Car racing rookie Max Cornelius continued his seriously impressive debut season in fine style at Castle Combe in Wiltshire over the weekend, 17th/18th July, by taking a fantastic double victory and a further top three finish during the latest instalment of the Autosport Young Guns.
From his last six races, the 16-year-old has taken an outstanding tally of six podiums – including five richly deserved wins – and is rapidly marking himself out as a young driver with a huge amount of potential in the realms of single-seater racing.
“It’s been another fantastic weekend, I’m really pleased with the result”, said the Southwick-based youngster, “It would have been incredible to win all three races again but we can’t be greedy! Five wins from six races is a fantastic total though, I can’t wait for the next rounds now at Brands Hatch.”
During Saturday morning’s qualifying session at his most local track, Max was on course to take pole position but after easing off to preserve the life of his tyres he slipped to third with a best time of 1m07.402 seconds (98.81mph) – just two 10ths of a second shy of the top spot.
At the start of the weekend’s opening encounter on Saturday afternoon, the Somerset youngster quickly moved into second position and at the end of lap one he was just 0.8 seconds behind race leader Patryk Szczerbinski. On lap two though, he was pushed back to third by Leopold Ringbom
Max continued well in the final rostrum spot but did unfortunately lose ground to the drivers ahead on lap nine following a spin as he battled with the car’s softer suspension set-up. Remaining in third to the finish on lap 18, he at least secured his fourth podium in as many races having taken a hat-trick of victories at Pembrey in South Wales during the previous event at the end of June.
It wasn’t long before Max hit the winning trail once again though and during race two on Sunday morning, the Motaworld Racing teenager took his fourth victory of 2010 after mastering the damp conditions. Opting for stiffer suspension settings to suit his driving style, Max did a superb job.
Moving from third to second immediately, he was then passed by the fast-starting, and vastly more experienced, Jake Rattenbury. Slipping back behind Szczerbinski too, Max fought wheel-to-wheel for third through Folly Corner and up to Quarry where he made the place his own before usurping Rattenbury at Camp for second position.
Closing on race leader Ringbom, Max pressured him into a mistake on lap five at Camp and duly moved into the lead. Building a substantial cushion over the remaining 12 laps, he cruised to an eventual winning margin of almost 15 seconds – a truly dominant drive.
Heading into the dry third encounter thoroughly determined for more success, the St Laurence School pupil quickly made headway from third on the grid and with an incredibly bold move he seized the lead around the outside at Quarry. Pumping in fastest lap after fastest lap, with a best of 1m06.618 seconds (99.97mph), he went on to win by 3.3 seconds from Szczerbinski.
Max added: “I wasn’t comfortable with the softer suspension settings for the damp conditions, I wanted the car to run stiffer and as soon as we changed that everything felt much better. It was good to learn more about how the car reacts in different conditions, I’ve gained a lot of experience this weekend and to take such good results too is a major bonus.”
During the three week break between the Pembrey and Castle Combe race meetings, Max’s family were able to secure some much-needed and very gratefully received additional support from an array of local sponsors to ensure his superb debut season of car racing could continue.