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The latest news from the world of racing


Archive for November, 2008

As Formula Asia 2.0 reached China and the Shanghai International Circuit this weekend, championship leader Felix Rosenqvist from Sweden arrived determined to reinforce his overall position. However, issues with the local customs meant several competing teams were unable to gain access to their cars in time for the first practice sessions, leading to a controversial decision from event officials to run Sunday’s two races under non-championship conditions – giving drivers the possibility to practice under normal racing forms, but leaving them unable to score any points. The races themselves were hit by rain and Felix’s best result was a third place in Race 2.

“Needless to say, it’s sad that decisions like these can take so much away from the competitors,” Rosenqvist says. “I had a number of supporters and guests with me this weekend who had all been looking forward to watching two
real championship races, but at least I got a lot of valuable practice laps in the wet. I feel I’m developing more in the rain than in the dry at the moment, so that was an important positive”.

The Formula Asia 2.0 customs problems follows after the series had to cancel the races originally planned for Shanghai in early November due to other political reasons, while the final round of the championship on 6th-7th December will now feature four races with a fully normal points scheme. Felix Rosenqvist is in the best position to claim the title, even though championship rival Mathias Beche won one of this weekend’s races for his new team ART.

“I know of course that Mathias and the other drivers are very tough competitors,” Felix concludes. “Having said that, I do think that I have raised my game all through the year and will do my very best to win the title. We’ll have
to see how it all unfolds now that there will be four races, but I feel very well prepared for the final battle of the year – come sun or rain”.

Robert Foster-JonesThe normally modest Robert Foster-Jones allowed himself a rare moment of obvious pride when he described his latest victory as a “flawless and convincing performance.”

He wasn’t wrong. Fastest in timed qualifying, he went on to win the two heats, the pre-final and main final at the second round of the Silver Cup at Sarno near Naples (9 November).

His team boss, Ricky Flynn was equally satisfied, saying; “All weekend he was very strong and did all you can do.”

However, his run to victory was not entirely without controversy or drama. In the final, he had opened a commanding lead but founds himself closed down by the experienced Italian, Anniello Smarrazzo. As the race entered its final lap, Smarrazzo was pressuring Foster-Jones’ rear bumper looking for a way past but finding the door firmly shut.

“Going into the hairpin, I defended and he knocked me off,” Rob explained. Smarrazzo crossed the line in 1st place but – in scenes reminiscent of Felipe Massa’s premature celebrations at the end of the Brazilian GP – it soon became apparent that he was under investigation. Half an hour later, the stewards announced that Robert had been awarded his rightful victory.

“All he could do to overtake was give him a whack. That’s a measure of how in-control Robert was” commented Flynn afterwards.

Robert added, “These things happen, it was one of those things. And I’m glad to have won. But had Lady Luck not deserted me in the first round (his motor seized whilst he was leading the main final at La Conca), I know I would’ve won the title.”

The Silver Cup was Robert’s penultimate race in the KF2 class. Before he signs off at the Copa Campeones at Vendrell in December, he will make his KF1 debut at the CIK-FIA Asia-Pacific Championships on Macau, at the end of the month (29/30 November).

“I’ve got a couple of weeks off to prepare but I can’t wait. I’ve got to be on top of my game” he says.

Ricky Flynn agrees – “It’ll be tough. KF1 is another step forward in your career. That’s why he’s doing it. We’re not expecting a top three finish because Robert’s got a lot to learn. He’s never been to the Coloane circuit before, never raced against the KF1 pro’s and never driven on a ‘special’ tyre but he’s mentally very strong and will rise to the challenge, I’m sure.”

Photo by Chris Walker / Kartpix

Antonio Felix da CostaAntónio Félix da Costa was in action this weekend at the Croft circuit in northern England, participating in the first of two rounds of the Formula Renault 2.0 UK Winter Series with the CR Scuderia team, in what was another step in his preparation for the 2009 season.

In a track that was new to him, and under intense cold and rain, António was unable to do a clear lap and had to settle for 7th and 9th places on the grid among the 26 participating drivers.

In the first race, using rain tires, the young driver from Estoril showed all his class and determination in the initial laps and moved up into 2nd place. However, a contact with the 3rd placed driver on lap 4 forced him into a spin and down to 6th place. Never conceding defeat, he then started to make his way up the field again and got up to 4th. In the last lap, and under attack by the driver in 5th position, he went off and damaged the suspension, being forced to retire from the race.

In the second race, once again on rain tires, António Félix da Costa was on the attack from early on which resulted in many overtaking moments and a 4th place at the end.

“In these two first races of the Winter Series I faced a group of very quick and experienced drivers, who knew the Croft track and are used to the English climate. Everything became complicated in the qualifying session. The constant red flags didn’t allow me to get a clear lap. I did my best as always, passed a lot of cars and got to know a new team to which I adapted very well. I think that now I am better prepared to fight for a podium place in the second round which will take place in Rockingham next weekend. It was a very hectic weekend. I would like to congratulate the winners, Henry Surtees and James Calado, who won a race each. They can expect a tougher fight from me in the next races”, António told his website

António Félix da Costa will participate in the second and final round of the British Winter Series on November 8, and will then proceed with his intense winter program in order to prepare for the 2009 season.

Before that he will test with 2008 World Series by Renault champions P1 Motorsport on November 5 in Paul Ricard, his prize for conquering the vice-championship in the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup.

James MoffatOn Friday James Moffat (Bob Jane T-Marts/Trueline) was in hospital, today he was on cloud nine after he won Carrera Cup Australia’s final race of the year at the Nikon Indy 300 this morning.

The race win handed Moffat the round win, making it a double celebration for the Carrera Cup rookie.

The wins were his first in the category and they also wrapped up the Michelin Rookie of the Year trophy for the Melbourne speedster and fourth overall in the championship.

It was a remarkable recovery for the 24 year old after he was hospitalised on Friday and placed on a drip suffering severe dehydration after picking up a 24-hour virus.

Luckily for him Carrera Cup wasn’t on-track on Friday and he was able to recover sufficiently to race in the final two races for the year.

Also celebrating today was David Wall (Shannons Insurance), who finished second for the round and third in today’s race.

Wall finished tied on points with Moffat after finishing third in every one of the three races at this event, but because of Moffat’s race win he took the top step on the podium.

Craig Baird (ACER/Leading Solutions) took home the final podium spot, but it was a close affair after he could only manage 13th in this morning’s race.

Aaron Caratti (Parklands on Bertram) finished second in the race today and only three points behind Baird for the round.

Theo Koundouris (Supabarn Supermarkets) won the Pilatus Challenge, which is a championship-within-a-championship for nonprofessional drivers, ahead of Marc Cini (Hallmarc) and his brother James.