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Archive for September, 2009

Alexander Rossi secured the International Formula Master Rookies’ Championship in dramatic style at Imola on Sunday, by winning a thrilling final race of the season. Alexander ended the season championship nine points clear in the rookies’ standings and fourth overall.

“My first season racing in Europe was something that I will never forget,” Alexander commented. “I came into the championship without any winter testing as well as a team change mid season, which caused some high moments, but just as many low moments throughout the year. However, what I learned and was able to experience is something that I will remember for the rest of my motorsport career. On top of this, finishing off the season with the rookie title and win number three was very rewarding and it just made me realize that one can never stop pushing in and out of the car even if the results are not always there.”

After crossing the line with what he believed was a 6th place qualifying effort, Alexander was shocked to learn that his on track performance was being reviewed. Later, he would be informed that he was to be given a questionable five-place grid penalty for using “too much road” on the exit of the famous corner Acque Minerali, thereby not “respecting the track boundaries.” Not allowing this to dissuade his focus, Alexander was motivated as he clawed his way back to the top of the order for the remainder of the weekend.

“I was obviously not satisfied with qualifying 6th, as the potential for the front row was there; however, we lost valuable time during my pit stop for the 2nd set of new tires,” Alexander said. “Additionally the stewards imposed a new rule immediately before qualifying, which was meant to prevent drivers from running four wheels over the white line on exit of Acque Minerali. I ran over the line and do not dispute that, but what was frustrated at the time given the fact that a large percentage of the field did the same thing. It is the quickest way through that corner and only myself and Josef Kral were penalized.”

As a result of the penalty, Alexander was relegated to 11th place on the grid for race one. This setback was certainly behind him as he drove a brilliantly aggressive race, overtaking six cars to finish 5th.

Alexander lined up fourth on the grid for race two. He had a brilliant start to the race overtaking two positions and was in second behind team-mate Erik Janis by the exit of Turn 1. For the next 11 laps, Alexander targeted a move for the lead but had to patiently wait for the right opportunity while withstanding pressure from Josef Kral in third place. Alexander overtook the lead on lap 12 with an amazing move to the inside entering the 2nd chicane Villeneuve. Once free from Janis, Alexander was immediately able to stretch a gap and received the chequered flag with a 1.7 second advantage ahead of Kral 2nd, Afanasiev 3rd and Janis 4th.

“Sunday’s race win was probably Alexander’s best drive of the season,” says ISR team principal Igor Salaquarda. “He was under pressure for a long time, but he didn’t make a single mistake for the whole race. It was a very good way for him to end the season because it proved what a good driver he is.”

While Imola was the final event of the International Formula Master 2009 Championship, Alexander has a commitment to participate in the GP2 Main Series Collective Tests at Jerez, Spain, October 6-8th and Paul Ricard, France, November 10- 12th. Rossi will use these tests to better prepare for his Formula One test with BMW Sauber also in Jerez, December 1st – 3rd.

Rossi is currently residing in Marina di Pietrasanta, Italy where he trains daily with Beppe Sebastiani, preparing for the tests mentioned above and the 2010 season. Rossi will have short holiday in December when he will come home to California.

“I am looking forward to my schedule for the next couple of months as the opportunities that have presented themselves are incredible,” Alexander commented. “I will be pushing very hard to do a good job in both the GP2 tests as well as the Formula One test. My fitness program is being increased all the time and I am very confident that I will be ready to maximize my potential in cars of such calibre.”

Local team Comprent Motor Sports, based just 1 hour from the Road Atlanta circuit in Athens Georgia, might have a home track advantage this weekend. And they’re once again looking to be hometown heroes.

Team owner Kevin Kloepfer and Comprent have much experience and knowledge to draw upon for this weekend.

“For over 20 years we have existed and spent more time at Road Atlanta than any other circuit. Last year we were the hometown heroes; all but clinching the 2008 IMSA Lites 1 Championship when Jonathan Goring took out both races from pole. After that we only needed 1 point for the Championship in Monterey.”

Comprent’s Australian driver Tom Drewer is somewhat a ‘local’ too. He has made Georgia his US base for the past two years, this season staying near the Comprent team in downtown Athens.

