect track conditions to set a quick time.

With 14 minutes of the session remaining, Jon blasted out of the pits onto a clear track and proceeded to set a time that was half a second faster than the best time so far, set by Viktor Jensen.

Barnes returned to the pitlane having completed just 9 flying laps and he decided to sit out the rest of the session to save the single set of tyres, which had to last for the whole weekend.

Other drivers went back out onto circuit, including Viktor Jensen who eventually snatched pole position back from Barnes with just 8 minutes of the session remaining.

Barnes was very pleased with his qualifying performance, "The car is feeling great so far! It's a total change from the last time out at Spa. As soon as I got in the car today something just clicked, I feel very confident.

"I am pleased with the way that this first qualifying session has gone. My game plan was to get myself onto the front row of the grid but also to do the least amount of laps as possible on the tyres to save them for the rest of the weekend. Viktor and Chris ended up doing almost 20 more laps than me which should give me a good tyre advantage once we get into the races"

Top Six Results:

Pos

No

Driver

Time

Gap

Laps

1

8

Viktor Jensen

45.374

24

2

32

Jon Barnes

45.502

0.128

9

3

21

Chris Hyman

45.635

0.261

28

4

13

James Wingfield

45.853

0.479

26

5

4

Joshua Southall

46.017

0.643

32

6

38

Giacomo Petrobelli

46.178

0.804

23

Qualifying 2

Saturday morning's qualifying session was almost a carbon copy of the session from the day before. Barnes came into the pits after only a couple of laps due to traffic problems and waited until near the end of the session before going out on circuit and beating Viktor Jensen to pole position.

Jensen attempted to respond to Barnes's pole lap but in the dying moments of the session and while on a flying lap, he hit the back of Italian Giorgio Rosa's car on the way into Clearways. Jensen's car was launched 8ft into the air and then came crashing back down to earth, ripping two large holes in the car's tub in the process.

Jensen escaped from the wreckage a little shaken up but unhurt. When the car was returned to the paddock, the FPA engineers assesed the damage but were not confident that the car could not be repaired in time for first race.

Top Six Results:

Pos

No

Driver

Time

Gap

Laps

1

32

Jon Barnes

45.083

9

2

8

Viktor Jensen

45.154

0.71

13

3

13

James Wingfield

45.488

0.405

17

4

21

Chris Hyman

45.539

0.456

21

5

38

Giacomo Petrobelli

45.832

0.749

20

6

77

Tom Haines

45.834

0.751

24

Race 1

Jon Barnes capitalised on the fact that Viktor Jensen wasn't taking part in the first of the weekend's Formula Palmer Audi races as he clinched his first FPA victory to become joint championship leader in the points standings. Chris Hyman scored a strong second place, while James Wingfield kept up his 100% podium finish rate in third.

Jensen had scored pole for race one but an incident with Giorgio Rosa in Saturday's race two qualifying session damaged the tub of his car, putting him out of the race several hours before it had even started. That effectively put Barnes on pole and he made the most of it with a great start as Hyman and Wingfield slotted into second and third.

Behind the front three, Giacomo Petrobelli's race started well as he got up to fourth at the start before he was passed by Josh Southall, Tom Haines, Aaron Steele and Bruce Hodges, who would finish in fourth to eighth places respectively. Petrobelli would eventually finish 10th, behind Howard Spooner.

There were several spinners in the heat; Bill Knowles spun at Paddock Hill Bend and Barry Walsh spun in avoidance; Knowles got back on track but Walsh ended up in the gravel. Ludovico Manfredi and Wesley Fongenie came together at Druids, as Manfredi tried to get ahead. Giorgio Rosa was an innocent party in the incident as he collected Manfredi's car.

Barnes had built up a sizeable lead in the opening laps of the race, but all of his hard work was undone when the safety car was deployed so that the damaged cars could be removed from the various gravel traps around the circuit. However, Barnes timed the race restart to absolute perfection, opening up a 1.5 second gap over the next lap as he eventually went on to a comfortable 5 second victory.

