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Archive for March, 2007

Anders KrohnToday in a press-conference at Trallfa Industrier AS` headquarters, it was revealed what Anders Krohn will be driving in 2007. ”It`s been a long wait, but finally I can say it out loud what I am driving this year.” a happy Krohn states.

Anders is in for a massive year, competing in no less than tree different championships, but in the same category though. He will be driving Formula Ford powered by the all new Duratec engine in the Dutch and Benelux Championships, as well as the Formula Ford Festival (World Finals) in the end of October. ”I am absolutely chuffed to have got the possibility of driving so many races this year. This means that I can gain experience in a short amount of time, and hopefully scoring good results as well!”

Krohn is about to embark on a new era of his career when the season starts at Zandvoort in the Netherlands, April 7th. Making the move from Gokarts to Formula-cars will be a tough, yet very exciting experience for Krohn. The reasons for chosing the Dutch and Benelux championships are several. First of all, it`s known that the competition will be fierce with already 22 cars registered for the series, and most of them are returning drivers with one or several years of experience in Formula Fords. The races will be held mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium, but with the Formula Ford festival being held in Great Britain. Formula Ford has also been the starting place of most famous race car drivers such as Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button and Mark Webber. ”I know that when entering this championship, I will be spared of nothing. I will have to get right in it and the possibilities for me to develop as a racing driver are fenomenal. This years championships looks to be the toughest in years with drivers coming from the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Russia, Denmark, and of course, Norway, in the form of me!” Anders says.

For the 2007-season, Anders Krohn has opened up a Partner-pool called Trallfa Racing. The aim with the partner-pool is to have a relatively small, yet exclusive group of partners backing in on Krohn`s 2007 Formula car campaign. ”I am proud to present Trallfa Racing with Trallfa Industrier AS and Colosseum Dental AS as Main Sponsors, as well as Smith International Norway AS and Kruse Smith Entrepenør AS as Major Sponsors. In addition to this, I also have a fantastic group of partners backing me on my way. The Racing world is an exciting one, and being a full time racing driver is great.”

Now though, it`s all focus towards the opening round of the Dutch and Benelux Championships, April 7th on Zandvoort (NL). ”I tested my new 2007-car at Zandvoort once earlier this year, and it was a truly inspiring track. The track layout is just incredible, and I am so looking forward to setting my foot on Zandvoort again. I just want to get on with the season now, and go out there and do my best!”

Anders will be driving three races the first weekend, with Race 1 being on Saturday April 7th at 17.40, Race 2 on Monday April 9th at 10.00 and Race 3 on Monday April 9th at 16.00. All races can be viewed live at www.cpz.nl, and review of the races on RTL 6. Full report of the race, pictures and more can be found at www.anderskrohn.com shortly after the race.

Reigning Formula Palmer Audi Champion Jon Barnes will get his 2007 season underway at the end of March, in a guest drive in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Brands Hatch.

The drive in the Porsche Motorsport VIP car is part of his prize for making the final six of the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award at the end of last year. The one-make series, which supports the British Touring Car Championship, will be shown live on digital TV channel Motors TV (Sky digital channel 413) on Sunday 1st April.

The Porsche drive will be Jon’s first ‘outdoor’ event of 2007, following on from a starring role at the Autosport International Show in early January, where he went up against his other McLaren Autosport Award finalists in the ‘Live Action Arena’ in Formula Palmer Audi cars.

As competitive as ever, Jon managed to take victory in 8 of the 12 races that took place over the four days. “We were meant to ‘fix’ the races beforehand to make it more of a show,” he said. “But once the adrenalin got pumping it turned into a bit of a free-for-all in each race, some of other guys made contact with each other and caused some damage, but I managed to keep out of trouble and my car was still in one piece by the end of the show,” he added.

Before the outing in the Porsche Cup, Jon will be at the launch of the 2007 Formula Palmer Audi Championship at Bedford Autodrome. As the 2006 Champion he will be on hand to offer advice and guidance to the latest young drivers that will be entering the fray for the upcoming season.

