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Archive for August, 2011

Jordan King - Most PodiumBritish racer Jordan King took MP Motorsport back onto the podium during the latest round of the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup at Most in the Czech Republic on Sunday, 28th August, while Estonia’s Karl-Oscar Liiv came tantalisingly close to doubling up for the Dutch team.

Without doubt the best weekend of 2011 so far for the front-running Formula Renault squad, King and Liiv proved to be a match for the championship leading Red Bull Junior drivers throughout while team-mate Alexey Chuklin continued his impressive rise up the ranks.

Just a few days removed from the most recent round of Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit the weekend prior, MP Motorsport travelled directly to the Czech Republic for the most easterly situated race meeting of the NEC campaign.

Rapid from the off during practice, where King was fastest of all across the four sessions, along with Liiv the pair confirmed the team’s superb pace in qualifying on Saturday, 27th August, with the fifth and fourth fastest times respectively. During qualifying for the second of the weekend’s three races, King starred by sealing a front-row start while Liiv was ninth quickest.

During the opening encounter, Liiv raced impressively and came within just 0.5 seconds of climbing the podium as he pressured Stoffel Vandoorne all the way to the chequered flag. Chuklin fought his way through strongly from 21st on the grid into 14th position but for King the chance of a podium went begging when contact with Alessio Picariello while contesting third place resulted in an excursion – he finished a lap down.

Sunday’s racing began with a deserved celebration as King lapped consistently on the pace of Carlos Sainz Jnr and Daniil Kvyat on his way to a fantastic third place finish. At the end of the 17-lapper he was a mere 0.8 seconds shy of Kvyat and only 1.5 seconds adrift of winner Sainz Jnr. King’s fastest lap of the race, incidentally, was 1m32.794 seconds – just 0.2 seconds shy of the best of the race.

Liiv was again in terrific form too and carved his way past several cars to rise from ninth on the grid into fifth position at the finish. Like King, the Estonian’s pace was impressive and his quickest lap was less than 0.2 seconds outside his team-mate’s best. Once again, Russian racer Chuklin delivered a strong drive to end up in 16th place from the 10th row of the grid.

The third and final race at Autodrom Most could have produced the second podium of the event for MP Motorsport but Liiv had to settle for fourth, just under two seconds shy of the rostrum. Chuklin drove superbly to take 12th position right on the tail of Picariello and Rafael Danieli but King had to face more misfortune when a questionable drive-through penalty was handed out.

Forced to start at the back of the grid, due to his finishing position from the opener, the youngster made a fantastic getaway and rapidly climbed into the mid-order. Unfortunately for King, he was then forced to serve a penalty following a pass on Richard Gonda but the decision was certainly erroneous and meant he was only then able to recover into 16th place.

“Overall, we really are very happy with the way this weekend has gone”, said MP Motorsport team principal Sander Dorsman, “It’s been our best race meeting of the season by far, Jordan and Karl-Oscar were on the pace all weekend and really took the fight to the Red Bull guys. Alexey keeps on impressing us with his progress and the visit to Most saw another improvement. All in all, a fantastic event.”

MP Motorsport continues its hectic schedule this weekend, 3rd/4th September, by participating in the Auto GP Championship event in Valencia, Spain, with Dutch driver Daniël De Jong. From there, the team will prepare for the penultimate rounds of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship which will be held at Paul Ricard in the south of France on 17th/18th September.

Photo by Chris Schotanus/Essay Produkties.

John BurtonJohn Burton made it four wins from six races in the Martini Trophy when the series switched to Oulton Park for the HSCC’s Gold Cup meeting (28/29 August).

Created by the Historic Sports Car Club, the Martini Trophy is for the 2-litre sports-racing cars of the 1970s and has a four-event schedule in 2011. The Oulton Park races marked the third weekend of the season and the 2-litre cars made a great spectacle as Oulton Park hosted its first 2-litre sports car race.