He also shared success last year taking out the IMSA Lites 2 Championship at Road Atlanta, scoring his seventh and eighth wins of the season.

Charlie Shears will be another one to look out for this week. He missed earlier rounds due to illness and the birth of a child but returned in style at Lime Rock to score Comprent’s maiden 2nd place of the season.

Teammate Jonathan Gore is expected to make his return after missing Canada due to illness. Last year Jonathan scored one of his best finishes of the season at Road Atlanta with 2nd place in race 2. Furthermore, he leads Comprent’s 2009 podium tally with 3 third places and recently showed he had what it takes when he took the fastest lap of race one at Lime Rock to qualify on pole for race two.

The father and son due of Wayne and David Ducote will also make their return after missing Canada. Son David has just completed a two day test with Comprent at Road Atlanta and set impressive times in the sweltering heat. He feels “extremely positive coming into this round with a few laps” under his belt.

This week however, it may not be sweltering heat that the drivers feel here in Braselton. Rain still looms over the fast undulating 2.54mile (4km) circuit after Atlanta experienced record downpours over the previous six days.

Comprent Motor Sports and the IMSA Lites are scheduled to hit the track Thursday for Qualifying and Race 1 at 5:20pm and Friday for Race 2 at 12:10pm.

Lee NapolitanoLydd-based Wavertree Motorsport is celebrating a victorious conclusion to the British Super 1 championship, after its drivers won the Mini and Junior Max finals at PFi last Sunday (20 September).

Jack Barlow led the team’s assault in the Mini Max class and showed that he is a huge talent for the future by fighting his way from 20th on the grid, to win the pre-final. He then went on to dominate the main final, taking the chequered flag more than five seconds ahead of his nearest challenger.

Team boss, Matt Napolitano said, “Jack was brilliant. He didn’t make a mistake all weekend”.

Jack’s Mini Max team-mate Aidan Hills also enjoyed a strong conclusion to the season, scoring his first top ten finish in his maiden Super 1 campaign, with a fine 8th place.

Lee Napolitano was also in sparkling form, in what was one of his last races in Junior Max. Fastest in timed qualifying, the 2008 Junior Max GP winner won both his heats before completing a perfect weekend for himself and his family’s team, by leading home the field in the two finals.

“Lee was just fantastic,” beamed Matt, who is also his uncle. “He won every time he went out on track. It was a superb way to round off the season, especially after such an awful start. The Lee that won Kart Masters last year, is back!”

Fellow Junior, Ashlee Whiteman delighted his team boss by achieving his target of a top 15 position in the points table – finishing 13th overall. “Ash got a seeded number, which is what we all wanted at the beginning of the year,” Matt said. He also expressed his pleasure at seeing Super 1 debutant Jack fighting for the championship.

“I am absolutely over the moon. We weren’t expecting to be challenging [for the championship] in Jack’s first year. Going into that last round was incredible. The pressure we were under was immense. But it says a lot about him and the equipment under him [Alonso chassis and WMS-prepared engines], that he has been a consistent front-runner all season”.

The team is now turning its attention to clinching the Formula Kart Stars title with Jack.

“We really want to win it. It’ll be a big shame if we don’t because we’ve pretty much been leading it from the start. But we’ll go to Whilton Mill [on 3/4 October] with a ‘what will be, will be’ attitude. What we have achieved so far this year has been amazing, all the boys have shone, so I’ll be saying ‘just go out there and do your best’.”

Matt knows that Jack will be feeling the heat, but has several methods to relieve anxiety. “We’re a family-run team and my belief is, if the kids aren’t having fun – what’s the point? We enjoy a lot of banter in the awning, have a laugh and use silly hand-signals in testing to try and take the driver’s mind off the pressure. It’s a much nicer way to go racing.”

For drivers looking to run with a multiple championship-winning team, in a friendly and positive environment, Wavertree Motorsport has opportunities available right now. Call Matt Napolitano for a friendly chat on 01797 321075/07876 541032.

