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Archive for April, 2008

The 2008 World Series Renault didn’t start in the best possible way for Marco Bonanomi. The season got underway at Monza on the last 26th and 27th of April, with the usual double race format. Bonanomi was entered by British team Comtec, owned by Jonathan Lewis and featuring Martin Donnelly in its management. The Italian driver had a good start in the initial collective tests, running consistently on top. In qualifying, Marco took the second fastest time of his group, and the second overall. During Race 1, he was unable to complete even a single lap, as he was hit by Charles Pic at Parabolica, ending up in the gravel with a broken suspension. On race 2, while running second behind leader Van der Garde, a controversial episode happened at lap 7. Bonanomi was defending himself from the attacks of Wickens, and took a central line while approaching to the Roggia chicane. Wickens placed one wheel on the outside, without having the chance to catch up and staying clearly behind. At that point, Bonanomi changed his line to get the ideal corner’s entry, hitting the rival who went off-track. Despite the resulting crash was totally involuntary, the stewards decided to stop him with a black flag.

“I thought that, after the win scored at Dubai, my trademark bad luck had been finally gone, but Monza proved that the troubled times have not ended yet. I experienced a great qualifying session, but Pic took me out at Parabolica on lap 1, Race 1, forcing me to retire. The French driver wasn’t punished for such behavior. On Race 2, I had a contact that ultimately led me to black flag. I didn’t even see Wickens and I tried to keep my ideal line. As it’s clearly visible from the TV images, my helmet was pointed toward the corner’s apex. I never raced to wreck my rivals out, and all I can say is that nothing was intentional. Unfortunately, race control decided to park me for the day, but I accept an respect their decision. I’m disappointed because I could have had good runs for podium and I found myself with no points after two raecs. I hope to have a better weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.”

Felix RosenqvistSwedish motorsport talent Felix Rosenqvist, 16 years old, sensationally claimed victories in both races when the 2008 Asian Formula Renault season began at the Shanghai International Circuit this weekend. The astonishing results were cemented further after Rosenqvist recorded fastest lap in Race 1 on Sunday, following it up with a lights-to-flag victory only a couple of hours later.

“An absolutely brilliant start to the season”, Rosenqvist says. “The car wasn’t great in practice and it was difficult to reach an ideal set-up, but to be able to win both races already at the curtain-raiser really shows how much work we’ve put in during the winter. I won one of the races here as a complete single-seater rookie last year, so the track in Shanghai obviously suits me well”.

Rosenqvist, who encountered some problems early on in the weekend and was unable to complete much running prior to the races, ended up fourth in qualifying for Race 1 despite struggling with set-up issues and chased Pole-sitter Benjamin Rouget off the line. Having followed the Frenchman for a few laps, Felix made his move – and went on to win in impressive fashion in an event which was shortened as a result of an incident down the field. In the second race, Felix started from Pole Position and kept his lead – practically unchallenged – the entire distance.

“The starting procedure went according to plan in both races”, Felix explains. “I wanted to study Benjamin’s driving style at the beginning of the first race to see where I was quicker than him before overtaking, while the decisive moment of Race 2 was the restart behind the safety car; a situation I managed to handle without problems. I would like to thank my team, March3 Racing, for their strategic support during qualifying and both races, and am looking forward to the next event in Malaysia with great anticipation. I am convinced that we will be able to fight for the victories there as well, and I will do my very best to continue the season as positively as it has begun”.

Anders Krohn has just concluded his very first racing weekend in America, and in the US Formula 2000 Championship. The weekend could not have gone any better, with Anders capturing the win in both races together with Andersen Racing at Virginia International Raceway. ”I am absolutely over the moon about these results! We have worked very hard and to see that pay off in my very first Formula 2000 weekend is fantastic. And now to walk away from this weekend with the Championship lead is great!” said Anders shortly after finishing race 2.

The weekend saw one of the biggest fields in the formula car world with 44 entries lined up for the races. There is yet more to come, as a total af 62 has registered for the US Formula 2000 Championship. Anders Krohn is driving for Andersen Racing, the Van Diemen factory team. In addition to this, the team also runs cars in Indy Lights and is the official development team for IndyCar team Rahal Letterman Racing.