For the second event running Burton was the class of the pack in his Chevron B26 as the pair of races followed similar patterns. Twice Charlie Kemp (Lola T210) chased the flying Chevron to earn a brace of second places overall as well as a double victory in the class for non-winged cars. “Charlie kept me honest all the way through,” said Burton. “He drives brilliantly and I couldn’t let up for a second,” said Burton. Kemp was pleased to have stayed in touch with the newer car. “I never gave up,” said the Lola racer.

Third place in both races fell to Doug Hart (March 75S), despite this being something of a bogey track for the Londoner. Although he likes the track, Hart is always aware that he had his biggest ever accident at the Cheshire track several years ago.

A fine fourth in the opening race, to record his best Martini Trophy result to date, was Al Fleming (Chevron B36) after a long battle with the B19 of Jonathan Loader. Having both retired with minor problems in Sunday’s race, Sandy Watson and John Sheldon took fourth and fifth on Monday in their B19s. Watson was delighted with the result despite some worries during the 25-minute race. “The exhaust broke, the rear bodywork was loose and the oil pressure light was coming on,” said the Swiss-based Scot. Sheldon was pleased with his result after being sidelined by a failed battery in the opening race. “It’s lovely to come back to Oulton Park,” said Sheldon.

Making its Martini Trophy debut was the Chevron B31 shared by Graeme and James Dodd and resplendent in a new Martini stripes livery. Although the car showed strong pace – Graeme ran as high as third in the opening race – fuel pressure problems blunted their challenge with the car that Graeme intends to race regularly in 2012.

The final 2011 date for the Martini Trophy is at the Dijon (France) on 1/2 October.

For more details about the HSCC, please visit www.hscc.org.uk.

Seb Morris is the man to beat in the Ginetta Junior Championship as the series heads to Knockhill this weekend.

Watch a round of the Ginetta Junior Championship and you forget that you are watching teenagers, not yet old enough to drive on the road. When it comes to exciting racing and brave overtaking, there is nothing quite like it! It is also the perfect training ground for tomorrow’s stars. A racetrack or a classroom? Forget theory tests, this is the best way to learn.

Seb Morris (Hillspeed) has been in great form this season. He’s had nine wins, four on the bounce at the start of the season and leads by a margin of 114 points from George Gamble (TJ Motorsport), who beat him to the line at Thruxton. These two are proving to be hard to beat, but they are not invincible: take Charlie Robertson (HHC Motorsport) as an example. The 14-year-old won at Croft and came close to a victory at Snetterton, and has proved to be an impressive newcomer in his maiden season of car racing. This weekend is a home race for Robertson as his family hails from Scotland and he has been a multiple Scottish karting champion. He goes to school in Surrey these days, but is very proud of his Scottish ancestry.

Robertson lies just five points behind Gamble and may well be able to overhaul him this weekend, while William Foster is looming large in their mirrors. Add into the mix Jake Giddings (FML), Tom Howard (Tollbar Racing with WIRED) and Max Coates, plus Patrick McClughan (HHC Motorsport) and Struan Moore (Hillspeed) and there are plenty of drivers all capable of grabbing a top six finish this weekend. Declan Jones will be one to watch as well, having shown increased pace in recent races and he will be a front-runner around the Fife circuit in his Kelvin Jones Motorsport-run car.

The 1800cc pocket rockets have delivered excellent racing all season and the twisty nature of Knockhill will prove who the star drivers are. Get ready for the best battles of the weekend as tomorrow’s stars do battle – today.

For some of the closest action this weekend, look no further. Free practice for the Ginetta Junior Championship takes place on Saturday September 3rd at 10:30 with qualifying at 14:35. Race one takes place on Saturday afternoon at 17:35 over 15 laps, with a shorter 12-lap dash on Sunday at 15:00. You can catch Sunday’s action live on ITV4.

