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Archive for May, 2009

CARA

May 30

Natalie FenaroliIn May, Natalie was honored to be invited to model in the 28th Annual CARA Charities Fashion Show in Indianapolis a few days before this year’s running of the Indy 500. Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary (CARA) was founded in 1981 to serve the professional auto racing community through charitable work and to promote the friendships of those involved in the motorsports family.

CARA Charities occupies a special place in the motorsports community. Since its founding, CARA has donated more than $4 million dollars to dozens of philanthropic causes helping children, hospitals, scholarship funds, ministries and numerous charitable foundations.
While in Indy, Natalie went to the CARB Day races Friday and was able to meet and talk with several team principals. This was not the first occasion she was able to spend time with an (Indy Lights) team on race day. She is looking forward to learning more team race day strategies and listening in on driver/team communications at future races.

Round three of the Star Mazda Championship at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UT did not go according to plan for Mundill and their driver Anders Krohn. Qualifying seventh, Mundill and Krohn were looking forward to fighting for top honors in the 22-lap race. However, a clutch problem in the start of the race threw the team an unexpected curve ball.

Mundill battled several mechanical issues in the test sessions, but improved the car massively for qualifying. Krohn managed to qualify seventh, a mere eight tenths of a second from pole position. A field of 33 cars took to the grid for Saturday’s race, with Krohn piloting the #27 Mundill/Trallfa /Colosseum car from row four. As the start procedure began, Krohn’s clutch started gripping, causing him to start moving prior to the green lights being shown. The 21 year old Norwegian spent the first two laps in sixth position before receiving a Stop and Go penalty, relegating him to the back of the field.

Once back on track, Krohn started gaining positions with some crowd pleasing moves. Krohn eventually crossed the finish line in an impressive 12thposition, having set the fourth quickest race lap despite spending most of his race in traffic. “This was another difficult weekend for us.” Said Krohn, reflecting on the start of the 2009 season. “We fought through mechanical issues in the test sessions and managed to qualify not too far off the leaders. I was looking forward to a race where I could fight it out at the front of the field, but the clutch problem prevented me from doing so. It’s a shame to have another weekend like this, but we will do everything we can to turn our luck around. I’ve got some great guys behind me at Mundill, and with the continued support of my sponsors Trallfa Industries, Colosseum Dental, Antenor and ZAT Graphics I feel confident we can turn it around together.” Ended Krohn, who currently lies 9thin Overall points, and 5thin Rookie points.

The next two races in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear will be held at New Jersey Motorsports Park on June 13 and 14.

Felix RosenqvistOne of the most eagerly anticipated championships on the Swedish motorsport arena this year, the new Formula Renault Sweden series, left nobody disappointed after a hectic season-opener in Karlskoga this weekend. Running as one of the support classes to the Swedish Touring Car Championship, the single-seater category attracted a full 19 cars – and Felix Rosenqvist got off to a decent start by finishing second in both races contested at the event. Additionally, the Team BS Motorsport driver got the fastest lap in the rain-hit first race and started from Pole Position in the second.

“These were my first real races in Sweden, not counting the karting years, and I have to be satisfied with the outcome,” Rosenqvist (who saw his team mate Daniel Roos win both races) says. “We knew we were fast in dry conditions, but since it rarely rained in Asia I don’t quite have the experience of racing in the wet as some of the others in the field, which was a concern ahead of the weekend. I managed to squeeze past Henri Karjalainen on the final lap in Race 1 and am happy with my two second places. Well done to Daniel and Team BS Motorsport for an outstanding performance”.

As in the Formula Renault NEZ curtain-raiser in Finland last weekend, qualifying in Karlskoga proved to be highly dramatic. Rain flooded the track and it was difficult to find space for a clean lap, but despite not being entirely pleased with his effort, Rosenqvist ended up in third place. After fighting with Karjalainen since the start before overtaking him on the final lap, second place was a good reward in the first race. In Race 2 – which was the only session run under clear skies this weekend – Roos took the early advantage and Felix never really got close enough to overtake his 20-year-old team mate.

