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Archive for March, 2009

Andre Borell and Master Electricians Racing suffered a cruel twist of fate at Darwins Hidden Valley Circuit at the weekend, which cost the team an almost certain haul of points.

Friday practice went to plan, with the team and driver both learning the circuit and testing different suspension settings in the two sessions. Qualifying also began well on Saturday, with Borell putting in an impressive 1:13.179 on only his second flying lap, just over a second off Formula Ford veteran Nick Percat’s pole time. As the tyres began to fade in the stress of the Northern Territory heat, Andre came in to pit lane to discuss the situation with his engineer. A split second decision led Andre to go out and try for one more quicklap; a decision the team would live to regret. “On my out lap I was chasing down the car in front to get a good slipsteam off them for the start of my hot lap. At Turn 10 I lost the rear big time, unfortunately there’s no run-off there and I hit the wall. It was a driving error, I could tell you the tyres were not up to temp or the cars alignment was a bit out from hitting a curb, but at the end of the day it was still my fault” said Borell.

The situation that followed illustrated the highest of high’s and the lowest of low’s that only come from motorsport. Amazingly the car came back to the garage with no visible damage. Everyone in pit-lane was sure the 160kph impact would have destroyed the right hand side of the car, but there was nothing to be seen. “We were stoked, it was the escape of the century! What we didn’t know is that something must have been damaged in the electrical system by the 10G deceleration, which brought on a misfire in Race 1. That was the story of the rest of the weekend, we just couldn’t find it and couldn’t fix it” said Andre.

Race 1 saw Andre get the start of the year to go from 13th to 7th by Turn 1. “That was the perfect getaway, unfortunately that misfire reared it’s head later on that lap and I was already back down to 13th by the end of the first lap, eventually it meant finishing in a lowly 15th”.

Race 2 and 3 on Sunday saw the misfire worsen, despite the team putting in an all night effort to replace almost the entire electrical and fueling system on the car. “I think we got about 3 hours sleep. Going out for Race 2 in the morning and having it miss again was the most heart-breaking feeling. We need to get the car on a dyno and find what the problem was, not just fix it, but pin-point it. Then we need to get some testing under the belt and hopefully finally realise our potential at Sandown. We’re a team, we’re togther on bad weekends like this, and one day we’ll win together” explained a disheartened but not broken Borell.

Master Electricians Racing and Andre Borell would like to thank all the other teams and category officials who offered their support and assistance in trying to find the problem.

Andre Borell is supported by Master Electricians, Extreme Safety, simPRO, PM Lubricants and X-treme Racing. For more information please visit www.andreborellmotorsport.com.au

The ING Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix marked the start of the Genuine Ford Parts Australian Formula Ford Championship for Master Electricians Racing and Andre Borell.

The weekend didn’t start well with an engine problem stopping any serious running in the one and only 20min practice. Andre remained on the circuit for the session, feeling that the problem could not be fixed in pit lane, and it was not harming the car.

Going into qualifying having not completed a single fast lap of Albert Park, Andre was unsure of what to expect. The qualifying session turned out to be mayhem, with cars crashing and bringing out red flags on two occasions. Because of this, Andre only got one flying lap in for the entire session, going quick enough to put him 12th on the grid. “We were aiming for a Top-10, so we missed that, but we have to be happy considering the engine drama” explained Andre.

Hopes were high for Race 1 on Saturday, with Andre confident he had more left in him and the car. “I got a great start, passing a few people on the run to Turn 1 and then again to Turn 3. I think we were around P8 or P9, Unfortunately it all fell apart from there”. Andre recovered from being forced off the circuit, and then a high speed spin to finish 17th in the race. “We only had 2 racing laps, the rest was behind safety cars, so it was impossible to fight back from our bad first lap. The pace is there, so we’ll press on tomorrow.

Race two again started well, with Andre again launching off the start line, and picking cars off one by one over the first two laps. Andre then got stuck behind a slower driver, who defended his position very aggressively. Andre finally made a move at Turn 15, which saw the two drivers come together. “I was well along side, he saw I was there, there was just no need for it. A little bit of racing room from him and we both would have been OK”. A very dissapointed Borell was forced to retire the car with bent steering.

Attention now turns to Round 2 of the championship in Winton on May 1-3. The signs are very promising with a lot of speed being shown from both the driver and car. “Albert Park was good because it was a level playing field, no one had raced there before. Winton will be different as all the Victorian teams test there. It will be tougher but I’m confident of a scoring points and running in the Top-10. From Tasmania onwards we’ll start aiming for podiums and wins.

adrian quaife-hobbs

Adrian Quaife-Hobbs continues to set competitive times in the latest test ahead of the 2009 Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup and NEC Championships, the 18 year-old posting the second quickest time in Spa this week. With the schedule now confirmed for both championships, the early part of the year will see him on track nine consecutive weeks for racing or testing, which kicked off with two days Eurocup testing in Barcelona at the beginning of March.

The following week, the Tonbridge teenager continued his Eurocup running with two days at Le Mans and last week visited Spa-Francorchamps on Monday and the Nürburgring on Wednesday/ Thursday with the rest of the North European Cup runners. In each test Adrian, now running with reigning champions Motopark Academy, has been consistently amongst the front-runners.

“We’ve had a very successful series of tests so far, and have been consistently amongst the quickest out there,” said Adrian. “In Spa last week, I was quickest of the NEC runners by three tenths of a second and when we went to Germany, I was second just a tenth off the fastest time.