Jon is also soon to announce his 2007 plans, including inking a management deal that will hopefully propel him up the grid, as one of Britain’s premier up and coming drivers.

From Barcelona to Nurburgring, Prema continued their build up for the 2007 season for the second round of official pre-season testing of the F.Renault 2.0 Eurocup on the technical German circuit. If in Catalunya, the Vicenza based team found beautiful sunshine on both days, in Nurburgring they were treated to grey over-cast skies and temperatures barely above zero, with intermittent snow on the first day, followed up by a heavy snowstorm on the second day which left the organizers with no choice but to abandon the days test. The weather conditions were far from ideal, but Prema’s drivers were able to extract some vital data for the car’s set-up from the first day despite the changeable conditions, hopes of continuing the test program on Thursday were dashed when the circuit was covered in 10cm of snow.

Fabio Zilio – Technical Co-Ordinator: “Unfortunately the weather was the biggest talking point of this test, not the drivers on the track. We will now all go to Le Mans for the third session of collective tests in the hope of finding better weather allowing us to work through new set-up configurations.”

Duval CoutoAfter a break of some four months, the 2007 Super GT season got underway with the much-anticipated “Suzuka GT300km”, held over the March 17-18 weekend. The season-opener drew a total grid of 43 cars, 16 from the GT500 class and 27 GT300 machines, producing a thrilling spectacle for the fans at the circuit.

Official Qualifying took place on Saturday, March 17th. The first of the two sessions was run with an ambient temperature standing at 11°C, with the track measured at 16°C, and some wind. The top ten performers would go to fight in the afternoon’s Super Lap session based on their morning times. Piloting the No.39 DENSO SARD SC430, CRM driver Andre Couto scored 10th place with a time of 1:52.877 while in the new blue colour-schemed No.32 EPSON NSX, Loic Duval was fourth with his best time of 1:51.523. Both CRM drivers would advance to the afternoon’s Super Lap session.

And so to the second qualifying session… Super Lap began at 15:50 for the GT500 class, and Andre Couto charged to a 1:52.430 with his time attack. Others improved on their earlier times also and eventually Andre wound up in tenth. “I gave my absolute best, but the NSXs are just too quick here. Anyway, we have good data for the race tomorrow, so we’ll see what happens. I’ll be pushing to get towards the front” commented Andre, though his facial expression was less relaxed.

One driver who made up good ground in Super Lap was Loic. He set a best time of 1:50.583 in the afternoon session, a full second quicker than his best time in the morning. It was good enough for 2nd on the grid for Sunday’s race. “I’m very happy to be starting from the front row, and I want to thank the entire team for giving me such a great car. The Dunlop tyres were perfect also. My aim tomorrow is to chase the No.8 car and end up on the podium.” Team Director Satoru Nakajima: “We didn’t think we’d be quite so fast, it’s a nice surprise.” his eyes narrowing.

Sunday, March 18th Raceday. In front of a crowd of 30,000 GT fans and in bright sunshine, the final check was undertaken in the morning’s warm-up session before the cars lined up on the grid for the 14:00 start of the 52-lap, 300-km event.

Loic made great headway on the rolling start, immediately matching the times of the leading No.8 car. However while trying to avoid contact with a GT300 machine at the S Curve on lap 10, Duval spun. The delay dropped him to 5th place, though a great pass at the chicane on lap 14 elevated him to fourth. Loic came in for the mandatory driver switch on lap 26, the car also taking on fuel and tyres. The wheel was handed over to new partner Fabio Carbone, who set about making up positions with a brilliant attack on cars ahead of him, despite the fact that this was his debut race in the category. Because two higher-placed cars ran into trouble in the closing stages of the race, the No.32 EPSON NSX finished a splendid third, enjoying a well-earned podium finish.

Loic Duval:
(Regarding making contact) “To avoid getting a penalty for making contact with another car, I went off track and spun. That was really regrettable as otherwise I believe we could seriously have had a look at winning. However, ending up on the podium after that happened is a very good outcome. I would like to thank Dunlop for all their excellent tyre development work. We’ll be fighting hard in the next race.”