“There were a lot of talented drivers here, even more so than in Finland, and it’s good to know that the speed is there,” Rosenqvist concludes. “I’m actually particularly pleased with my fastest lap in Race 1, as it proved things are looking good for future wet races. Daniel was a little too fast today, but I’ll do my best to make sure that isn’t the case next time out!”

The next round of the Swedish Formula Renault championship takes place in Anderstorp in two week’s time.

The Brawn GP team has confirmed that they will continue to support Will Stevens on a long-term driver development programme. The association continues Will’s previous relationship with the Honda Racing F1 Team and will provide the platform for him to develop the level of performance that is required to potentially become part of Brawn GP’s Formula One programme in the future.

17 year old Will is widely regarded as one of Britain’s top rising young motorsport stars. Following a prodigious karting career, he is now competing in the Formula Renault UK Championship with Fortec Motorsport in his rookie year in single seater car racing.

Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer of Brawn GP, commented, “We are very pleased to be continuing our support of Will’s motorsport career and extending the relationship that he has had with the team since 2008. We look forward to working with Will and will be keeping a close eye on his developing motorsport career.”

Commenting on today’s announcement, Will Stevens said, “I am extremely proud to be part of the Brawn GP team. What the team has achieved so far this season is incredible and the future looks very exciting. To have the opportunity to be a part of the team is amazing. I would like to thank Ross, Nick and Ron Meadows for their continued support and commitment to my future and I intend to ensure that their belief in me is rewarded”.

The debut race of Andrea Caldarelli in the 2009 Formula 3 Euro Series was plagued by technical issues at Hockenheim, Germany. The Italian, driving for French outfit SG Formula, saw his chances to fight at the top of the pack end early, as he started to struggle in practice with suspension problems. After ending up both sessions outside the top-20, in qualifying things went even worse, as another suspension issue forced him to cut his session short and sent him to the back of the pack. After the necessary updates to his Dallara the Italian, part of Toyota’s Driver Program, successfully managed to climb back from 28th to 15th in a spectacular fashion on Race 1. Unfortunately though, a clutch failure permanently ended his weekend in the middle of Race 2.

Andrea Caldarelli said:
“It’s been a weekend to forget, as we started experiencing suspension issues since practice, with the car jumping around way too much. Then, just after getting on-track for qualifying, I realized that it wasn’t going straight, and I came to the pits to find a solution. I could just run a few laps, with wheels locking all the time and without the chance to push realistically hard. On Race 1, we finally managed to improve a little bit, as I fought my way back to the top-15. On Race 2 it could have gone even better, but in the opening laps I started to feel something going wrong with the clutch, that eventually broke not too much later. I hope everything will be sorted out better at Lausitzring…”.

Rio HaryantoRio Haryanto will race with Asia Racing Team (ART Motorsports) in the 2009 Asian Formula Renault Championship opening round at the Shanghai International Circuit. The 16 year-old racer and Indonesian motorsport superstar, who is competing in his second season of single seater racing this year, will rejoin the Macanese Formula Renault 2.0 team for an assault on the Shanghai races.

Indonesian racer learnt his race craft in the 2008 Formula Asia 2.0 and Asian Formula Renault Championship with ART Motorsports. After a tough 2008 season start, Haryanto finished the season on high with impressive race wins at Zhuhai and Shanghai. Haryanto is currently 3rd on the leaderboard of Formula BMW Pacific.

“We’ve had a great year in 2008, and it’s very nice to see him around one more time. I am pretty sure he will be a frontrunner from the beginning, however, he needs to get used to the car again after so many tests and races in Formula BMW. Definitely I think we can expect some great performances this weekend”, Team Manager Philippe Descombes commented after concluding the deal with the 2008 Formula Asia 2.0 – Asian Drivers Champion.

Speaking about his return to the team and prospects for the race weekend, Rio Haryanto added “It’s great to be back in the ART’s team atmosphere again. We all have the same desire to achieve big goals and from my side I will give my all to realising this vision. I believe they will do their best to perform just like we did last year. Actually I want to make myself ready before the 3rd round of Formula BMW as I am not participating in the series at full time. It’s been a long time without driving any formula car but I hope to do very well this weekend. It would be nice to win again.”

The Asian Formula Renault Championship gets the green flag Friday, May 22, with three Free Practice sessions. Saturday features the Qualifying session and Race 1 and the second 10-lap race will take place on Sunday, May 24.