Wavertree Motorsport is also an authorised Rotax supplier and sealing agent. Renowned for preparing some of the country’s quickest engines at competitive prices, Paul Napolitano senior is the man to talk to, if you want your Max race-tuned or simply have a general enquiry regarding your motor. Call him on 01797 321075/07879 626655

For more information about Wavertree Motorsport, click on www.wavertreemotorsport.co.uk

Federation Internationale d´Automobile (FIA) visits Campos Meta at Dallara.
Campos Meta received the visit of the FIA delegates. The objective of the visit was to look into the evolution of the 2010 Formula One season cars. The meetings were held in the headquarters of Dallara. The members of Campos Meta and the FIA delegates reviewed all aspects of the project. The feedback from FIA has been extremely positive as all the steps and deadlines have been fulfilled. Campos Meta is ready to put the car on track mid-January 2010.

Campos Meta joins FOTA.
During the last Monza Grand Prix, Campos Meta confirmed FOTA its intention of being part of the Formula One Teams Association. In the following weeks, with the approval from the Executive Committee of FOTA, Campos Meta will become a full rights member. This week, Team Manager Adrián Campos, will be attending FOTA meetings in Singapore.

FOTA has the objective to promote the development of Formula One and enhance its worldwide image and reputation. By joining the association, Campos Meta reenforce their full implication in the 2010 Formula One season.

Campos Meta confirms Cosworth as engine partner.
Adrián Campos, Campos Meta Team Principal: “We are delighted to work together with Cosworth. They have an experienced and committed team working on the development of our engines and we are convinced they will deliver precisely what is needed to fulfill our objectives and a successful debut in Formula One.”

Kidderminster’s Nathan Freke, racing for Century Motorsport had a varied weekend at Rockingham, but left requiring only 10 more point to clinch the Michelin Ginetta G50 championship at the final 3 races at Brands Hatch (Oct 3rd/4th).

After finishing runner-up to closest title rival Frank Wrathall in Saturday’s 10-lap race and then dropping out of contention in Sunday morning’s 24th round with alternator problems, although after a pit stop he did manage a top 10 finish. Nathan scorched to a clear victory in the third of the weekend’s races to lead home team-mate Benji Hetherington in the first ever one-two finish for the EOS Productions-backed squad.

Frank Wrathall had closed down nathan’s advantage to 64 points with a win in round 24, capitalising well on the car problems encountered by Nathans. While it is still mathematically possible for Wrathall to win the 2009 Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup, the odds are stacked massively against him and Nathan will only need an 11th place finish in the first of the trio of races at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit next month to seal the title victory.

Nathan’s 12th win of the season in round 25 came off the back of a controlled drive from pole position, speaking after round 25, Nathan said: “This win makes up for the problem in the previous race. I didn’t get the best start while Frank (Wrathall) got away well, but then at Deene all I could see behind was carnage. My car was sublime, the team has done a fantastic job all season and I’m ecstatic to see team mate Benji (Hetherington) on the podium too; a one-two for Century Motorsport, it can’t get any better.”

The season finale of the 2009 Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup with rounds 26, 27 and 28 will be taking place over the weekend 3rd/4th October at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in Kent.

Nathan is now considering his options for 2010 and is looking at either British Touring Cars or the Porsche Carrera Cup, both of which will require extensive funding.

Opportunities with Nathan Freke can be explored by calling either of the numbers below or e mail mail@centurymotorsport.com.

Century Motorsport
07947 883103
07710 232813
www.centurymotorsport.com
www.nathanfreke.com
www.starting-karting.com

Last weekend’s Formula 2 race has been one to forget for Edoardo Piscopo at Imola. Running in the Italian race of the 2009 championship, Piscopo has been hit by technical issues again. On the two races, he respectively scored his 7th DNF due to mechanical problems in 7 events, while he was forced to recover on Race 2 by a grid penalty, showcasing a masterful passing ability despite a set-up problem. Edoardo will be back ontrack on September 18 at Monza, in the Italian round of the 2009 Formula 3000.

“It’s been another tough weekend. In practice I ended up in 11th and 8th place, but technical issues slowed me down or stopped from then on for all the two days. I did everything I could and I tried so hard, but that’s how it ended up. I look forward to the next race, in the Euroseries 3000 at Monza”.

Rodolfo AvilaRodolfo Avila is relishing another big test of his career this weekend when he becomes the first Macau driver to line up in the famous Singapore Grand Prix, on the stunning Marina Bay Street Circuit, the highlight of the 2009 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season.