Adrian Quaife-HobbsIn what should have been a double podium-winning weekend, Adrian Quaife-Hobbs left Spa-Francorchamps today with fourth place in his pocket and fifth in the GP3 Series points with two rounds remaining. The BRDC Rising Star from Tonbridge, Kent, had been in a podium finishing position in both races, running third in Saturday’s race, but claiming fourth at the flag, and second today before a mechanical issue sidelined him.

The 20 year-old lined up fourth for the first of two races at the Belgian circuit high in the Ardennes region, despite having just two flying laps in which to set a lap time. Going into the qualifying session on the back of fourth quickest in Friday’s practice session, Quaife-Hobbs had been the fastest during the opening minutes but when he pitted for new tyres, he was sent to the weighbridge, costing him valuable track time.

Saturday’s opening race was held on a wet track and a great start by the Marussia Manor Racing star put him third on the opening lap. A ding-dong battle ensued for the final podium spot with Nigel Melker, the pair swapping places several times during the race right up to the penultimate lap, when a lack of pace late in the race, meant Quaife-Hobbs was forced to concede the position.

Race two on Sunday saw him line up fifth and in dry conditions was able to get the jump on the row ahead, entering the first corner in third place. A superb move on Nico Muller put Quaife-Hobbs second and into a strong position to chase down the leader.

However the next lap he began to lose power and was forced to pit. A valiant attempt by his mechanics to solve the problem unfortunately proved fruitless, when a valve inside the turbo was found to have broken causing his instant retirement.

“The weekend could have produced two podium finishes at least so it’s a little disappointing to say the least,” said Adrian. “Free practice went well, we only did half an hour due to the weather and were fourth quickest. We made a few changes for qualifying and were feeling pretty confident and the session started very well.

“However when I came in for new tyres, we were called to the weighbridge, which cost us track time. On my second lap I was third fastest but I was among the first to take the flag and two others went faster, dropping me to fifth. With da Costa’s penalty, I took up fourth on the grid for race one and had a good start into third. The pace wasn’t quite there though and when Melker got past for the final time, I just wasn’t able to get him back.

“In race two I had another good start to get up to third, then passed Muller for second and was feeling quite confident of taking the position, until I began to lose power. I pitted but unfortunately it was the wastegate that had failed giving me no turbo pressure, and there was nothing the team could do to fix it in time.

“Nevertheless I think we underlined our pace once again, and although the results didn’t necessarily reflect that, we take something positive from the weekend as we head into the final two rounds in Monza.”

The final rounds at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, take place over the weekend of 10/11 September.

Nick Heidfeld who still has a valid contract as main driver with LRGP is set to continue legal proceedings before the High Court of London after LRGP has temporarily been allowed to let Bruno Senna drive in Nick’s place until a final decision at a full trial which will take place after the Monza Grand Prix.

Nick’s legal representative Dr. Stefan Seitz, Cologne, Germany: “The interlocutory decision of the court does not infringe on the fact that Nick has a valid contract to be one of the two main drivers of the team. This position is disputed by the team for apparently purely financial reasons. We do not intend to rest before Nick’s legal position has been fully restored.”

Nick’s manager Andre Theuerzeit: “I am disappointed that the team is allowed to let another driver take Nick’s seat for the next weekends. However, I certainly am confident that we will be able to enforce a fair solution for Nick in the further proceedings. We all hope that Nick will be back in the cockpit in Singapore.”

Also Nick Heidfeld stated his view: “I was surprised by the Team’s intention to replace me and regret that things have developed this way. I just wanted to be in the cockpit to get the best result for the team and me. I still have a clear contract and I want to drive.”

Jessica HawkinsBritish motorsport could be on the verge of losing one of its most talented and successful rising stars with the news Junior Rotax kart racer Jessica Hawkins may well have competed for the final time – the 16-year-old’s limited funding having completely dried-up following this past weekend’s action.

Despite a sensational performance last Sunday, 21st August, at Genk in Belgium where she won the latest round of the BNL Karting Series, the Farnham driver now faces an uncertain future and as things currently stand her hugely successful European outing is likely to have been her last ever.