Adrian Quaife-Hobbs made the most of the lengthy break between races to take part in the Castle Ride 2009, a 100 mile bike ride to raise funds for Action Medical Research. The road ride started and finished in Adrian’s home town, at Tonbridge Castle in Kent yesterday, with the Formula Renault front-runner one of 1200 cyclists taking part.

The charity is dedicated to improving the health of babies and children and this year’s Castle Ride looks set to have raised more than £100,000 for this very worthy cause. The 18 year-old Sackville School pupil shrugged off a heavy cold and battled the winds and rain to get to the finish of the event, the equivalent of a marathon in running terms.

“I don’t really run so effectively this 100 mile race was similar to running the marathon for runners. It was tough at times, the first 50 miles or so was OK and I had a good pace but the last half was difficult. Not only was it physically tiring, it was also very cold and very wet which didn’t help my cold one bit.

“It was pretty much a last minute decision so I didn’t really have any chance of training and as I’ve been so busy with school work I haven’t really done any cycling for about seven months. The longest I’ve ever done is about 30 miles so it was a real sense of achievement to get to the finish. It was great to do but would I do it again next year? Well I certainly won’t commit to the event just yet, let’s wait and see!”

The Castle Ride was centered around Tonbridge with the 1200 riders setting off in groups over the space of an hour and went out on a circular route as far a field as Gillingham and Tenterden. Next year’s event is scheduled to take place on 16 May 2010. Anyone wishing to assist Adrian can still go online at http://www.action.org.uk/sponsor/quaife and pledge their support.

Adrian will return to four-wheel action in the next rounds of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship at the Hungaroring over the weekend of 13/14 June following a test for the North European Cup rounds at Oschersleben, Germany on Monday.

adrian quaife-hobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs took his first Eurocup podium in round four of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship at Spa on Sunday and narrowly missed out on the double, finishing fourth in Saturday’s third round. The 18 year-old from Tonbridge started the event on a high, posting the second quickest time in the first test on Friday and fourth in the second.

As is normal at the Belgian circuit, heavy rain played its part in the outcome of the event, with severe flooding forcing the organisers to scrap the split qualifying which would determine the fastest 24 to go into the Superpole Shootout. Consequently, all 33 cars took to the track for the session which would dictate the grids for both races.

In that, the BRDC Rising Star was immediately on the pace, until a red flag thrown when Adrian was about to start his quick lap interrupted the session. At the restart, Adrian again set an impressive pace running second fastest until the closing minutes when he dropped to fifth. His second fastest time was good enough for a second row start for race two.

In Saturday’s opening round, a good start allowed the Sackville School pupil to retain his position and on lap two the former double T-Cars Champion moved into fourth when his Motopark Academy team-mate Kevin Magnussen dropped two places. Adrian went on to record fourth place at the flag.

In the second race, Adrian started from third and a great start allowed him to get the jump on Magnussen to move into second on the opening lap. Adrian held the position for four laps keeping pre-event championship leader Antonio Felix Da Costa at bay until lap five, crossing the line to take third and move him into fifth in the points standings.

“We went into the event full of confidence as we’d been very quick at Spa in the pre-season test,” said Adrian. “Testing went really well, we were quick in both sessions but in the qualifying it was hard to find a clear track with everyone out at the same time. Then when I’d put new tyres on and was going for a time, the red flag came out, so I lost time in the pits. Despite that I was happy with fifth and third quickest times although in future I need to look at getting a quicker first lap.

“In the first race, I was dicing for position with Vergne on the opening lap and on lap two he managed to get Magnussen and then I got past him but Vergne was quicker than me and although I caught him over the course of the race I couldn’t get past.

“In the second I slotted in behind Albert (Costa) and Kevin (Magnussen) went to the outside at the Esses and I managed to get in behind and take second. However the safety car came out which changed everything. I normally come on strong over the last few laps but after being slowed up for several laps, I wasn’t able to do that and da Costa got by a few laps later.

“I’m happy with a podium though, the Eurocup is very competitive so it’s a good result. We’re closing the gap all the time to Albert who does seem to have the edge. And over the five week break we’ll be pulling out all the stops to close that gap further.”