Marina Bay is the first and only street circuit on this year’s calendar and the venue is part of the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix weekend from September 25-27. Championship top-3 contender Avila is staying calm ahead of the Singapore race saying, “Singapore poses an awesome driving challenge, and I am proud to be the first Macanese to race in this prestigious event. Anyway I am taking the race as any other race and I am focus to get another podium.”

In what is proving to be a brilliant Porsche Carrera Cup Asia series debut, Asia Racing Team’s driver continues to prove he is a serious title contender with five podium finishes thus far, including two victories, the 22-year old from Macau is just three points behind two-time PCCA champion. “I don’t expect an easy weekend. The circuit requires 100% concentration and accuracy. I never drove in this track before and I just have one session of 30 minutes to get familiar with the track. All my opponents raced year last here, and this race will have some quick guest drivers too”, held Avila.

The event will be held in the city’s marina area on a 5.067 km temporary street circuit that runs down Raffles Boulevard and over the mouth of the Singapore river past City Hall into Raffles Avenue, home to luxury hotels and imposing skyscrapers. Avila’s Macanese race engineer Duarte Alves shares the same optimism and caution: “As many street circuits, the Singaporean track is very challenging. This street circuit has a total of 23 corners, more than usual for a race circuit. The grip level is very poor at the beginning of the weekend and the asphalt very bumpy. We need to find a good setup quickly as the practice time is short, and we need to take a special attention to the tires performance. I believe if Rodolfo trusts in the car from the beginning we have chance to leave Singapore with a good result.”

During the summer break Avila received good news. An old-time sponsor came along right on time for the Singapore GP – TsingTao Beer / San Chon Hong Macau. “I am extremely pleased they have now decided to join us in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and, as with all our sponsors, we will be working hard to ensure they derive the maximum commercial benefit possible from their partnership with us.”

But the best for Avila is yet to come. The Macanese ace expects a very good new in the end of the week: “I can’t reveal anything about it right now but, if everything goes according to plan, this is going to be a major boost for our outfit and for Macau motorsports”.

The event kicks off for the Macau, BNU, RPmacau, Fat Siu Lau, Sujika Crafts, PAL Asiaconsult, Asia Creative Group and TsingTao Beer / San Chon Hong Macau sponsored Porsche 997 GT3 Cup with Free Practice at 20.00 on Friday 25 September. Saturday features the Qualifying session at 17.45. The 12-lap race will take place at 17.30 on Sunday 27 September and will be aired live on Channel 5 – Mediacorp, the biggest broadcasting station in Singapore.

Andre BorellAndre Borell and Master Electricians Racing are looking to finish the 2009 Genuine Ford Parts Australian Formula Ford Championship in style. With the championship already decided with Nick Percat having taken the 2009 crown – the Nikon SuperGP on the Gold Coast may not be a series decider – but will still be an exciting event with everyone looking to stamp their authority on the streets of Surfers and signal their intentions for 2010.

Andre Borell started his preparation for the Nikon SuperGP by racing on the streets of the Gold Coast in a different disciple recently – the ITU Triathlon World Championships. Andre stunned his competitors by placing 2nd in the Male 20-24 SprintMan category. Andre loved the event, intending to compete in the world famous Noosa Triathlon in November. “It’s a great sport, I love it. I didn’t expect to place on the podium on the Gold Coast. I had a really bad swim, but recovered on the bike and blew them away on the run. I intend to get into it a lot more – the fitness benefits translate directly to how you feel physically in the Formula Ford”.

With his full attention now turned to the Nikon SuperGP, Andre intends to go one better than his Triathlon performance come October. “We are making some massive changes to the car for meeting. The circuit is all about braking and power-down. We are fitting new brakes as well as redesigning the suspension geometry to make the car better in these two areas, especially power-down. That is where we have struggled all season. It’s a big move, and it will either pay dividends or be a disaster. It’s all or nothing here – win it or bin it. Actually I’ll be happy with a Top-5, but that doesn’t sound as cool” said a jovial Borell.

