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Archive for October, 2006

Alx DanielssonAlx Danielsson made the impossible possible by claiming the World Series title after scoring a fifth place in the season finale at Barcelona.

Coming into the weekend, Danielsson was third in the championship and needed to score big – and that was just what he did. On Saturday he took maximum points by winning the race, taking pole position and setting the fastest lap of the race.

On Sunday, Alx started from third position on the grid, but his main opponents were even further back. Alx was fifth after the first lap, a position he held on to until the finish line, enough to make him overtake Spaniard Andy Soucek with four points in the overall table.

“It’s just unbelievable,” says Alx. “I really thought I was out of it after my two crashes at Spa. Everything just seemed to work against us, although we were always very quick. To end up winning this championship is a fairy tale come true.”

After the two mid-season crashes at Spa Alx was trailing championship leader Borja Garcia with 40 points and the outlook was very grim indeed.

“It took a lot of effort to even get to the next race,” says Alx. “But everyone around me gave me support when I needed it most and I really would like to thank my team, Comtec Racing, for pulling together under really difficult circumstances. They never failed to give me a great car to work with. This victory is a tribute to all the hard work everyone, Jonathan Lewis, my team boss, Roly Vincini, my engineer, and all the great guys in the team, has put in this year. This is for you.”

Alx Danielsson victory is made even more remarkable by the fact that this was Comtec Racings first season in World Series.

alxtof1.com

A Brand New team will take on the established regulars in the 2007 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star.

Newly-formed R-Tek F3 will run a multi-car operation in next year’s championship, beginning at the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport event in early February.

R-Tek will be lead by two-time Formula 3 championship winning engineer Ian Richards who, since parting ways with Team BRM at the end of the 2005 season, has been providing engineering support to both Matt Sofi and Tim Berryman in this year’s championship.

Richards has acquired a state-of-the art workshop in Northern Adelaide as well as a multi-car transporter that will double as a mobile workshop facility for the team at race meetings.

The team has also confirmed its first driver, announcing today that Sydneysider Mat Sofi will driver for R-Tek F3 throughout the 2007 championship.

Sofi has purchased the ex-Asian Formula 3 / Christian Jones Racing Dallara F304 – Mugen Honda entry and the car will be prepared and run out of the R-Tec operation for the entire season in a bid to win the championship.

The team has an extensive testing program in place with the 21-year-old driver in preparation for an attack on the 2007 championship title.

Team Owner Ian Richards said that he was excited to be providing a new service to Formula 3 competitors competing in the Australian championship.

“I had essentially retired from the sport, but after being around the championship this season I recognized that there was a need for a team to provide a service to private car owners to help them get the maximum out of their equipment,” said Richards.

“R-Tek F3 will provide a full service to our drivers without having to go to the expense of owning our own cars. We have plans in place to grow the program and we are very excited about the potential for the future of the operation and the championship.”

Sofi, who has completed a partial campaign this year’s championship, will run his recently purchased ex-Christian Jones Motorsport F304 Mugen Honda car with R-Tek this year and said that he was excited about the potential for the year ahead.

“It’s clearly a great opportunity and a great situation to be in,” Sofi said.

”By having the ability to hand over the preparation and management of our car to R-Tek it gives us a much better chance at succeeding in the championship next season, because we won’t have to have the additional worries of maintaining the car and running it ourselves at race meetings.

“We have an extensive testing schedule in place for the off season and the aim is to come out at the A1GP meeting next February and be in a winning position – and then challenge for the championship throughout the remainder of the year.”

R-Tek F3 will be making further announcements regarding its 2007 Driver lineup in due course.

For more information about the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star, please visit the series’ official website at www.formula3.com.au

Leanne Tander has sliced out her own little piece of Australian Open Wheel history at Oran Park today by scoring her first ever Pole position in the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship, In qualifying for this weekend’s eighth and final round of the 2006 season.

Tander topped this morning’s first session to record the pole position result, knocking Tim Macrow off the top spot by a scant .02s with just a few minutes remaining in the session.

Macrow bounced back with the best possible response in the second session, however, taking a commanding pole by a much more comfortable three tenths – his third pole for the season and his third in four races.

With her race one pole, Tander becomes the first ever female driver to score a pole position in the 50-year history of the Australian Drivers Championship as well as the 8-year history of Formula 3 racing in Australia.