Meanwhile, starting the No.39 DENSO SARD SC430, Katsuyuki Hiranaka was hit ferociously from behind immediately after the start in a major collision that saw the car pushed off track and into instant retirement. Damage to the rear of the car was excessive and Andre was left without an opportunity to drive.

Andre Couto:
“It is really disappointing because this morning in the warm-up the car felt great. I believe we were capable of fourth or fifth place finish today.”

Photo by T. Moriyama

Circuit: Vairano (Italy)
Driver: #16 – Xavier MAASSEN, #18 – Ben HANLEY
Date: 08.03.2007

Prema Powerteam’s World series by Renault team completed a successful shakedown of its two World Series cars last Thursday (March 8th). The team carried out their first tests of the year at Vairano in order to prepare the cars as best as possible in time for the first official tests of the year which will take place at Barcelona on the 14-15th of March.

For Prema it was a chance to see their new drivers Ben Hanley (GB) and Xavier Maassen (NL) for 2007 in action.

René Rosin, Prema Powerteam Team Manager: “We are leaving Vairano very happy with the work carried out. We were able to carry out our testing program without any set backs to the car, also we were able to get to know better our new drivers and prepare the cars for our next test next week at Barcelona. We are quickly getting to the start of the championship, schedul ed for the 15th April at Monza, and Prema is already in good form to allow their drivers to fight right to the end for the title.”

Super GTMarch 2nd and 3rd, Suzuka Circuit (Mie Prefecture): Held in calm weather conditions, the first Official Test of the year was held for SUPER GT entrants, among them CRM drivers Andre Couto and Loic Duval. The pair gained further track knowledge working aggressively on a range of car set-ups ahead of the opening round of the 2007 season at the track in two weeks’ time.

Continuing his association with the TOYOTA TEAM SARD outfit, Andre will participate in all nine races, Katsuyuki Hiranaka once again his driver partner. The team has a new car this year, the DENSO SARD SC430 (No.39), running on Bridgestone rubber. Great things are expected for the season ahead, Team Director Sumihiro Kanno stating the aim for the squad has to be for the title.

Andre Couto:
“Moving from the SUPRA to the Lexus SC430 is quite a change. I have some real confidence for the season ahead. For sure, SUPER GT is becoming an even tougher championship. You have to combine the right mix of driver, car and strategy if you want to consistently be at the top. I’m very happy to be participating in such a demanding series. I pledge to give my absolute best in our quest for championship glory. Please continue your generous support of the No.39 car.”

Also, Loic enters his 2nd year of racing in SUPER GT, continuing with EPSON NAKAJIMA RACING. His partner this season is Brazilian driver Fabio Carbone, the pair resolute in their determination to fight for the title in their Dunlop-shod No.32 EPSON NSX car.

Loic Duval:
“In our minds, we keep the memory of our victory at Suzuka in the final race of last year as a battle cry for the upcoming season. After repeated tests over the winter, the car is performing well and is showing good potential. Also, in terms of tyre development, we’re quite advanced in our programme there too. We’re definitely going for the win on the opening round. I’m confident we’ll do well with a strong driver like Fabio sharing the car.”

Photo by T. Moriyama

The second driver to be confirmed by the Prema Powerteam for the F3 Euro Series 2007, comes from as far away as Australia. Angelo Rosin’s team has reached an agreement with Michael Patrizi. Michael will line up alongside the already confirmed Renger Van der Zande.

Patrizi, born in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia on the 4th May 1984, comes with experience from the Formula BMW Asian and British series as well as various races in the American Formula Atlantic. Last winter, Prema’s new driver also carried out tests in the GP2 and World Series by Renault series, but in the end Patrizi choose Prema and the F3 Euro Series following in the footsteps of his compatriot Ryan Briscoe, with whom the team from Grisignano di Zocco won the Championship in 2003.

