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Archive for August, 2009

Adam ChristodoulouFighting through a weekend of adversity, Star Mazda Championship contender Adam Christodoulou continued to tighten up the championship points race with a podium finish at Mosport International Raceway in Round Eleven of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. Just as the Mosport Circuit features ups and downs and twists and turns, so too was the path Christodoulou would take over the course of the race weekend.

The weekend looked promising from the start with the Birmingham, United Kingdom resident quickly jumping to the top of the time sheets in the early stages of the opening test session before the first twist of the weekend would strike.

“I was fastest at the time and everything was looking good until I made a minor error out of corner three, just clipping the grass on the exit, I tried to save it but the grass was damp and I became a passenger. I ended up making contact with the tyre wall, taking off my front wing and causing damage to the front left corner of the car,” Adam commented. “Once we got the car back to the trailer Dave my mechanic was straight onto the job and through a tremendous effort the car was fixed just before the next session.”

Back on track in the second session and looking to climb the charts once again Christodoulou suffered his second setback of the weekend after a bump at the apex of the flat out sixth gear turn two sent his #11 Molecule Labs / Alpinestars/ JDC Motorsports Pro Formula Mazda off the circuit.

“I hit the small bump on the inside of the track, lifting the front wheels and once the car landed it bottomed out and before I could save it I was on the grass going backwards down the hill. I realized it wasn’t going to be good so I braced myself for impact and I hit the wall with some serious speed causing even more damage than the previous session,” He revealed. “The Mosport safety crew were at my wreck within seconds; I got out the car and was checked over by the paramedics. Luckily I was ok, and the strong structure of the Star Mazda had taken all the impact. Once again we had a big job of getting the car fixed and I’ve got to thank everyone from the JDC Motorsport team for all their support and help putting the car back together, every one chipped in, the crew worked late hours, and the car was fixed by the morning.”

Returning to the circuit for the second day of practice Christodoulou would work on putting the previous days events behind him and after cracking the top ten on old tires in the morning session was pleased to post the second fastest time in the final practice session, just five-hundredths off the fast time from the session.

Adjustments made in anticipation of the morning qualifying session were washed away as torrential rains had swept across the track over night and though the storm had relented during qualifying the track surface was still wet enough to require a wet setup and a heavy fog made visibility a challenge. “Several red flag periods for cars that went off chopped up the session and I was a little bit annoyed only qualifying 4th, but we had the car set up for the wet conditions and the track dried up quicker than expected,” Adam stated. “Still I was happy that I out qualified my main championship contender Peter Dempsey.”

With an early morning qualifying session and a late afternoon race the weather forecast became the obsession of the day as the teams watched and waited to see if the storms would return and how to adjust their cars for the conditions. As the afternoon arrived it became apparent that the race would be run in the dry and attention was made to getting the cars just right for the 45 minute race.

As the green lights went out for the standing start everyone worked their way through turn one safely for what would be a caution flag free event. Battling his teammate Alex Ardoin on the opening laps, Christodoulou was able to gain the upper hand and move into the third spot and started focusing on catching up to the leaders. As the leaders started to encounter lapped traffic, Adam was able to climb into second place as race leader Conor Daly spun after making an outside pass attempt in turn eight before recovering and returning to the circuit. While the lapped traffic would initially help Adam it also cost him later in the race.

“I was now in second but it wasn’t going to be easy as Conor didn’t lose much time and was chasing me down. Traffic was all about timing and trying to get around the lapped traffic without losing time or speed,” Adam said. “Conor was getting closer lap by lap and I could see him trying to get the draft down the straight, unfortunately he finally got the run he needed to draft past down the straight and went down my inside. The flag came out and I brought the car home in 3rd. It wasn’t quite the win, but I was more than happy to finish 3rd after the disastrous start to the weekend and the main thing was I closed up the gap in the championship. I went into round eleven, 10 points shy of the championship, and I’ve now reduced it just 7 points.”

With two rounds left in the championship the series now heads to Road Atlanta for Round Twelve of the Championship during the Petit Le Mans race weekend on September 23-25.

