Skip to content

Driver Database News

The latest news from the world of racing

Archive

Archive for May, 2011

Jean-Eric VergneJean-Eric Vergne endured a tough outing in Monaco this weekend, in round seven of the Formula Renault 3.5 season. The Red Bull Junior had a tough qualifying session on Saturday which compromised his weekend, and was handed a 10 second penalty in this afternoon’s race which put him out of the points for the first time this season. Despite his bad luck, Vergne retains the championship lead from team mate Robert Wickens.

Vergne made the most of Thursday’s practice session to familiarise himself with the Monaco circuit on his first visit to the Principality. Just minutes after finishing practice 14th, the Frenchman was in a helicopter on his way to Nice airport in order to get a flight back to the UK where he was due to help Red Bull Racing with simulator work for the Monaco F1 Grand Prix.

Having returned safely to Monaco on Friday night, Vergne took part in Saturday’s qualifying session. In order to reduce the issue of traffic around the twisting circuit, the FR3.5 drivers were split into two groups for qualifying. With the qualifying groups made up by odd or even numbered cars based on championship positions, championship leader Vergne took to the track in Group A which qualified first. Vergne qualified sixth in his group, but in the unusual Monaco qualifying system which alternates grid positions between the two groups, that put him 11th on the grid.

Starting from 11th, Vergne had his work cut out ahead of round seven today. At the start, Vergne found himself boxed in and forced to the inside at the first corner. The Carlin driver was forced to cut the first corner slightly in order to avoid a collision. Vergne gradually made his way through the field as the race progressed, moving up to eighth at the mid way point.

Vergne’s fortunes were about to take a turn for the worse as his team informed him of a ten second penalty for cutting the first corner. The problem was compounded soon after when the safety car came out on track bunching up the field. A second safety car period just a few laps later closed up the field once again, with the pack running almost nose to tail.

With his penalty applied after the race, Vergne was classified 14th and out of the points for the first time this season.

Q. How did you first experience of Monaco go?

A. Its not really a weekend I want to remember to be honest. I just missed out on a last lap in qualifying and that really compromised my whole weekend. If you don’t qualify at the front you know you going you’re going to have a tough race.

Q. Was it a distraction going back to the UK in between practice and qualifying?

A. I don’t think it had a negative effect really. Because of the unusual schedule in Monaco we effectively had a day off on Friday, so I didn’t miss anything by going back to the UK. It’s a privilege to be able to help Red Bull Racing, so it’s not an opportunity that I would ever want to turn down anyway.

Q. How important is qualifying in Monaco?

A. Its extremely important. Qualifying is always key to your weekend, but in Monaco, which is so tight and narrow, it’s essential that you have a good qualifying session. I don’t think there were any overtaking manoeuvres in the Formula Renault 3.5 race today that didn’t result in an accident.

Q. What positives can you take away from this weekend?

A. Its been a tough weekend of sure, but at the end of the day I’m still leading the championship. This is the first weekend so far that I haven’t scored points, so hopefully we have got all our bad luck out of the way this weekend. I’m just focusing on the next race.

Josh Webster - Rd5 Oulton Park WinnerJosh Webster delivered an outstanding performance on his first ever competitive appearance at the challenging Oulton Park Island Circuit in Cheshire on Saturday, 28th May – the teenage star taking his second win of the 2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship and, with it, the series lead.

By far the best weekend of the season so far for the 17-year-old, Stowmarket-based Josh remained fantastically well composed despite red flag stoppages in both rounds five and six to claim victory in the opening encounter, along with the fastest lap, and a strong second place in race two.

With the midway point in the championship now reached, the Nine Telecom Group, Admiral Group, Integra ICT, Sunwise, Melbek Technology, Everyone Active and Flying Saucer-supported driver is 19 points clear at the top of the standings for his Fortec Motorsport team.

“It’s been an amazing weekend, I’m so happy to be leading the championship”, said the Suffolk ace, “The team has done a fantastic job, the car has been absolutely awesome, and to take a win, second place and fastest lap in the first race too – well, it couldn’t have been much better. I’m really happy.”