And whilst her second session performance wasn’t up to her usual standard – she’ll start fourth for race two tomorrow – the Fleetcare Tandersport driver was still pleased with performance today.

“I’m very happy with it,” she said.

“The track is much slower than when we tested here but we got the car right. I ended up timing it right and getting that one lap in at the end of the session to get ahead of Tim.

“We just couldn’t get a time out of it in the second session though. It’s disappointing because two poles would have been much better than just one, but I’ll take it!”

Prema Powerteam and Paolo Maria Nocera have on a common agreement decided to interrupt their relationship that had started with the BP Ultimate Masters of Formula 3.

This choice was mainly made due to the fact that Hockenheim was for Paolo an unknown track and because there is no pre event test it would not have been possible to face this weekend in the best conditions.

Angelo Rosin, Team Principal of the Team: “We would like to thank Paolo Maria for all his hard work. We believe that this young Italian driver has a good potential he has to develop during free practice sessions before facing a championship as difficult as the F3 ES.”

Asher JohnstonWhen Adelaide’s Asher Johnston competed in last year’s Victorian State Formula Vee Championship, The Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit was the scene of some of the closest racing in the young drivers’ career.

So when the 19-year-old from Glenelg returned to the 4.46km circuit two hours South East of Melbourne for the fifth round of the Victorian State Formula Ford 1600 championship last weekend he knew that it would be a tough, competitive outing.

What he didn’t know was that following the weekend he would be able to call himself a Formula Ford round winner.

However – that’s exactly what happened; Johnston taking his #18 G-Force Racing Mygale Formula Ford to a stunning round win – his first since joining the competitive ranks of Victorian State Formula Ford at the start of the year.

After some wet-weather testing Friday, the team struggled with wet-weather tyre choice and setup for the Qualifying session the following day, Johnston placing the car ninth on the grid after a tough session.

Johnston then went on the attack for the opening race, making an inspired charge though the field to pick off cars throughout the six-lap duration. Closing on fellow Mygale driver Glen Wood on the final lap, Johnston drew alongside on the start finish straight to beat him to the line for third place in what was a stunning comeback.

The second race again featured a battle between Johnston and Wood, the South Australian driver once again getting the upper hand with a bold pass around the outside of the super fast turn one with a lap to go that secured second place after six laps.

Knowing he had the car speed to run with race winner Taz Douglas, Johnston made the best start of his brief Formula Ford Career to run with the leader towards turn one.

What followed was a high speed game of chess between the two leading competitors, Johnston realizing that if they worked together they would maintain a comfortable buffer over the chasing pack.

After swapping positions throughout the race, the pair were locked in combat for the final lap before Johnston got a strong run onto the high-speed Gardner straight on the final lap of the race.

With two wheels off the circuit, Johnston drove to a thrilling .009-second race victory over the championship leader to give himself his very first Formula Ford round win since joining the class at the start of the season.

A delighted Johnston reveled in the success – his first major victory since clinching last years Victorian Formula Vee title.

“I went to the inside coming out of turn 1 – we were side by side and I had 2 wheels on the dirt as we crossed the line,” Johnston explained of the thrilling final race.

“I actually thought Taz got me, and speaking with him after he wasn’t sure who had it, but the time sheet said I got it by .0009 sec and that gave me the round win!”

“The weekend started off pretty average because we weren’t very fast at all in practice but we pulled it off in the end. The G-Force / Asher Johnston Racing guys are awesome and did a sensational job, this one is for them! We came into this season hoping to run near the front and gain experience, so to win like this is fantastic.

“I have to thank the ongoing support of the team’s sponsors and supporters, including CARTEK, Duplex IT, Wayne Richards Auto and RTM – without them we wouldn’t be here,” Johnston added.

G-Force Mygale team owner Greg Woodrow was almost as excited as his young protégé.

“Asher has performed better than expectations,” said Woodrow

“We had hoped that Asher would show some form in his first year but to have pole positions, and now round wins is fantastic!

“With one round to go it appears that Asher and G-Force Mygale will continue to show dominance in Formula Ford” he said.

The final round of the Victorian State Formula Ford 1600cc Championship will also be held at Phillip Island – as part of the annual Island Magic festival.

For more information about Formula Ford’s latest race and round winner, head to www.asherjohnston.com.au

australian-f3-season-finale-2006Sydney fans of top-level Open Wheel racing will receive a treat should they head to the final round of the 2006 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship to be held at Oran Park Raceway this weekend.