Photo by Richard Craill

Photo by Richard Craill

Team Tom / Battery World supported driver Tom Tweedie has found himself closer than ever before in his quest to challenge the outright cars contesting the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship.

Racing a Formula 3 car for the first ever time at the challenging Oran Park Raceway, the 20-year-old from Sydney’s Northern suburbs was at his most impressive best as he came within mere fractions of the leading, latest-spec cars throughout the weekend.

After Tom clinched the National Class title at Queensland a week ago, Oran Park proved an ideal opportunity for Tom and the Battery World team to chase the Gold Star cars with no pressure to score class points.

He was inside the top four in the first qualifying session before a few cars were able to better his time – by fitting their dry tyres on a rapidly drying track – setting him into 6th place on the race one grid.

But it was qualifying two where Tweedie showed what he was truly capable of. On a dry track, on brand new rubber saved from the first session and in perfect conditions, Tom qualified fourth outright but less than three-tenths of a second from pole position – and ahead of the then joint championship leader, Joey Foster.

Sadly Tom’s F3ADC first race at Oran Park lasted little more than 500 meters after the #19 car was involved in a turn two shunt when Roger I’Anson and Ben Crighton came together whilst fighting for position.

Tweedie was left stranded in the sand trap and out of the race, but he made amends for that disappointment in race two as he scored his second career outright race podium in the shortened 12-lap affair.

Tom crossed the line in third place, behind only Mat Sofi and winner Tim Macrow, to replicate his top three finish scored at the Clipsal 500 earlier this year.

The result ensured that Tom was able to spray the champagne on the podium in the last ever Gold star race to be held at the historic circuit before its unfortunate conversion into a housing estate in 2010.

“It was such a good feeling to get onto the outright podium in race two,” Tweedie said.

“After we did it at Clipsal at the start of the season we were keen to do it again so this is a great way to end my first, and only, ever Formula 3 race at Oran Park. Our race pace was within a few tenths of the leaders cars so we couldn’t have asked for more – it was a great result!”

Tweedie said that the events earlier in the weekend had made it a challenging F3 debut at the 2.8km circuit.

“The light shower before qualifying one really through a wild card into the mix,” he explained.

“I chose to go out on wets and it definitely looked like they were the right choice on the drying track; I was looking solid in 3rd or 4th outright until the sun dried the track in the last 5 mins, allowing a couple of cars on slicks to out-qualify me. That put me 6th on the grid.

“Qualifying two was excellent though. After the dry laps we did on Friday the team and I worked out some changes to the car that were fantastic! Qualifying a few tenths off the outright pole was awesome – Qualifying in front of Foster, who was sharing the lead in the series, was even more unexpected.

“We had a lot of people from Battery World at the track at the weekend, as well as plenty of ‘Team Tom’ members,” Tweedie added.

“I can’t thank them enough for their support and I’m sure they left the track as happy as I was. Next year is looking fantastic!”

Tom Tweedie and the Battery World / Team Tom / Tizzana Vineyards Dallara will next be in action at the final round of the 2009 Formula 3 Australian Driver’s Championship for the CAMS Gold Star, to be held at Melbourne’s Sandown Raceway between November 27 – 29.

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Dean SmithFor the first time this season, Manor Competition’s Dean Smith has taken the lead in the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship driver standings following the 15th and 16th rounds of the campaign at Silverstone National Circuit over the weekend, 29th/30th August.

The 21-year-old British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star took his eleventh podium finish of the year during round 16 on Sunday with a fine drive to second place and is now tied on 366 points at the top of the championship with Oli Webb. With Formula Renault UK’s ‘drop-score’ ruling applied though, the Manor Competition ace actually has a seven point lead over James Calado.

While delighted to see Wolverhampton-based Smith ascend to the head of the driver standings, the Nottinghamshire squad’s three other drivers, David McDonald, Alice Powell and Thomas Hylkema, each had a frustrating weekend with separate incidents costing them all in both encounters.

Surrey star McDonald raced competitively and although a couple of moments did cost him vital time and track position, he at least scored points in both outings with an 11th place finish in round 15, from 13th on the grid, and 14th position in round 16, from 16th on the grid. While not the results he was hoping for, McDonald at least retains 10th place in the championship.