Results of race One – 12 laps
1. Albert Costa Epsilon Euskadi 28:00.641
2. Antonio Felix Da Costa Motopark Academy 28:03.666
3. Jean Eric Vergne SG Formula 28:06.614
4. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Motopark Academy 28:06.950
5. Kevin Magnussen Motopark Academy 28:08.456
6. Nigel Melker MP Motorsport 28:15.194

Results of race two – 11 laps
1. Albert Costa Epsilon Euskadi 27:31.983
2. Antonio Felix Da Costa Motopark Academy 27:33.232
3. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Motopark Academy 27:33.972
4. Kevin Magnussen Motopark Academy 27:36.531
5. Miki Monras SG Formula 27:38.739
6. Nathanaël Berthon Epsilon Euskadi 27:39.991

Championship points after four rounds: 1, Albert Costa 47, 2. Antonio Felix Da Costa 46, 3. Nathanaël Berthon 24, 4. Miki Monras 22, 5. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs 21, =6 Nico Muller & Jean Eric Vergne 13.

Adrian now enjoys a six week break before the next rounds of the Eurocup which take place at the Hungaroring circuit in Hungary over the weekend of June 13/14.

Vitantonio LiuzziVitantonio Liuzzi experienced a troubled start in the first practice session for the final event of the 2009 A1 Grand Prix Of Nations. The Italian, at his second start with his Nation’s team, managed by former F1 star Piercarlo Ghinzani, suffered from brake troubles. On the Kent racetrack, in its longer Grand Prix configuration, Liuzzi tried to climb up the order with an unstable car, but eventually ended his day with an off-track excursion that damaged the right front suspension. The day ended on the spot for Vitantonio, who’ll be back on-track tomorrow morning for the final practice session. Starting at 2:15 PM, Qualifying will set the grid for Sunday’s races.

Vitantonio Liuzzi – Team Italy
“We suffered from a problem to the braking system, that was acting only on the rear wheels. The same issue caused the contact with the retaining barriers. The main problem is having lost half an hour that could have proved really useful in setting up the car. Before the issue though, we were off to a good start. The car’s balance seems optimized compared to Portimao, and we’re not beaten down by the setback suffered today. Brands Hatch is a really difficult and technical racetrack, somehow old-school and very bumpy. In many corners there is just one possible line, and that might prevent from passing, but it’s nice to make a jump in the past sometimes…”

Felix RosenqvistThis weekend, Felix Rosenqvist made his debut in the Formula Renault North European Zone (NEZ) championship in Ahvenisto, Finland, and left with one victory and the lead in the overall standings. Rosenqvist won the second of two races after leading from start to finish, and also collected valuable points in the first race by finishing second to Team BS Motorsport team mate Daniel Roos. Furthermore, Felix got the fastest lap in Race 2 and thereby scored an extra championship point.

“This victory came as a result of immaculate team work over the duration of the weekend, and I would really like to thank my team for giving me a great car,” Rosenqvist says. “Daniel and I were able to make the most of it here in Finland and we have been very closely matched all the time, so it feels right that we both got to win and even had a one-two in Race 1”.

Qualifying was incredibly close among the top drivers, and Felix – one tenth of a second away from Pole Position – ended up third on the grid for Race 1. The start went according to plan and both Rosenqvist and Roos passed Jukka Honkavuori to pull away from the rest of the field. A hole in the radiator could have spoiled Felix’s race, but he hung on to finish second. In Race 2, the 17-year-old Swede started from the front row and took the lead going into the first corner, eventually winning by 13,4 seconds. Honkavuori was second, and third place went to regular Formula Two driver Henri Karjalainen.

“The Ahvenisto circuit was one of the most technical I’ve driven on,” Rosenqvist continues. “Still, it didn’t take too long to find a comfortable pace and I think that particularly helped me in the second race. This was my first NEZ outing and I’m now looking forward to the next challenge which is the start of the Swedish series in one week’s time. Hopefully, we will be able to keep the momentum going and fight for both titles at the end of the year!”

The Swedish Formula Renault championship begins next weekend (May 22-23) in Karlskoga, with around 20 drivers expected to participate.