Arriving at Oulton Park some 17 points adrift of the championship lead, Josh aimed to close the gap as much as possible but little could he have expected the turn-around he achieved – especially with the incident-packed nature of the two races.

In qualifying, the MSA Academy driver just missed out on pole position for round five by 0.1 seconds but importantly secured a front-row starting slot for both races thanks to his customary consistency and sparkling pace.

Making a sensational start to round five to immediately grab the lead, Josh looked well placed to control the action from the front but on lap three the Safety Car was deployed due to an incident at the hairpin. Soon after, the race was stopped and a re-run over a planned distance of seven laps was declared by officials.

Prior to the re-start, a few minutes of rainfall led to the track surface being particularly tricky but Josh handled the situation tremendously. Getting a phenomenal start, he was instantly able to find the grip and determine how hard to push and by the end of lap one held a superb two second lead.

Unchallenged at the front, he led by 2.6 seconds into lap four but due to another incident – this time at Lakeside – the race was red flagged soon after and a result declared from the order at the end of lap three. Josh therefore claimed his second victory of the season and became the first driver in 2011 to secure more than a single win. He also took two bonus points for the fastest race lap.

Moving him to within just one point of the championship lead, Josh had his sights set on more silverware for round six and at the start he managed to take the lead from second on the grid once again before opening up a one second advantage over the first 2.2-miles of racing. As in race one though, red flags were shown due to a multi-car tangle and so the action was annulled on lap four.

After a short break, round six re-started and this time Josh was just shaded into the first corner by category mainstay Kourosh Khani. He remained in close company throughout though and took the chequered flag a mere 0.9 seconds away from another win, in turn keeping experienced Formula Renault racer Dino Zamparelli at bay to surge to the top of the driver standings.

“It was quite difficult at the front in the first race, half the track was wet and half was dry, and with nobody ahead to help judge braking distances or turning points it was tricky”, said Josh, “The car has been immense this weekend though, the guys at Fortec have done an awesome job.”

Josh now has eight long weeks to wait for the start of the second half of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship with rounds seven and eight of the 2011 season set to take place at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire on 23rd/24th July.

Provisional 2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Standings (after Rd6):
1st Josh Webster, 144pts; 2nd Archie Hamilton, 125pts; 3rd Kieran Vernon, 123pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Ronan McKenzieTwelve year old Karting Champion Ronan McKenzie has achieved his second Pole Position of the season and his third podium, finishing third after an eventful days racing at Round three of the Easykart UK Junior 100cc Championship on 22 May.

McKenzie qualified in Pole Position by over a tenth and a half at the Clay Pigeon circuit in Dorset, but due to contact in the first corner lost a couple of places. McKenzie made up a place to finish second, and from second on the grid in the Pre-Final he kept the position for the whole race.

From second on the grid McKenzie had a brilliant start in the 20-lap Final taking the lead in the first corner, but on the next corner was hit wide by the kart behind which dropped him down to eighth place. McKenzie then set about getting back to the front, overtaking karts one by one – on the final lap he set the fastest lap of the race challenging for second place, but could not complete a safe move in the remainder of the lap and had to settle for third.

“Obviously I’m really disappointed with what happened to me at the start of the Final. I had got into the lead when the contact happened, and I was the quickest kart in the race even having to make five overtakes, so I’m sure that I could have driven away to a win. But that’s racing!” Said McKenzie after the race.

McKenzie’s father, Jason added “Even though Ronan lost out on seven places after the incident at the start, he wouldn’t give up – to be honest I think it shows what a talented driver he is that he can come back from such a setback to claim a podium. His overtaking was amazing – good, clean racing, and I think most of the spectators were glued to Ronan’s comeback performance rather than those at the front that benefitted from the incident at the start.”