Race two was certainly the high-point of McDonald’s weekend in terms of the racing and by lap seven he had risen into ninth place following a great move around the outside of Will Stevens at Brooklands. On lap nine though, an unfortunate spin dropped him down the order and he subsequently slipped to 14th place before the finish.

Powell and Hylkema both failed to finish the opening race on the same lap as each other ironically, the Chipping Norton lady racer involved in an incident with Australian Josh Scott at Becketts while Hylkema was pitched into a spin and a retirement of his own on the fourth tour.

Both Manor drivers had been running strongly at the time, Hylkema driving well in 14th having started the race down in 20th place and Powell in 16th position having gained a place on her starting slot of 17th.

Round 16 offered better fortune for the Dutchman as he scored points for 16th place although he was on course for better at mid-distance. Powell once again had the disappointment of another retirement, a spin into the gravel on lap one compounding a difficult weekend at her home track.

Smith, meanwhile, achieved a fifth place finish in race one to add to his round 16 podium. Getting a great start, he was boxed in at the first corner and although grabbing fifth place from Bahraini driver Isa Yousif at Brooklands on lap one he wasn’t able to make any further progress. Although quicker than Harry Tincknell ahead, there just wasn’t the opportunity for a clean pass to be made.

Looking back at the Silverstone weekend, Manor Competition co-owner Sarah Shaw said: “We’re obviously delighted Dean has moved to the top of the championship but we’re all a bit disappointed we weren’t stronger this weekend on the whole. To be on the podium again is fantastic but we had hoped for a bit more, especially for Thomas, David and Alice who all had bad luck.

“It just seemed to be one of those events for us really, David raced well but a couple of moments meant he didn’t score as well as he should and Thomas and Alice were both very unlucky to pick up retirements. It’s been quite frustrating but now we’re looking ahead and turning our attention to Rockingham where we aim to have all four drivers back where they should be.”

There are now just three weeks to wait until the potentially decisive penultimate race meeting of the 2009 season, rounds 17 and 18, which will take place at Rockingham in Northamptonshire over the weekend 19th/20th September.

2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship Standings (after Rd16):
1st Dean Smith, 366pts; 10th David McDonald, 184pts; 16th Thomas Hylkema, 94pts; 21st Alice Powell, 57pts

2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK ‘Graduate Cup’ Standings (after Rd16):
8th Alice Powell, 57pts

2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Team Standings (after Rd16):
3rd Manor Competition, 578pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography

Surrey racing driver Ollie Millroy returned to Formula BMW Europe this weekend at Spa Francorchamps, alongside Formula 1, with a very solid top six finish on Sunday to the delight of his team Raikkonen Robertson. After a disappointing qualifying session on Friday which left him on grid 16 and 15 Ollie had two very solid races although Saturday’s race was unfortunately brought to an abrupt end by mechanical failure.

“I had a problem during qualifying because my radio wasn’t working and I had no contact with the team said Ollie. This caused me to overrun on my first set of tyres and only gave me two quick laps on my second set. I decided I didn’t have time to look for a tow and put two quick laps in on my own which around Spa cost me a lot of time although it could have been worse. Race one on Saturday was going well and after a good start I made up two places at the first corner and worked my way up to 11th place and with still three laps to go there was a failure with the rear wheel bearing which ended my race. In race two on Sunday I again had a good start and throughout the race the car was quick and felt good which allowed me to finish sixth at the chequered flag.”

“After a not such a good start on Friday and Saturday I think I came away with about as good a result as I could expect. The team are great to work with and the car feels good so I can go to Monza in a couple of week’s time confident of getting a good result. I was quickest overall there at the official test earlier this year and with Double R we will be going for the win.”

Alex MacDowallBritish Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star Alex MacDowall secured his 10th ELF Renault Clio Cup podium of the 2009 season at Silverstone National Circuit over the weekend, 29th/30th August, with a tremendous drive through the order from ninth on the grid in the 15th round of the campaign.