Jon was pleased to get his first FPA win under his belt. "It's been a little while coming," he commented. "I have been working really hard on every area of my driving since the last races at Spa, where I was a little disappointed with my results and my pace. I meticulously sifted through every piece of data from Spa so that I could learn what went wrong and so that I could improve. I was very confident and quick as soon as I jumped in the car this weekend. Now is the perfect weekend to take my first win, in front of some very important people and the DTM teams."

Top Six Results:

Pos

No

Driver

Time

Gap

Laps

1

32

Jon Barnes

24:54.100

30

2

21

Chris Hyman

24:59.042

4.942

30

3

13

James Wingfield

25:01.549

7.449

30

4

4

Joshua Southall

25:10.866

16.766

30

5

77

Tom Haines

25:15.791

21.691

30

6

19

Aaron Steele

25:17.474

23.374

30

Race 2

Jon Barnes took a second victory at Brands Hatch after a tough battle with Viktor Jensen, who had been unable to race a day earlier due to a qualifying shunt. Chris Hyman took third place, while James Wingfield finished off the podium for the first time this year in fourth.

Jensen's qualifying damage meant that a mammoth effort would be needed to get him onto the grid on Sunday. The FPA mechanics delivered though, as Phil Ellis explained:

"It normally takes two weeks to build an FPA car and we built one in 24 hours, which gives you an idea of how much hard work was involved. All the guys were just fantastic, we've never ever built a new chassis before at a race meeting overnight. If it had been a carbon fibre chassis it would have been the end of Viktor's weekend, but because it's not you can basically build a new one."

Barnes got a good start away from pole and Jensen's new car slotted into second place behind, but the race was far from over.

Barnes was in control over the first sixteen laps, keeping Jensen at arms length until lap 17, when he boosted past Barnes on the run upto Paddock Hill. Barnes refused to give up though and got back ahead four laps later with a bold move around the outside into Surtees. The fighting meant an interesting moment for John Bell as the leaders came past on either side!

The Indy circuit proved to be a tough challenge, with several spinners leading to a red flag five laps from the end. Derrick Collin lost control on the exit of Paddock Hill Bend and Mark Powell went off at Clearways.

Top Six Results:

Pos

No

Driver

Time

Gap

Laps

1

32

Jon Barnes

19:27.444

25

2

8

Viktor Jensen

19:28.226

0.782

25

3

21

Chris Hyman

19:38.553

11.109

25

4

13

James Wingfield

19:39.789

12.345

25

5

38

Giacomo Petrobelli

19:49.571

22.127

25

6

77

Tom Haines

19:49.852

22.408

25

Race 3

After eight of 15 rounds, the 2006 Formula Palmer Audi championship title chase couldn't have been any closer as the series left Brands Hatch with Viktor Jensen and Jon Barnes tied on points.

Jensen claimed pole position for race three with the fastest lap in race two and capitalised to turn it into an early race lead. Barnes got into second with Chris Hyman third and James Wingfield fourth.

Jensen and Barnes edged away from the rest of the pack over the first few laps, but a safety car period with just 12 laps remaining closed the whole field back up again.

Barnes stuck to Jensen like glue at the race restart, as they once again opened out a sizeable lead. With just 5 laps remaining Barnes looked ideally placed to challenge Jensen for the the race victory, however, gearbox problems over the final few laps forced him to settle for second.

Barnes was still pleased with his weekends' work, "It was a shame to have the gearbox problems at the end of the race, as I had saved five overboosts for the final five laps so that I could try to get past Viktor. The gearbox problems meant that I had to settle for second but I am delighted to have taken my first FPA wins this weekend. To be joint leader in the championship at the halfway stage is fantastic - I really hope I can find the sponsorship needed so that I can enter the remaining races in the championship."

Top Six Results:

Pos

No

Driver

Time

Gap

Laps

1

8

Viktor Jensen

25:46.874

30

2

32

Jon Barnes

25:51.926

5.052

30

3

21

Chris Hyman

25:59.094

12.220

30

4

12

Bruce Hodges

26:04.649

17.775

30

5

38

Giacomo Petrobelli

26:06.258

19.384

30

6

77

Tom Haines

26:07.406

20.532

30

ENDS

Jon Barnes Racing 2017