Angelo Rosin, Prema Powerteam Team Principal: “For Prema, the arrival of Michael Patrizi will give the chance to work with a young and ambitious driver who has demonstrated potential in the junior championships in which he learnt his trade. We will do everything possible to give him the best chance to learn and obtain the results that we both hope for.”

Michael Patrizi: “I am really excited about the opportunity to be driving for a Championship winning team Prema, in the world’s most competitive F3 Championship. This year I will be competing in the Formula 3 Euro Series championship as well as the F3 Masters and if all goes well I will compete at the Macau GP. Angelo ROSIN at Prema has been fantastic to deal with and they have shown there interest in me since my World Series by Renault test back in November. I will be doing everything I possibly can to make my First year in Formula 3 the best year of my career to date. Together with the great relationship Prema has with the best engine manufacture in Formula 3, Mercedes Benz, I think we can give this years championship a real go. “Horsepower won’t be an issue”. I am looking forward to the start of the season with our first test coming next week and I will re-locate back to Europe this weekend.”

Asher JohnstonMotorsport has a habit of producing extreme highs and the lowest of lows – and last weekend’s Clipsal 500 Adelaide was no exception for Glenelg’s Asher Johnston.

20-year-old Johnston experienced the whole gamut of emotions throughout the opening round of the 2007 Australian Formula Ford Championship but leaves the event confident in the knowledge that he has what it takes to race at the very front of the series.

The Clipsal 500 was Johnston’s second start in a National Championship Formula Ford event but his first since finishing third in last years Victorian Formula Ford title.

Driving his AJR / G-Force Mygale SJ07 #18 entry, Johnston will tackle a selected campaign on this year’s championship to gain experience and race miles before aiming to win it in 2008.

Johnston’s Clipsal 500 weekend started slowly, Asher the recipient of contact from another driver on just his second lap of the first practice session Thursday morning. The impact broke the rear suspension of his Mygale chassis and left the team without any data or information from the session.

Now a session behind the eight ball, Johnston was 17th fastest in the second practice session as the team battled to set the car up to suit the bumpy street circuit.

Qualifying was equally difficult, 20th place the best the team and driver could muster after three red-flags ensured that it was extremely difficult to get a clear lap around the 3.2km track.

Two races were held Saturday, Asher working from the 10th row of the grid to finish a safety-car interrupted affair in 14th position – a pleasing gain and proof that things were slowly beginning to turn around.

Unfortunately that didn’t last through the second race, when Asher was caught up in a mid-pack coming together and ousted from the 8-lap affair on lap four.

With the damage repaired, Asher was a man on a mission in Sunday’s finale and set about working through the field as quickly and cleanly as possible.

Johnston passed a number of cars and escaped the carnage – 15 of 25 starters finished the race – to finish an excellent 11th.

What was even more pleasing was that the team resolved their setup difficulties and found significant amounts of pace out of the brand new Mygale chassis.

“The car was a jet in that final race,” Johnston said.

”We know what it likes now. It’s been a very tough and hard weekend but to be able to come through the field and finish 11th after starting dead last was fantastic.

“It was a shame to loose the practice session on Thursday when we were hit off. It really put us behind the eight ball and meant that we were a session behind where we needed to be in comparison to everyone else.

“I didn’t get the results that I hoped for but we can be very positive about the weekend as a whole.” He said.

After battling to adjust the car to his liking after only one test day prior to the event, Johnston said that significant progress was made.

”By the end of the weekend it felt really good,” he said.

”What we have learnt this weekend will allow us to go to the next meeting and hopefully be on the pace from the very first session.

“I have to thank all of my sponsors and supporters for getting me here. It’s been a challenging weekend but I think we are now really prepared for the future.”

Photo by Richard Craill

Samantha ReidSamy Reid has bounced back from adversity in impressive fashion, in today’s third and final race of the first round of the Australian Formula Ford championship in Adelaide.