While qualifying on Saturday morning didn’t go according to plan due to a small problem with the dampers on the 18-year-old’s car, he still managed to lap within two 10ths of a second of pole position with a time of 1m05.344 seconds (90.29mph) – a superb effort.

Uncharacteristically lining up on the fifth row of the grid for the first race of the weekend, Carlisle-based Alex got a good start and immediately began to make his presence felt at the sharp end as he made his way into the top five by lap two.

At the end of the sixth tour Alex gained another spot at the expense of Aron Smith, who was served with a drive-through penalty for a start-line indiscretion, and into lap seven a mere three 10ths of a second separated the Total Control Racing driver from third placed Tom Carnaby.

With the podium well within his sights Alex pressed on and by lap 11 he was in a position to make his move. Pulling alongside Carnaby at Luffield, the pair ran wheel-to-wheel into the 12th tour and Alex sealed the move by taking third place into Copse.

During the remaining seven laps, Alex pulled out a four second cushion over Carnaby while also closing to within just eight 10ths of a second of championship leader Philip Glew. In addition, he also posted the second fastest lap of the race with a time of 1m05.625 seconds.

Commenting on his latest podium success, the Cumbrian said: “I made a good start, didn’t really get boxed in and went around the outside of (James) Colburn at Copse. There were a lot of people going wide at the first corner but I judged it right and then into Becketts I passed (Aron) Smith for fifth.

“When I got into fourth place I started to catch Carnaby, he seemed to run really wide at Copse and get a good run so I decided to follow his line and it helped me get right onto the back of him and I then passed him at Luffield. He tried to come around the outside of me at Copse on the next lap but I kept the position and then I had the pace to catch the leaders.

“I was consistently doing fastest lap after fastest lap, the car was so hooked up and it was just a shame we had the damper problem in qualifying. If we had started on pole position, or the front row at least, I’m sure I could have won that race. I’m delighted to have another podium though.”

Sunday afternoon’s 16th round was totally luckless for Alex when damage incurred as he tried to avoid a first-corner collision resulted in an eventual retirement from the race on lap six, a harsh blow for his title aspirations. Nonetheless, thanks to Saturday’s impressive podium he retains the Vice-Champion’s position some 44 points clear of his nearest pursuer.

The penultimate race meeting of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup, rounds 17 and 18, will take place three weeks from now over the weekend 19th/20th September at Rockingham International Super Sports Car Circuit in Northamptonshire.

Provisional 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup Standings (after Rd16):
1st Philip Glew, 462pts; 2nd Alex MacDowall, 351pts; 3rd Andrew Herron, 307pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography

Darryl O'YoungDarryl O’Young repeated another strong fourth-place finish since Round 2 in Italy in May at the fifth round of the FIA GT Championship 2009, held at the Hungaroring circuit near Budapest, Hungary today.

Started ninth on the grid, the Hong Kong driver drove two strong stints in the #61 Porsche 997 GT3 RSR and brought home five precious points to his championship fight. The 29-year-old finished all four races he attended so far in the Top 6 and is now ranked seventh overall in the FIA GT2 Driver Championship.

“We did very well in terms of the race itself although a better qualifying position and pit stop would always helped alot,” says the driver of the second factory support Prospeed Porsche.

O’Young had a great opening stint overtaking two cars and placing the #61 Porsche in the leading pack before handling over to German teammate Marco Holzer. With a real chance to finish on the podium, both Holzer and O’Young pushed hard and overtook three more in the two-hour race before finishing with a respectable fourth. However, a problem occurred during the 1st pit stop with the left front wheel nut getting jammed, losing a precious 15 seconds for the team in the race.

“Compared to my first race where I qualified the car at Silverstone in the opening round, I improved alot this weekend though certainly there is still room for improvement. To be this close again to stepping onto the podium is somehow disappointing as we had a genuine shot at the top 3 today. Yet, this is not at all a bad finish considering the problem we had in the pit stop.”

The #61 LKM and A-Ha Coffee sponsored car will head to Algarve, Portugal for the sixth race of the season, which will take place on the 20th of September.