This latest podium still leaves Birel Easykart Driver Program member McKenzie at the top of the UK Championship leader board, but he is now tied on points with two other drivers with five rounds to go.
Birel will be inviting McKenzie to Italy for a test drive in a KF3 (Kart Formula Three) in July, which if successful will result in a part-funded drive for their Junior Motorsport team in the World Series Kart (WSK) next year, where drivers are routinely scouted by Formula One teams to take onto their youth driver programs.

The next two rounds take place on 9th & 10th July (with a race day on both Saturday and Sunday) at the Whilton Mill International circuit in Daventry, Northamptonshire – McKenzie’s local track where he has been racing since the age of eight.

Ronan McKenzie is competing in the following events in 2011:
Easykart UK Junior 100cc Championship
Easykart International European Junior 100cc Championship
Easykart International Junior 100cc World Finals
Easykart UK Junior 100cc “E” Plate Open Championship

For more information about Ronan McKenzie please visit www.ronanmckenzie.com

Kevin CecconGreat Race 1 for Scuderia Coloni in Monaco: Kevin Ceccon and Michael Herck both boasted an impressive recovery, finishing respectively in P11 and P14, after starting from 11th and 12th row of the grid. Starting behind on a track were overtaking is nearly impossible as Monaco the key aspects were a flawless performance by the drivers and a good team strategy, and Scuderia Coloni had both: the team chose to split the drivers’ strategies and opted for an early pit-stop with Herck and a late one with Ceccon. The Italian driver showed an amazing performance, managing tyre wear in the first half of the race and being able to extend his stint until lap 21. This allowed him to have fresher rubber in the final stages, while his rivals were struggling with worn tyres. In the last ten laps Kevin lapped as fast as the leaders and in doing this he passed his team-mate and Fauzy, then taking advantage of the mistakes from other drivers to clinch P11, an incredible result for a 17 year-old driver at his debut in Montecarlo.

Also Herck contested a great race, and as his team mate he did no mistake at all in a very difficult race. Anyway, his early pit stop strategy meant that in the final laps his Pirellis were suffering a lot, and so he couldn’t attack.

Kevin Ceccon: “Eleventh on my debut in Montecarlo starting from P21 is way beyond my expectations. I think I did a good job in the first half of the race, coping with traffic and managing my tyres, and I’m really satisfied with the second part, as I had a great pace after the pit-stop. As soon as the track was clear in front of me I improved my laptimes a lot and catching the guys in front was quite easy. With this pace I can have good hopes for tomorrow, if we stay out of troubles as today.”

Michael Herck: “In Monaco being quick is just half of the job, the other half is making no mistakes and I managed to do that brilliantly. I’m happy for the positions I gained, things are looking better for tomorrow now, but we have to work a bit on both pace and tyre wear to be really competitive.”

Afiq IkhwanMalaysian single-seater ace, Afiq Ikhwan, stole the show with a brilliant charge in the qualifying session to sensationally claim pole position for tomorrow’s JK Racing Asia Series race at the Sepang Circuit.

The Meritus.GP driver, who is aiming for the championship lead this weekend, made his intentions clear with a sizzling best lap time of 2 minutes 11.701 seconds to claim the No. 1 spot on the grid tomorrow.

Although in a good position, Afiq’s fully aware that the real test will be in the race. “I’m very nervous about tomorrow. I know it will be a tough race for sure but I can’t wait for it to start. I am feeling pretty good and there’s an overall good feeling for the race tomorrow,” said Afiq, who finished second in the the first two races of the season.

Meritus GP, which has PETRONAS as its key sponsor, was delighted with Afiq’s quickest drive today. Trailing Afiq in second place was Irfan Ilyas who was timed at 2:11.948 while Jimmy Antunes was third with his best run of 2:12.460.

Afiq is currently third in the championship with 30 points. Lucas Auer, who was fourth today, is top of the championship with 34 points while Nabil Jefri (PETRONAS Mofaz) is second with 32 points.

“The team has been working hard on the car for this weekend, and today we found the right set-up. Tomorrow morning we’ll be working on the tyre settings,” commented Afiq, who is also hopeful the weather will hold-up this weekend.