A strong contingent of 18 cars has entered for the eighth and final round of the 2006 championship to be held at the 2.7km Narellan circuit on October 27 – 29, and most entered have plenty to play for to ensure off season bragging rights in the lead up to next season in what is set to be a no-holes-barred contest for glory.

And despite the fact that British driver Ben Clucas has already sealed the championship, the pressure will remain on at the front of the pack in a competitive bunch of cars entered for this weekend’s event.

A group of five New South Wales-based drivers will be headed up by North Shore (Sydney) resident Chris Alajajian, who will return to the category to complete an on-off year following a strong run in the most recent rounds of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar series.

Alajajian last drove a Formula 3 car at Eastern Creek in July this year and, after racing at his usual aggressive best, the Jack Hillermans Smash driver finds himself keen to once again get back in the Open Wheel groove after his foray into Touring Cars.

“It’s been a couple of months since I drove an F3 car, so I’m looking forward getting back in one; they’re great cars to drive,” Alajajian said.

“It’s our home round so we’re just going to go there, fight really hard, do our best and see what happens.

“You can never get too head over heels about predicting something, but I’m confident that with my experience we will be capable of getting a good result by the end of the weekend. Oran Park is a great, fun track to race on. I’ve raced there a few times in different cars, but every time you race a different type of car there, it almost becomes a different track.”

The other New South Wales-based Championship Class contender will be will be Matt Sofi (Championship Class Dallara F301), whilst Tim Berryman and Chris Barry represent the state in the National Class championship-within-a-championship points’ battle.

Fleetcare Tandersport driver – and former Sydneysider – Leanne Tander is riding a wave of form at the moment and will head into the Oran Park round on the back of her season-best performance at Phillip Island in late August.

Despite missing the most recent round at Queensland Raceway thanks to the clash with the Sandown 500, Tander heads to Oran Park confident that her first ever race win in the category is just around the corner.

The pitched battle at the front of the field will be joined by the champion, Team BRM’s Ben Clucas, and Victorian Tim Macrow – who will once again drive the Cooltemp Racing Dallara F304 he steered to his first ever Formula 3 race win in Queensland.

Macrow has his eyes on second in the championship points’ race, the 22-year-old driver currently trailing Michael Trimble by 35 points heading into the final round.

Queensland hope Chris Gilmour – the most recent winner of a Formula 3 race at Oran Park – and West Aussie Stuart Kostera are both coming off season-best performances at the most recent round of the championship and head to the Oran Park round looking to battle with the key championship contenders.

This weekend’s action will once again feature the usual three classes that partake in the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship action, two new drivers – former V8 Supercar driver Garth Walden and Daniel Schultz – set to add some additional depth into the National Class entry list this weekend.

Wagga Wagga’s Tim Berryman head’s into the round with second place in the National Class in the bag, whilst Chris Barry will be looking to bounce back after failing to score any points at Queensland Raceway two months ago.

A championship battle is still well and truly alive in the trophy class fight, Lauren Gray holding off a charging Graeme Holmes by just eight points – with 44 up for grabs across this weekend’s two races.

The final round of the 50th Anniversary Australian Drivers Championship for the CAMS Gold Star – the highest accolade presented to an Open Wheel Racing Driver in Australia – will get underway at Oran Park this Friday before two, 15-lap events Sunday.

The Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup hasn’t yet come to an end but the Vicenza Based Team, Prema Powerteam has already returned on track with very young drivers who wanted to test the team’s cars.

Two days of testing, one at Magione and the other one at Vallelunga. On the circuit of the Umbria region tested the Italian Andrea Caldarelli, who is only 16 years old and already one of the most promising Italian drivers, and two drivers coming from kart, the Bulgarian Simeon Ivanov and the Pakistani Kazeem Manzur who at only 15 years old has had the opportunity for the first time to try a race car.

The outcome was very good for all three drivers who worked according to the team’s plans in a very attentive and precise way, without committing any mistakes.

The Team then moved to Vallelunga for another test day where were also present other drivers of the Formula Renault 2.0 Italia Championship.

On the track situated in the vicinity of Rome, the best chronometric result was obtained by Andrea Caldarelli who demonstrated a lot of potential with the car. Very good results from Simeon Ivanov, first driver from those who haven’t yet participated to any Formula Renault 2.0 race.