This year’s Budapest race marked the sixth time FIA GT Championship has visited Budapest, with the first race in 1998 and its last in 2006. The Hungaroring circuit is famous for hosting Formula One races which first started in the 1986 season. British driver Lewis Hamilton triumphed here earlier in July, his second Hungaroring victory after the first win in 2007.

Please visit for more race information or for the latest updates about Darryl.

Gabby Chaves (5th in the American Driver Ranking) did something no one else has ever done in Formula BMW Americas history. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find anyone who has pulled off this feat in any racing series anywhere in the world. Gabby Chaves finished on the podium in every one of the 14 races in the 2009 season. A fitting way to bring the series, which has been dropped by BMW, to closure.

The dual Columbian, American citizen completed the accomplishment with another runner up finish, his second at Mosport, after starting once again in the second spot.

“I think that’s what gave me the championship,” Chaves said stating the obvious. “I did really well in the opening races, and then stayed consistent with seconds and thirds, five races in a row. Then at Lime Rock, I think that’s what got the championship with a win and a second that gave me a gap followed by two wins at Road American which clinched it.”

Read the entire article at American Driver Ranking:
Mosport Coverage: Day Three, Part One Chaves Achieves FBMW History

TCR’s Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup squad had a tricky time at Silverstone National Circuit today with both Carl Breeze and Fulvio Mussi struggling with engine-related power issues which ultimately cost both the chance of a potential podium result.

For title challenger Breeze, a strong run to fourth place was a good result all things considered while Mussi had to call on all of his defensive nous to keep a train of cars behind him for almost the entire duration of the 21st round. Better fortune went the way of the team’s Danish driver, Joachim Ritter, who produced one of his best drives of the year to take a very competitive ninth place.

Breeze lined up fifth on the grid for this afternoon’s G50 Cup encounter and although getting away from the line well, he found himself boxed in on the inside run to Copse behind Chris Dittmann and so lost a place to Tom Sharp.

It didn’t take the TCR ace long though to get into the top four where he remained to the chequered flag, pressuring Dittmann for the podium throughout while at the same time defending his top four placing well from the attentions of Sharp.

Mussi made his backed machine as wide as possible to hold on to seventh place with a terrific effort and in doing so he increased his points cushion in fourth place in the driver standings. Ritter, meanwhile, secured his 12th top 10 result with an impressive drive, gaining two places on his starting slot of 11th position and also moving into ninth in the championship.

“We’re definitely lacking some straight-line speed with Carl and Fulvio, we think there’s an engine issue with both of their cars so we need to get that looked into more deeply”, said Brookes, “Taking that into consideration, Carl did a great job to take a fourth place away today and Fulvio defended fantastically to take seventh place after he received yet more contact – he did very well.

“Joachim set some impressive lap times today, his ninth place was a good finish and especially with the fact we had a much bigger grid of cars this weekend. He’s improving more and more and picking up his pace nicely. We’re disappointed not to have been on the podium but the key thing is to get the power issue sorted for Carl and Fulvio so we can be back on top.”

TCR has three races to look forward to tomorrow, Sunday, 30th August, with round 22 of the Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup getting underway at 10.10 and round 16 of the ELF Renault Clio Cup following at around 12.00. The rescheduled 11th round of the Ginetta G50 Cup will take place at approximately 15.55. Please check listings for details of live television coverage on ITV4.

Alex MacDowallELF Renault Clio Cup title contender Alex MacDowall recorded his 10th podium finish of the 2009 campaign at Silverstone National Circuit this afternoon, Saturday, 29th August, to consolidate his runner-up spot in the driver standings and remain in touch with series leader Philip Glew.

The Total Control Racing-run teenager, who started the 15th round of the season an uncharacteristic ninth on the grid after problems with his car’s dampers in qualifying, battled through the order very impressively and finished the race just over a second shy of the race winner, Dave Newsham. In the process, he also produced the second fastest lap of 1m05.625 seconds on the final tour.

Underlining the pace of the TCR cars were team-mates Daniel Lloyd and Mike Robinson, both of whom were faced with difficult challenges for different reasons. While Lloyd qualified a very strong fifth on the grid – a career best effort in Clio Cup – Robinson had to start from 21st and last position when a puncture, mere minutes into the qualifying session, forced him to pull off the circuit.