“We’re improving things all the time and that is reflected in the results. At Spa this week, the first day started off dry and so we planned to use our new tyres in the afternoon session. I wound up second quickest, although the fastest lap of the morning was on new tyres. Sadly it rained for the afternoon session so I didn’t get a chance to try on new rubber, but I’m confident I could have easily improved my time, as it was I was just two hundredths off the quickest time and that was posted on my last lap.

“The team is highly experienced being reigning champions in both championships which certainly bodes well for this year. I’ve established a good relationship with everyone in the team and I’m really looking forward to getting the season underway.

“The competition will be fierce again this season, and the testing has shown it’s pretty much all the same drivers vying for the top spot. But, with the technical knowledge of Motopark and the team’s experience in both Eurocup and North European Cup, I’m confident of immediately being up at the front and bidding for race wins and the title.”

Adrian resumes testing next week at Hockenheim on Monday prior to his first race of the year, the opening rounds of the Formula Renault 2.0 North European Cup which takes place at Zandvoort on April 13. The Eurocup opening rounds get underway a week later in Barcelona.

Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship 2009 calendar: Barcelona (SPA) April 18/19, Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) May 2/3, Hungaroring (HUN) June 13/14, Silverstone (UK) July 4/5, Le Mans (FRA) July 18/19, Nürburgring (GER) September 19/20, Motorland (SPA) October 24/25.

North European Cup 2009 calendar: Zandvoort (NL) April 12/13, Hockenheim (GER) April /25/26, Hungaroring (HUN) June 13/14, Oschersleben (GER) June 20/21, Assen (NL) August 8/9, Most (CZH) August 29/30, Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) October 3/4.

Adrian Quaife-Hobbs continued an intensive test programme in preparation for his assault on the 2009 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship and North European Cup, posting the second quickest time at Le Mans this week. The French test comes on the back of two days in Barcelona last week where the Sackville school pupil kicked off the programme which will see him on track for nine successive weeks.

The 18 year-old from Tonbridge contested his first season in Formula Renault last year, undoubtedly the most competitive single-seater series in Europe, and was immediately on the pace. The BRDC Rising Star took victory and several podium finishes during the season, going on to finish fourth in the Italia Cup and now joins reigning champions Motopark Academy for 2009.

Last weeks test in Spain was primarily a settling-in session in which the Kent youngster was acclimatising to the car, his first run of 2009. This week’s opening session at Le Mans was held on a wet track with Adrian in one of three groups. In each session, he was consistently in the top four and finished the day eighth overall from 30 runners.

“The Barcelona test was pretty much just a roll-out test as I’d been out of the car for a while. It was more a case of getting back into a good rhythm and re-establishing a good feel for the car ready for this weeks test. On the opening day at Le Mans it was wet and the times were pretty much dependent on which group you were in and the weather conditions at that time. However despite that I was happy to be consistently in the top four in each session and winding up eighth overall.”

On the second day the conditions improved and Adrian and Albert Costa spent much of the day trading places for the top spot, Adrian improving his times throughout the day to finish just a tenth shy of the fastest time. “Day two was dry and a far better indication of a driver’s performance. Right from the start myself and Costa were trading places but overall I’d say he was the quicker early on. We tried a few different set-ups throughout the day and I gradually improved and at the end was only a tenth away from Costa so I’m very happy.”

With the schedule now confirmed for both championships, the early part of the year will see the teenager undergo a hectic opening two months which continues with testing for the North European Cup at Spa-Francorchamps on Monday and the Nürburgring on Wednesday and Thursday.

Adrian will kick off his 2009 racing campaign with the opening rounds of the Formula Renault 2.0 North European Cup which takes place at Zandvoort on April 13 with the Eurocup opening rounds getting underway a week later in Barcelona.

Felix Rosenqvist2008 Formula Asia 2.0 Champion Felix Rosenqvist will return to native soil in Sweden for the 2009 season. Rosenqvist has signed with Karlskoga-based BS (Bohlin/Stråth) Motorsport to compete in the all-new Swedish Formula Renault championship, which stretches over six weekends of racing from May until September. The 17-year-old will combine his Swedish activities with a challenge for the Formula Renault North European Zone title, as well as possible appearances in various Asian series.

“It feels pleasant to finally have things in place for this season,” Rosenqvist says. “I’m looking forward to working with BS Motorsport, who gave a serious impression during our talks this winter. The target remains the same as last year – to win the championship – and that goes for the North European Zone as well. There will be tough competition, not least from the Finns, but I’m delighted to face the best drivers on home turf”.

Felix currently looks set to get one or two team mates at BS Motorsport, who in turn will become one of the championship’s biggest teams. With the world financial crisis digging ever-deeper holes in most regions, Rosenqvist plans on staying in Sweden for the majority of 2009, before his international career continues in about one year’s time.

“We originally thought about staying in Asia and racing in Japan this season, but with the economic recession becoming more and more severe it was increasingly difficult to motivate,” Rosenqvist continues. “There have been a range of offers from North to South, East to West following last year’s success, but none better than methodically working towards 2010 while trying out the Swedish circuits – which up until now have been impossible for me due to the lack of a domestic single-seater championship. It’s fantastic that Formula Renault has become an alternative here, and I will give my all throughout the campaign!”