Hopes of ending a difficult season in style were dashed when Arden Motorsport driver Frank Bird couldn’t add to his points tally at the final round of the 2019 Formula Renault Eurocup Championship which made its debut visit to the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
The 20-year-old Cumbrian originally from Penrith was in confident mood ahead of the historic meeting which featured a first ever night race in the series and in the opening test, he posted 12th position out of the 20 drivers. He upped his pace as the meeting progressed to start the opening race under the floodlights in ninth place on row five of the grid.
But as so often has been the case this season, bad luck has intervened, and in the PBM, Hager, Fuchs Silkolene and Frank Bird Poultry-backed car, Frank suffered a gearbox problem on the grid which meant he had to start from pit lane and as a result ended up in 17th place at the flag.
In race two in daylight today, it looked as if Frank might add to his five points-scoring drives this season but typically once again, when it looked as if he may get a top eight finish, another competitor collided with him and although he bounced back to finish 15th, he couldn’t add to his score.
Thus, Frank ended the season in 18th place after the 20-race series with his best results being a trio ofeighth place finishes in Monza, Hungaroring and Hockenheim and a pair of tenths at Paul Ricard and Nürburgring.
Frank Bird: “It’s been another weekend where I’ve been hammered by bad luck. I had two good qualifying sessions both inside the top 10 and showed strong pace so I was feeling confident.
But then in race one I had a gearbox problem on the grid, so I had to start from pit lane which made it a pretty rubbish race. In race two, I made a good start and was up to P8 and feeling comfortable but then another driver came from nowhere and wiped me out which was very frustrating. So I’m really disappointed with the weekend, it should have been much better. Overall it has been a very tough year with ups, downs and a lot of bad luck but as always, I gave it 100%. Thanks to all my sponsors and the team and of course my dad Paul for everything as without him, this simply wouldn’t happen.”
Frank has recently been testing a GT car and hopes to announce his racing plans soon for 2020 but in the meantime, he will be in action in the PBM Ford Focus WRC when he contests next weekend’s Neil Howard Memorial Stages Rally at Oulton Park which comprises the opening round of the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship with MSVR.
Images courtesy of Dutch Photo Agency