DANIELS­SON’S TRIBUTE ACT

Autosport (UK) - - DONNELLY RETROSPECTIVE -

When it be­came clear af­ter a trip to Willi Dungl’s clinic that noth­ing more could be done for his legs, Martin Donnelly started his own team, which be­came a reg­u­lar on the UK ju­nior-formula scene in the 1990s with fu­ture is­port man Gavin Jones at the helm.

To­day, Donnelly rates ex-jaguar and Prost Formula 1 driver Lu­ciano Burti as the best – “by miles” – of his Martin Donnelly Rac­ing alumni, who also cover BTCC cham­pion Jason Plato, DTM race win­ner Peter Dum­breck and fu­ture Champ Car racer Mario

Haber­feld, win­ner of the

Bri­tish Grand Prix-sup­port­ing Formula 3 race with MDR in 1997.

But it was af­ter MDR wound down and Donnelly linked up with Comtec’s Jonathan Lewis that the great­est suc­cess of his man­age­rial ca­reer ar­rived, guid­ing Alx Daniels­son to an un­likely ti­tle in the 2006 Formula Re­nault 3.5 se­ries (be­low).

Hav­ing man­aged no bet­ter than fourth in the first half of the sea­son, Comtec was on the brink of go­ing un­der af­ter los­ing two tubs at Spa, but a small change in style turned Daniels­son into an un­stop­pable force rem­i­nis­cent of Donnelly’s break­out year in 1988, prompt­ing jibes from ri­val teams.

“Peo­ple thought, ‘They’re cheat­ing, they’re do­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent’, but it was him just think­ing be­cause he had new tyres on that he could move his brak­ing point five or 10 me­tres down the track,” says Donnelly.

“He wasn’t in con­trol of get­ting the car stopped on the apex and was slower on the gas get­ting out. Once he re­alised that, the next three races he was on pole.”

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