“It has not been too hot these few days and I’m hoping the weather will be good on Saturday and Sunday.”

Weather aside, Afiq knows the real threat for him will come in the form of Lucas and Nabil. “They are obviously my main concern.”

In the free session earlier today, Afiq was third with a time of 2:12.549. He snuck in just behind Lucas and Nabil. As it was a free session, Afiq did not go flat out and was saving himself for the official session later in the afternoon.

Akash also had a good warm-up in the free session and finished sixth fastest with a time of 2:13.295. Teammate Andrey Khrapov was 11th while Raj Bharath was 15th in the free session.

Formerly known as Formula BMW Pacific, the Series is now run under Motorsport Asia with the backing of Indian tyre manufacturer, JK Tyre & Industries.

The level of competition in the Series has increased as evidenced right from the start, with the top eight qualifiers coming in within one second of one another. There was plenty of action throughout the two races with battles all the way down the order right to the closing stages of the races, and more of the same is expected during the AFOS event.

Rounds 3-6 of the JK Racing Asia Series will be held as part of the Asian Festival Of Speed event on 28-29 May at Sepang International Circuit. This will be the second outing in Malaysia before the Series travels to Indonesia, China, Singapore and India.

www.Meritus.GP are the most successful team in the history of the series, having won seven consecutive team titles and five of the Drivers’ titles.

Max ChiltonCarlin’s Max Chilton finished in a very strong seventh place in the GP2 Monaco Feature race today, following a chaotic race around the Principality. Team mate Oliver Turvey finished seventh on the road, but was later handed a 30 second penalty for not having taken a drive-through penalty. Turvey’s penalty meant he was classified 15th, the position he will take on the grid tomorrow. Chilton will line up second in tomorrow’s reverse grid race, taking Carlin’s first front row start in GP2.

A brief rain shower a few minutes before the race this morning caused a few moments of concern for the GP2 drivers, but the sky soon cleared and the sun emerged. Lining up on the grid for race one, Chilton was seventh, while Turvey was 15th.

As the lights went out the stalled car of pole sitter Sam Bird provided an immediate obstacle for Chilton, who was forced to swerve to the left to avoid him. In the melee both Jules Bianchi and Esteban Gutierrez managed to get through. In the run down to the first corner Chilton was wheel to wheel with Jonny Cecotto, but the young Brit held his ground and kept the position. At the end of the first lap Chilton was eighth.

After a compromised qualifying session yesterday, Turvey started in the middle of the field and was boxed in at the start. The Racing Steps graduate lost out to Luiz Razia and Dani Clos and by the end of the first lap was 17th, just ahead of Romain Grojean.

By lap seven, Chilton was still eighth behind Gutierrez and holding a comfortable two second gap from Cecotto in ninth. Turvey meanwhile was 15th.

Chilton pitted from eighth on lap nine, the Carlin team changed both rear tyres, with the 20 year-old returning to the track in 14th, just behind Bird and in front of Charles Pic. Bird pitted a lap later elevating Chilton to 13th.

By lap 14, Chilton had cleared both Bianchi and Gutierrez during the pit stop window and was 10th. Turvey meanwhile was making his way through the field and had climbed to third when he made an unexpected pit stop on lap 16. With his radio broken, Turvey was unable to tell his team he was pitting, but the Carlin mechanics did well to return Turvey to the track in a promising ninth place. Almost immediately the team were notified of a drive through penalty for Turvey who was deemed to have jumped the start.

With no radio contact with his team, Turvey was unaware of the penalty and continued to race, and was running seventh on lap 24, with Chilton just behind him in eighth.

The safety car was deployed on lap 34 to clear away debris following an accident between Marcus Ericsson and Sam Bird, with Ericsson’s rear wing lying on the exit of the tunnel. The racing resumed on lap 36, with both Turvey and Chilton still holding onto position in seventh and eighth respectively.