One of Australia’s top female racers, Reid – 19 – qualified a career best 9th position on Friday but battled clutch dramas throughout the first two races of the weekend that hindered a potentially strong performance in front of her home town crowd.

Samy’s #42 Van Diemen struggled throughout the first two races with a clutch that slipped under acceleration – meaning that the car struggled coming out of corners and off the start line.

Bounding back from the problems today, Reid started the safety car interrupted-crash fest from 15th position and worked her way through the field to finish in an excellent eight place.

It was her best ever performance at the Clipsal 500 and a warning to the rest of the field that should she contest the remainder of the season she will be an outright contender.

The performance was made even more impressive given that the Clutch was far from perfect throughout today’s 8-lap affair, still slipping and affecting the cars performance.

The finish was just reward for the early problems that put a damper on what was looking to be a strong performance, as the locally based driver tries to raise the funds to enable her to contest the remaining seven rounds of the National Formula Ford Championship.

At this stage Clipsal will be the only round Samy contests, pending the arrival of funding.

Reid said this afternoon that whilst the championship points scored today were nice, the weekend was one of mixed emotions.

“It’s tough because I know I had a car to challenge the guys that were racing in front of me,” She said.

“The race today was good, I basically stayed out of trouble and brought it home, but it’s frustrating that we had these problems when it was shaping up to be such a good round for us after qualifying.

“Having said that it was pleasing to be able to get through the field in the way I did in that third race. There was a lot of carnage so to be able to avoid and make up the positions was good.

“If the clutch wasn’t still slipping I’m confident that I would have been able to race with the leading group and potentially get an even better finish.”

The 8th place finish means Samantha scores four points towards the Australian Formula Ford Championship.

Samantha and her team thank the continued support of their sponsors and supporters, including Auto Focus Marketing, Chicane Race gear, Oakley, Inetpics.com, Leatt Brace, Race Torque Media and Penguin Suite.

Natrad Lambo“When this car is fully developed, it will be a race winner.”

That’s the word from Natrad Racing driver Bryce Washington following the Australian racing debut of his brand new Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 in this weekend’s second round of the Australian GT Championship.

At his home event, the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide, 22-year-old Washington made the debut of the 535hp Lamborghini and – despite a number of teething problems featuring the vehicle’s electrics and gearshift mechanism – was buoyed by the exoticar’s potential.

In qualifying Bryce lapped within a second of pole position, his time of 1m25.9928s good enough for third place on the grid.

The car ran strongly for the first few laps of the second race, before slowing due to a number of gear shifting issues that hindered the performance – Washington eventually coming across the line in 14th position with a lot of work ahead of him for race two.

That second race proved the fighting qualities of both car and driver, Bryce making quick work of the field to scythe his way through to third position well before the end of the race.

Washington also scored third in the final race of the weekend this morning and secured a top five round result.

After a strong performance (driving his old Porsche GT3) in the opening round of the championship, Washington is now ideally poised to make a run on the title he won in 2005.

Points’ leader Alan Simonsen is unlikely to return to the series this year due to international racing commitments.

“It was all just niggling technical problems that we had this weekend,” Washington said following the cars’ debut performance.

“There are a couple of problems we found out relating to the gearbox and also to the fuel system, but we managed to work through them.

“This weekend was really a learning experience for the team and I, so to come away with a couple of podium finishes is a good result.

“The car is simply phenomenal to drive. It’s so aero dependant it makes turn 8 (The high speed sweeper) amazing and very, very fast. Once we work out all its quirks it is going to be a very good car,” he said.

”I can’t wait to get to Bathurst – it should be incredible around there.”

Washington also took his ADRAD Racing Porsche GT3 Cup Car to a strong performance in the opening round of the Carrera Cup championship.

Now driving with the ultra successful Paul Cruickshank racing organisation, Washington finished inside the top ten to gain a solid haul of championship points for his campaign in the all-Porsche series.

Washington’s Natrad-supported Lamborghini team will continue to develop the car before the next round of the Australian GT Championship, set to be held at the Bathurst International Motor Festival over the Easter Long Weekend.