Now the Team is preparing the last meeting of the European Championship scheduled for the last weekend of the month of October on the Spanish Track of Barcelona.

Macanese motorsport rising star Rodolfo Avila will join Performance Racing Europe team to contest the F3 Macau Grand Prix 2006, 16-19 November

The agreement just comes true after Macau SAR driver guaranteed the support of China Telecom (Macau). The first China mainland-based telecommunication operator to grant a mobile communication license outside of the Mainland China will be joined by worldwide leader fire and security services provider Chubb as Rodolfo Avila’s Macau GP Official Partner. Rodolfo Avila season 2006 project key backers – Macau Government, Rio Casino, Hotel Fortuna, Macau-Slot.com, BNU, Gain Well Group, Tong-Lei, CESL-Asia, PAL – Asia Consult, RP Macau, Tsingtao Beer, Fat Siu Lau Restaurant, PT Asia and Sujika Crafts – will also be well represented at the most known East Asian Motorsport meeting.

The 6.2km circuit is like no other track in the world, varying in width from 14 metres along the main straight, to just seven metres as it twists through the back streets of the former Portuguese colony. This is the most important race of the year for Macanese motorsport biggest hope.

“Macau means a lot to me. It’s one of the most famous F3 races in the world, and this is my home race. My target is similar to my previous races; my sights will be on getting a respectable finishing position and the best result among Macanese racers – but, of course, anything better than that would be magnificent. After one season in British F3 I feel much more confident but at Guia Circuit we never know”, says Avila.

After analysing all the received proposals, the 19-year old finished fourth of British F3 National Class in his first European campaign this year decided to remain with Performance Racing Europe. “My team had never been here before but they are working hard to overtake the difficulty. My engineer is a Macau GP previous winner so I guess we can do a good job during the weekend to honour Macau colours!”.

Performance Racing Team Manager, Bobby Issazadhe shares the same spirit: “Performance Racing are very excited for the opportunity to race in the 53rd Macau Grand Prix with our regular driver Rodolfo Avila. The Macau Grand Prix is by far the most challenging and prestigious race on the Formula 3 calendar and for Rodolfo it is the only opportunity to showcase his talent in front of his sponsors and fans. From the start of the season we always knew how important this race was for Rodolfo and much of the work we have done this year has been in preparation for Macau. Rodolfo has developed tremendously as a driver and I am sure he will perform very well and make Macau proud of him”.

Next Monday Rodolfo Avila will be driving at Croft (England) the more powerful Performance Racing Dallara F306-Mügen Honda. The young Macanese will accomplish four days testing before Macau GP challenge.

Michael TrimbleVictorian driver Michael Trimble has set his sights on contesting next year’s British Formula 3 Championship following a successful test with Raikkonen-Robertson Racing at Pembrey last week.

Following two strong years in the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship, Trimble flew to the UK last week for his test session with the 2006 championship-winning team that took British ace Mike Conway to this year’s title, one of the most highly regarded in open wheel racing.

21-year-old Trimble then completed a full day’s running with the squad at Pembrey and after coming to grips with the unfamiliar Avon Tyres, the F306 Dallara chassis and Mercedes engine, set an impressive 49.8-second lap of the 1.456-mile (2.34km) circuit.

The time compares favorably with the best lap set by Double R driver Mike Conway; who’s best testing lap at the circuit is just two tenths of a second quicker.

“It was just an awesome experience all round,” Trimble said following his test.

“The team is very well organized and they are a really good bunch of guys, which made them great to work with. Pembrey is a fast and technical circuit and there was a lot to take in, with learning the track, the new car, engine and tyre package and how the team works.

“The later model Dallara (Australia runs one model-cycle behind the British Championship) has a lot more downforce compared to my car in Australia. The engine seemed to have more torque and the Tyres had quite a narrow operating range, so all of that made for a fairly large learning curve.

“After that I was able to have some very good runs and set some times. According to the team’s engineer my time was only two tenths slower than what Mike Conway has done at Pembrey, and one of the few Aussies to get under the 50-second bracket, so that was really encouraging.

“I got plenty of laps in good conditions so the exercise was very worthwhile.

“It was just such a good experience to have and it’s made me more determined than ever to raise the funds to get over and race in the championship next year.” He said.