Although making a good getaway at the beginning of this afternoon’s race, Lloyd lost places on a robust opening lap after receiving a tap from behind and on the following tour he was pushed wide to lose yet more ground. Slipping to ninth position, he fought hard to come back through the order and took a top six finish while also posting the third fastest lap of 1m05.653 en route.

Bitterly disappointed to be starting at the back of the grid after his qualifying woes, Robinson proved beyond any doubt he could have been a podium contender by posting the fastest lap of all in the race – 1m05.566 seconds – and carving his way through to a well deserved 12th place finish.

For round 14 race winner Sam Tordoff, today’s race ended abruptly on lap 16 when he was pitched into retirement after being hit by the car of Stephen Tyldsley at the exit of Luffield. Battling over 12th position at the time, Tordoff’s enforced exit marks only his second non-score of the season.

“All four of our Clio drivers had good pace in the race, even though we did lack some performance in qualifying, and each of them did a solid job”, commented TCR team principal Lee Brookes, “It was great to be on the podium again with Alex, he drove very well, and Daniel’s top six was a very good result considering his troubles on the first couple of laps.

“Mike did a fantastic job to grab the fastest lap and it shows what he might have been able to do if he hadn’t had the puncture in qualifying which forced him to start in last place. We’re obviously very disappointed for Sam, the incident wasn’t his fault he just got hit and that was it.”

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography

Daniel LloydTotal Control Racing’s Daniel Lloyd secured his third top six finish of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup season at Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire this afternoon, Saturday, 29th August, to move back into ninth position in the championship standings following an excellent drive.

The 17-year-old, from Scammonden in West Yorkshire, displayed outstanding pace from the minute pre-race testing began on Friday and during this morning’s all-important qualifying session he was the highest placed TCR driver with a season-best fifth fastest time of 1m05.285 seconds (90.37mph), just two 10ths of a second shy of pole position.

At the start of round 15, Daniel initially got away from the third row of the grid well and looked all set to move into the top four before he received a tap to the rear of his Clio which pitched the car sideways and lost him several places. Managing to get the car pointing in the right direction nicely, he climbed back into the top six but on lap two Daniel was pushed wide at Maggotts and slipped to ninth.

Determined to get back into the top six, the TCR ace set about his recovery drive brilliantly and on lap four he posted the third quickest time of 1m05.653 seconds – faster than the best managed by either eventual race winner Dave Newsham or championship points leader Philip Glew – as he moved into eighth position.

After battling hard with Jake Packun and James Colburn during the mid part of the race, the trio trading positions more than once, Daniel emerged ahead on lap 12 and proceeded to close down fifth placed Lee Pattison. Between lap 14 and lap 17, Daniel closed the gap to Pattison from 1.2 seconds to just two 10ths of a second and just missed out on gaining another place before the finish.

Speaking after the opening race of the weekend, Daniel said: “On the first lap I got a tap from behind as we went through Becketts and Maggotts, the car was sideways but I managed to get it back in a straight line although we did lose a few places. Then I got pushed wide at the same place on the second lap so it made the first half of the race very hard work.

“Obviously a top six is a good result but it is a bit disappointing considering the pace we had, we easily had the speed to be on the podium for the first time. The car felt good and it was consistently fast all the way through the race, without the problems on the first couple of laps we’d have been able to challenge closer to the front. That’s what we intend to do tomorrow, we know we have the pace.”

With team-mate Sam Tordoff and experienced competitor Carl Bradley both failing to finish today’s encounter, Daniel has closed to within 11 points of the championship top eight and has pulled seven points clear of Bradley.

Round 16 of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup will take place at Silverstone National Circuit tomorrow, Sunday, 30th August, at approximately 12.00 and will be screened live on digital satellite, cable and Freeview channel ITV4. Daniel will start the race from sixth on the grid thanks to his second best qualifying time from today of 1m05.447 seconds.

2009 Provisional ELF Renault Clio Cup Standings (after Rd15):
1st Philip Glew, 430pts; 2nd Alex MacDowall, 351pts; 9th Daniel Lloyd, 175pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.