At the chequered flag Turvey was seventh with Chilton eighth, which would effectively have given Carlin a front row lock out in tomorrow’s reverse grid race. However, Turvey was handed a 30 second penalty for not having taken his drive through and was finally classified 15th . That elevated Chilton to a very strong seventh place, which will give him a front row start on the grid tomorrow.

Speaking about his race, Chilton said, “It was a great race, although it felt quite long! I made a good start but had to find a way past Bird and Bianchi made a good start and got past me. In the early stages I had a good pace and was able to stay quite comfortably ahead of Cecotto. In the second half of the race, the team had told me that Oliver had a drive though, so I didn’t want to risk anything trying to pass him, especially as he is my team mate. Then the safety car closed us all up again, but I held my place at the restart. I think we did a good job as a team today, I’m pleased to have taken some points and we’re in a great position on the grid tomorrow.”

“It was a very exciting and challenging race for the team and drivers with a major element of confusion thrown in due to radio failure on Oliver’s car. This affected our ability to inform him of his drive through penalty and as importantly to notify him when to pit. Under the circumstances the mechanics did a fantastic job. Max drove a faultless race and richly deserved to score points this morning. Oliver was unlucky in that his car moved slightly when he put it into gear on the grid and it wasn’t a jump start as such, but rules are rules.”

James Dixon - Clio CupAirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK race winner James Dixon is confident of making a return to the top step of the podium at Cheshire’s Oulton Park next weekend, 4th/5th June, when the 2011 season resumes following a five week hiatus.

The 21-year-old, from Stockbury in Kent, heads into rounds seven and eight of the ultra-competitive championship prepared for a tough challenge but having secured two race wins so far in 2011, along with a further podium, he is currently an impressive second in the driver standings.

In addition to his runner-up spot in the overall points table, the ABP Heating, Weidmuller and The Art of Decorating-backed racer also leads the inter-championship ‘Graduate Cup’ battle by six points having secured three class wins so far.

Spearheading the 2011 attack for multiple Clio Cup title winners Total Control Racing, James has made outstanding progress over the past year. In little more than 12 months since debuting in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship support category he has become a major title threat.

While the previous event at Thruxton in Hampshire wasn’t quite the success James had hoped for, he still managed to pick up fourth and sixth place finishes in the two races to keep the pressure on points leader – and vastly experienced former double champion – Paul Rivett.

“I’ve had a great start to the season and it’s only going to get better”, said James, “I have a strong car beneath me for Oulton and I’ve got a lot of faith we can come back to our winning ways. I’ve only been competing in Clios for just over a year now but the team and I have achieved so much.

“I am ready for the tough fight for the championship, I think my mind is stronger than ever and I have no pressure on me – I just want to win. I know if I want to be racing next year I need the results. I’m aiming for a top drive in BTCC next year and I will do everything I can to succeed in the Clio Cup and try and secure the funding I need to make the step-up.”

Following officially timed testing on Friday, 3rd June, qualifying for rounds seven and eight of the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK will take place at 11.25 on Saturday, 4th June, with the first race of the weekend following at 16.30.

Round eight – which will be screened live throughout the UK on Freeview, digital satellite and cable channel ITV4, on ITV4 HD and also streamed online at www.itv.com/touringcars – will get underway at 15.10 on Sunday, 5th June.

For everyone at TCR the Oulton Park weekend will be one for quiet reflection as it will mark the first event since the very sad and untimely passing earlier this month of much-missed team director Graham Pearce. With that in mind, James is more determined than ever to claim at least one win next weekend to enable him to dedicate the success to Graham’s memory.

Provisional 2011 AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK Championship Standings (after Rd6):
1st Paul Rivett, 161pts; 2nd James Dixon, 140pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Daniel Lloyd - VW Scirocco R-CupBritain’s Daniel Lloyd faces yet another fresh challenge next weekend, 4th/5th June, when the 2011 Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup resumes for the second and third rounds of the season at the recently rebuilt and renamed Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria.