Qualifying for race 1 went allright for Anders, albeit with some handling issues with his car. Still, Krohn was able to put the car in on P2 for race 1, a very respectable place to start his F2000 career. ”We sat the car up based on the information we gathered through testing the last couple of days, but unfortunatly the track changed overnight and we had rather big oversteer the whole qualifying session.” Anders commented.

Race 1 and Anders was off to a blistering start, capturing the lead into turn 1. Already at the end of lap one, the safety car had to go out on track as a massive pile up had occurred in turn 1 further back in the field. With Anders leading the field at the restart, he was quickly able to pull out a gap of 2 seconds to the nearest competitor, and held his position until the chequered flag fell. In other words, a perfect start to Krohn`s Anmerican racing debut. ”This was absolutely great. The start of the race was key, and I was able to pull out a gap right out of the box. From there on in, I just tried to control the race, which worked out very nice indeed. It`s a fantastic feeling to be able to win my first race in the U.S, but now all focus is on the qualifying and race tomorrow.” said Krohn.

Qualifying for race 2 was alot better for Anders Krohn, and despite some red-flag periods he was able to put in one good lap to score pole position for race 2 and three extra points in the bag even before the race had started. ”I am really happy with my car now, and we have to try and carry that momentum into the race later this afternoon.” said a satisfied yet focused Krohn.

Race 2 started in the best possible fashion for Anders as he once again took the lead heading into turn 1. This time, the race went green all the way, and Anders Krohn led from lights to flag. But it was hard fighting, and pushing was needed all the way to get the big win. Krohn also set the fastest lap time of the race to score two extra points in addition to 50 points for winning the race. Said Krohn ”What a weekend it has been! My first two races in the U.S and in Formula 2000, and being able to walk away from that with two wins is awesome. For the second race my car was really great, and I could push the car without it fading away.”

Anders Krohn now leads the US Formula 2000 Championship as he is heading into the second race weekend of the championship at Road Atlanta on May 10-11. Together with Andersen Racing, Anders is putting all his efforts towards the upcoming races, and will bring his new knowledge from Virginia International Raceway with him to Road Atlanta. ”Now all the hard work begins, towards Road Atlanta. It will be a very challenging track, and we have to try and get up to pace as fast as possible. With that being said, I would like to thank Andersen Racing and Allied for their great efforts, and my personal sponsors Trallfa Industries, Colosseum Dental and Kruse Smith for making this happen. Off to the next one!” Krohn ends.

Dion von MoltkeSkip Barber recently announced the new-for-2008 MAZDASPEED Challenge Race Series, based on the equal-car format using one of Mazda’s iconic sports cars, the MX-5 Miata. The series was launched at the legendary Laguna Seca Race track, near Monterey, on April 5 and 6. Eighteen drivers showed up for this exciting new series on a sunny but chilly weekend in the hills of central California.

Dion von Moltke, who co-drives the #171 APR Motorsport Gold GTi with Ian Baas in the Koni Challenge series, decided to run in the opening weekend so that he could learn a new track and stay in race shape during the long break between the Daytona opener and Lime Rock in late May.

Dion had what can only be described a perfect race weekend. He learned the new car type and challenging track very quickly and set the fastest lap times in practice sessions on Thursday and Friday. He topped this off with a pole qualifying performance on Saturday morning – more than a second faster than the second place position.

Dion lead the 16 lap Race 1 on Saturday from start to finish – enduring fierce and persistent attacks from the very talented Lyonel Kent, who ultimately grabbed second spot in this race.

On Sunday Dion again won the top spot on the podium after a furious race long battle with the same Mr. Kent — surviving a minor last corner collision to win the race by 22 seconds over 2nd place position.

“This was a dream weekend” Dion said immediately following his second 1st place finish. “Skip Barber always runs a professional and fun race weekend, and I really enjoyed driving the Mazda MX-5s. They are an excellent race training vehicle, especially given my change in career direction to sports car racing”.

