Riki Christodoulou has slipped two places to sixth in the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series following the latest races in Belgium.

The 21-year-old from Sutton Coldfield suffered a fraught baptism of the demanding Spa-Francorchamps circuit, failing to finish either 30-minute race staged on Friday and Saturday.

Riki acquainted himself of the 4.35-mile circuit in the Ardennes for the very first time by means of just two practice sessions – both staged on a wet track – before qualifying 12th fastest in dry conditions. However, the 13th round of the 20-race series on Friday was over almost before it started for the Sutton Coldfield driver when his Dallara-Mercedes retired after a collision at the La Source hairpin on the opening lap.

“I’d overtaken a number of cars around the outside approaching the tight right-hand hairpin 100 metres after the start but on the exit of the bend, Daisuke Nakajima hit my rear wheel which spun me around,” reflected “Christo”.

“I was then hit by the car of Walter Grubmuller causing a lot of damage and my instant retirement.”

Having qualified eighth in wet conditions, Riki lined-up sixth on the grid for the second race after two cars were bumped to the back of the grid and was fourth by the second lap – the track made treacherously slippery moments before the start due to heavy rain but with all cars starting on dry weather, “slick” tyres.

But “Christo” collided with Renger van der Zande on the eighth lap at La Source when challenging for third place. It marked the first time Riki had failed to score a single point and non-finish both races in his maiden F3 season.

“I’m totally gutted for myself and the Fortec team,” said Riki. “One minute it was raining, then it had stopped, then raining again – it was incredible conditions. I caught Renger into the chicane under braking and lunged down the inside for third place but my car unfortunately slid wide and into his car with my front right wheel which bent the suspension putting me out.

“Looking back on the incident even now makes so angry – a podium place was there for the taking but the conditions just caught me out.”

Next stop for “Christo” is a two-day test at Pembrey in Wales (3-4 August) before competing on the 3.173-mile “International” track at Silverstone on 16 August.

“I scored my first F3 podium with second place at Silverstone in May and especially after some poor results after I won at Snetterton earlier this month, I have to bounce back at Silverstone,” concluded Riki.

Spa-Francorchamps nr Liege (Bel), Rds 13 & 14:

Race 1: Qualifying Pos: 12th (2min 16.342secs) Dry/Overcast. Race Result: Accident (Dry/sunny).
Race 2: Qualifying Pos: 8th (2:39.990) Wet/Rain. Race Result: Accident (Damp/wet/cloudy/rain).

2009 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series*: 1 Ricciardo (AUS) 177 points; 2 Grubmuller (A) 140; 3 van der Zande (NL) 125; 4 Buzaid (BRA) 99; 5 Chilton (GB) 90; 6 Christodoulou (GB) 86. (Provisional standings).