The 19-year-old, from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, delivered a sensational debut performance in the DTM-support category during the championship curtain-raiser at Hockenheim, Germany, last month and is currently second in the standings after a memorable maiden weekend in VW Sciroccos.

Dominating qualifying to secure pole position by a huge 0.6 seconds on his first competitive run at the home of the German Grand Prix, Daniel went on to take a well deserved second place finish in the race itself and is aiming for more podium success in Austria just over a week from now.

The 4.3-kilometre (2.67-mile) Red Bull Ring, formerly known as the A1 Ring and, before that, the Österreichring, will be a new experience for all of the VW Scirocco R-Cup drivers so the playing field should be as level as possible going into the event.

“I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be up there like we were at Hockenheim, I didn’t know the track and we still did a really good job so everything is the same for me on that front”, said Daniel, “I don’t think any of the others should really have any experience of the track this time. That wasn’t the case in Germany but, even so, we still managed to have a really strong weekend.”

Such was Daniel’s pace in Germany, he came within just 0.050 seconds of snatching the race’s fastest lap away from ex-Formula One driver, World Touring Car Championship front-runner and former DTM star Nicola Larini – who, incidentally, finished behind Daniel in third position.

Marking the first ‘double-header’ of the season, only half-points will be available during round two next weekend – as was the case at Hockenheim – as part of a move by Volkswagen Motorsport to ensure no driver starts the year with a significant advantage.

In round three though, maximum points will be up for grabs for the first time making it the most important race yet of 2011. With the finishing order of the first encounter setting the grid for the second though – with the exception of the top eight which will be reversed – anything could happen!

Daniel adds: “You can’t start holding back and playing tactics so early in the season so I’ll go out and give it my all in the first race and then see what happens for race two. One thing we will have to be sensible with though is tyres, it’ll be really important to look after them. I have had a look at the track on the i-Zone simulator and it does seem quite tricky, it should be a great challenge.”

To add extra flavour, the non-scoring ‘Legends’ class will feature some stars of the ski-slope rather than the race track. Olympians Sven Hannawald, Thomas Morgenstern and Adam Malysz will join the grid along with Alpine downhill World Champion Michael Walchhofer and Super G Olympic silver medallist Hans Knauß. Hannawald – the latter a car racer in his own right in the ADAC GT Masters.

Following free practice on Friday, 3rd June, qualifying and round two are scheduled to take place on Saturday, 4th June, at 12.10 (local time) and 17.10 respectively with round three following on Sunday, 5th June, at 16.10.

Round two will be screened live on digital satellite and cable channel Motors TV from 15.55 UK time on the Saturday with round three on the Sunday to be shown delayed as-live at 20.10. Please check listings and www.motorstv.com for up-to-date broadcast schedules.

To keep up with all the latest news regarding Daniel’s participation in the VW Scirocco R-Cup, please visit his official website www.daniellloydracing.com, follow him on Twitter @Daniellloyd23 and check out his exclusive blog at the Motors TV website www.motorstv.com

Provisional 2011 Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup Driver Standings (after Rd1):
1st Mateusz Lisowski, 30pts; 2nd Daniel Lloyd, 24pts

Photo by Volkswagen Motorsport.

Alex MacDowallSilverline Chevrolet’s Alex MacDowall aims to close some “unfinished business” at Oulton Park in Cheshire next weekend, 4th/5th June, when the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship makes its annual visit to the north-west of England.

Carlisle-based Alex, who is currently eighth in the driver standings ahead of the first of two ‘home’ events for him on the 2011 calendar, came extremely close to achieving his maiden BTCC victory during the corresponding race meeting last year.

Starting the third of the weekend’s races from pole position, a driveshaft failure while leading robbed him of a potential victory – something he aims to rectify next weekend at the picturesque 2.2-mile parkland track.

That said, the 20-year-old British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Superstar knows the task will be even harder this year with the well-documented performance advantage held so far by the turbo-charged Hondas, Fords and Vauxhalls in comparison to his normally-aspirated 2.0-litre Chevrolet Cruze.