The results: A new lap record, pole position, 1s position in Race 1, 1st position in Race 2, fastest lap times in both races. A dominant weekend for this very talented young race driver.

Photo by allanrosenberg.com

Tom ArmourManor Competition is delighted to confirm its return to a four car line-up, effective from today’s official Formula Renault UK test at Thruxton in Hampshire, after signing a deal with 18-year-old category rookie Tom Armour.

Armour, from Billericay in Essex, made his debut in Formula Renault UK during the opening two rounds of the season at Brands Hatch just over a week ago with a rival team. However, with Manor’s fourth car vacant due to budget shortfall for the original driver, Armour jumped at the chance to join the multiple champion squad.

Racing alongside title contenders Alexander Sims and Kris Loane, and Graduate Cup front-runner Henry Surtees, Armour is relishing the chance to show his true potential at Thruxton’s test session this afternoon. From there, his race debut as a Manor driver will come at Rockingham in Northamptonshire this weekend, 12th/13th April.

“Manor’s pedigree speaks for itself, I almost leapt through the roof when my dad told me the deal had been agreed”, said the elated teenager, “Tony and Sarah (Shaw) run a fantastic team and it’s a dream for us to be able to race with them.

“We always wanted to join Manor when we decided to come into the series at the end of last year but it looked like there wasn’t a seat available. When we realised at Brands Hatch that Manor’s fourth car was vacant, we knew that’s where we wanted to be.”

Although having raced karts extensively in Britain and Europe during his formative career, Manor’s new signing wasn’t able to achieve the results he unquestionably deserved due to a series of engine problems and other unfortunate mechanical failures.

Stepping away from motorsport at the conclusion of his karting career to begin a degree course at the University of Lincoln, Armour soon realised he missed racing and after taking part in several Formula Renault UK tests at the end of 2007 he was bitten by the bug once again.

Armour added: “Now I’m in a Manor car I really feel we’ll be able to show our true potential. I’m as eager and enthusiastic as I ever have been and while today’s test will be good, I can’t wait for next weekend’s races at Rockingham.”

The Essex racer, who currently studies Marketing and Advertising at the University of Lincoln, is the son of ex-Formula First, Formula Vauxhall, Formula 3, Euroboss F1 and World Sportscar competitor Phill Armour.

For New Ollerton based Manor Competition, the deal with Armour is terrific news and sees the team back to its four-car capacity for the first time since the World Series by Renault-supporting races at Donington Park’s Grand Prix Circuit last September.

“To be back to a four-car team is fantastic”, said team boss Tony Shaw, “When Tom and Phill indicated to us they wanted to come and race with Manor we were only too happy to get the deal agreed as quickly as possible. We really are absolutely delighted.

“He’s achieved a great deal in karting and clearly has a lot of talent. His first run in the car will be at Thruxton later today for the official test. Then we’re straight into the race meeting at Rockingham next weekend. We’re really looking forward to working with Tom and we’re confident he’ll be a terrific addition to the team.”

Rounds three and four of the 2008 Formula Renault UK Championship will take place at Rockingham International Super Sports Car Circuit this coming weekend, 12th/13th April.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Carlo van DamDutch racing driver Carlo van Dam today clinched second place at Fuji in the second round of the 2008 Japanese Formula 3 Championship. Yesterday, Carlo also finished second in his Toyota Team TOM’s Dallara and he is now placed second in the championship standings.

“I had a good start. I was able to gain a position and ended up in second place. After that there was not much drama, for I was quicker than the ones behind me, but I could not really attack my team mate Iguchi. I lost quite a lot of time in the track’s third section this weekend. It is a series of tight corners where you have to go through very slowly, because as soon as you push a little there, you lose speed instantly. In the end I went wide once and that created a gap. I am quite happy with my debut here, however. I guess my car and I sort of belonged in second place here this weekend and we have scored valuable points.

“Particularly at Fuji we are still looking for some extra speed and a better setup, as was clear already during testing. In any case we did well in terms of championship points here and now it is a matter of making more progress. This Tuesday we are testing again, at Motegi, and I look forward to the next races, which will be held at Autopolis during the final weekend of April.”