With Master Electricians confirmed to be staying on board for 2010, Andre also hopes to have a strong showing so that he can carry some momentum into the 2010 Australian Formula Ford Championship. Andre explains his decision, and his affection for Formula Ford: “Why would you race any other category? It’s second only to V8 Supercars in terms of professionalism and on-track competitiveness in Australia. Racing Formula Ford again is a no brainer, you can’t race at a higher level in this country unless you are in a V8. Next year we will have more resources, new equipment, and we are going for the Title”. Borell however remained tight lipped on his exact plans for 2010, including team and chassis choices. “We’ll announce that in good time…” said the 22-year old.

With his SuperGP and 2010 Formula Ford plans so ambitious – Andre Borell and Master Electricians Racing are faced with a very steep mountain to climb, but the evidence so far indicates they are up to the task. Andre is also up for nomination to win an entry into the GRAND PRIX SHOOTOUT competition held in the UK – make sure you head www.driverdb.com/drivers/33514/ and register your vote.

Andre is supported by Master Electricians, simPRO, Extreme Safety, Wizzard Concrete, Xtreme Racing, PM Lubricants and Powerade. For more information please visit www.andreborellmotorsport.com

Sean HuytonAughton racer Sean Huyton came within one hundredth of a second of a podium finish in the penultimate round of the Ginetta Cars Texaco Havoline Championship at Brands Hatch.

The 19-year-old claimed two fourth place finishes at the Kent circuit, finishing just 0.03 and 0.01 seconds behind third in races one and two respectively.

Both results enabled Huyton to close the gap on fourth placed David Jackson in the championship to just 18 points with two races left.

September sunshine illuminated the Kent circuit for both races and Huyton climbed from eighth place on the grid to fifth place after just two laps of race one.

He continued to press and his determination and superb lap times were almost given the perfect reward at the chequered flag with a podium finish. But he finished less then a tyre width behind Andrew Richardson.

In race two Huyton was involved in a four-way fight for the lead all the way to the chequered flag, finishing less than half a second behind the winner.

However the dramatic four-way finish at the line separated him from a podium finish by just a matter of inches.

Sean said: “I thought I couldn’t get any closer to that elusive podium place, but in race two I managed to do that!

“The points have given me a good chance of finishing the season in fourth place overall, hopefully the two places today are a subtle hint.

“The improvements in the car since Silverstone have made the difference and I know my pace and car are able to challenge for a podium and even a win.

“I’d like to again thank my increasing number of supporters for coming along to Brands Hatch and look forward to seeing everyone in Belgium for the final meeting.”

Sean’s next race and final meeting of the season will be at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium on 3rd and 4th October.

Local schoolgirl and racing driver Alice Powell has been shortlisted for the 2009 “Women of the Future Awards”. (www.womenofthefuture.co.uk)

The Awards are the most powerful platform in Britain, to celebrate outstanding young women who are transforming Britain for the better and will be held on November 12 the Marriott Grosvenor Square, hosted by BBC London’s Riz Lateef.

Alice has been nominated for the Young Star Award for women in the 16 to 21 age category.

The Awards feature high fliers from organisations such as IBM, HSBC and JP Morgan. The 2009 shortlist is the most impressive and diverse to date and includes the singers from Wicked – Alexia Khadime & Dianne Pilkington, founder of Pineapple Studios Debbie Moore and tailor Kathryn Sargent.

Alice, who lives in Chipping Norton and attends the Cotswold School near Cheltenham, says: “It’s a real honour to be shortlisted and get recognition. Few women have made it in motorsport and no one has made a real impact in F1 – that is my ambition. I think the time is right, if a girl is out there doing well then more women would watch Formula 1 – it would definitely make it more exciting.”

Alice continues: “I’d like to be a role model for girls entering motor sport. A successful woman in motor sport would be a true ambassador for the sport and women wanting to enter it and do well. I am breaking new ground and would like to do for motor sport what Ellen MacArthur has done for sailing.”

This is the first time the Awards have acknowledged young stars aged 16-21.

In 2009 Alice Powell, aged just 16, became the youngest female driver in the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship, the 150mph single-seater race series which provides a stepping stone to Formula 1.

Competing with the championship winning team Manor Competition who launched the careers of F1 Champions Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Räikkönen – Alice is definitely in the right place.