He commented: “I feel like I have unfinished business with Oulton Park, I was robbed of a win last year due to the broken driveshaft. I think in qualifying we will be closer to the turbo cars than we have been so far this year but they will still be hard to beat.

“I should have qualified on pole at Oulton last year by 0.4 seconds so if I can produce a lap time like that again, I think I have a good chance of being on the front row. The Chevrolet Cruze is the best overall package on the grid and Oulton is the most demanding track on the calendar. My aim for the weekend is to try and end up seventh in the championship – we’ll be pushing as hard as ever.”

Having scored in seven of the nine races contested so far this season, the hugely talented Cumbrian has been a consistent front-runner but he’s hungry for a return to the podium. The closest Alex has been so far was during round six at Donington Park in mid-April when he finished fourth. Despite starting on pole position, the speed advantage of the turbos was simply too much to overcome.

Free practice at Oulton Park is scheduled to take place at 09.30 and 12.45 on Saturday, 4th June, with qualifying – coverage of which will be streamed live online at www.itv.com/touringcars – set to follow at 15.15. Round 10 will be the opening race of the day on Sunday, 5th June, at 12.15 with round 11 expected to start at 14.30 and round 12 set to begin at 17.10.

As ever, live coverage of all three BTCC encounters will be screened on Freeview, digital satellite and cable channel ITV4, on the ITV4 HD channel and also streamed online at www.itv.com/touringcars

Provisional 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Standings (after Rd9):
1st Matt Neal, 90pts; 8th Alex MacDowall, 28pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Seb Morris - Ginetta G40Oulton Park Island Circuit in Cheshire will be the venue for the resumption of the 2011 Ginetta Junior Championship next weekend, 4th/5th June – and local driver Seb Morris is bidding to make it a happy homecoming as he strives to increase his already substantial points lead.

Over the course of the first six races of the season the 15-year-old from Marford, near Wrexham, has been nothing short of sensational with five victories and one second place giving him a very healthy 76-point cushion at the head of the championship standings.

Although his undefeated streak came to an end during round five at Thruxton almost four weeks ago, Seb missing out on the win by a mere 0.036 seconds at the chequered flag, he hit back superbly in round six with yet another success and new lap record to confirm his pace and prowess.

With Oulton Park’s sweeps and challenging corners always providing spectacular racing, the Liberty Properties Plc and Legat Owen-backed driver is really looking forward to his ‘home’ event where his desire for victory will be stronger than ever. Of paramount importance though will be the Hillspeed racer’s quest to further extend his outstanding championship lead.

“I really am looking forward to Oulton Park”, said the 2010 Ginetta Junior Winter Champion, “It’s always great being at your home circuit and, hopefully, we’ll have plenty of local support. As I’ve said since the start of the season, I want to win every time I race – and I really want to win at Oulton – but the most important thing right now is the championship, we need to keep building that lead.”

Seb, who is currently in the midst of his GCSE studies at The King’s School, Chester, is in a superbly strong position in the driver standings but most definitely isn’t getting carried away. At such a tender age, the mature approach he takes to his racing is remarkable.

He added: “I really learnt a lot at Thruxton last time out. We always knew the run of wins would end at some point and although it was disappointing, you have to be realistic. If you can’t win, second place isn’t a bad result! It’s been a long time now since the last round so I can’t wait to be back in the car. If we can qualify on the front row, we’ll be in a great position to have another strong weekend.”

Officially timed testing ahead of next weekend’s action at Oulton Park will take place on Friday, 3rd June, with an additional practice on Saturday, 4th June, ahead of qualifying at 14.20. Round seven will then get underway at 17.50.

On Sunday, 5th June, the eighth round of the Ginetta Junior Championship season will commence at approximately 16.30 and will be screened live across the UK on Freeview, digital satellite and cable channel ITV4 and also on the ITV4 HD channel. In addition, the racing will be streamed live online at www.itv.com/touringcars.

Provisional 2011 Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings (after Rd6):
1st Seb Morris, 211pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.