Over the past three weekends, Jessica has underlined her prodigious talent superbly with a series of sensational outings but despite such success she has been struggling to attract the necessary backing and sponsorship to keep her burgeoning motorsport career on track. It’s not too dramatic to state, her rare talent could be completely wasted if the required financial support isn’t forthcoming soon.

After finishing runner-up in the hugely prestigious MSA Kartmasters British Grand Prix a fortnight ago, the Hampshire teenager travelled to Belgium for rounds seven and eight of the Formula Kart Stars Championship, on 13th/14th August, and rounded out the event sixth overall in the standings.

Her performance that weekend was all the more remarkable, in fact nothing short of unbelievable, in that she had to contend with a major head-on impact during the second of the Heats on day one before then suffering third degree burns as a result of her kart being hit in Sunday’s Final.

Displaying supreme courage and determination, Jessica bounced back from the multi-kart impact on Saturday to finish ninth in the first Final and then charged through from the back of the grid in both of Sunday’s Heats to take one win and a second place.

Securing pole position for the second Final on Sunday, Jessica was well placed for a fantastic end to the weekend but contact from a rival damaged the radiator on her kart and this resulted in scalding hot water shooting over her arm. Even so, she bravely continued but had to retire with engine woes.

“We were quick throughout the Stars weekend but at the start of the second Heat I had a spin and three karts hit me head-on”, she commented, “It was a big crash, and I did get some bruising, but we bounced back and on the Sunday everything was going well. I won one Heat and we took pole for the Final but when I got hit again the radiator broke and that’s when the water burnt my arm.”

Remaining in Genk last weekend for the BNL Series, Jessica was unable to compete on the opening day as she had to visit the local hospital to have her bandages redressed. On the Sunday though she was back in action and qualified a highly creditable ninth fastest before finishing seventh in race one.

Remarkably, and against all expectation, the Evolution Racing driver then produced a sensational performance in the all-important final to win by four seconds – a huge margin in the very closely contested world of Junior Rotax karting.

“Winning the BNL round was fantastic, really amazing after all of the problems we had in the Stars the weekend before”, added Jessica, “It’s so disappointing we’ve run out of money to race as the results are really starting to come and I’ve been beating some of the best drivers in the world.

“I really wish we could attract some sponsorship to help me continue racing but, as it is, we don’t have anything left. I really hope we can sort something out so I can at least finish the season, I’ve shown what I can do but last weekend was probably my last race.”

Any potential investors, sponsors and commercial backers who feel able to assist with keeping the career of one of the UK’s most promising and proven competitors on track are invited to contact Jessica’s father, Mike Hawkins, on +44 (0)7970 052761.

Should Jessica be able to secure the backing for the final two events of the 2011 Formula Kart Stars season, her next outing would be at Whilton Mill in Northamptonshire on 3rd/4th September with the last round of the year taking place at Ellough Park in Lowestoft on 24th/25th September.

For full results from the Belgian BNL event please click here BNL Karting Series – Genk, Belgium

Photo by Kartpix.net/Chris Walker

Daniel LloydBrands Hatch Indy Circuit welcomes the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup for its annual British round next Saturday, 3rd September, where category race winner and title contender Daniel Lloyd will be aiming for a big result on home soil.

Round seven of the 10 race series is without any doubt the most important event of the year for Huddersfield’s finest – not only is it likely to have a massive bearing on the championship, he will also have a 75-strong group of sponsors, guests and family cheering him on around the 1.2-mile track.

Furthermore, as the only British driver in the DTM-supporting championship he’s hoping for plenty of home support as he bids to close the gap to current series leader Mateusz Lisowski who at present has an advantage of 47 points.

Daniel’s first season of action in Europe has been a major success so far with one win, two other podiums and a pole position. Considering Brands Hatch will be the first circuit on the calendar which the 19-year-old has prior race experience of, his efforts to date have been all the more impressive.

“I’m really looking forward to next weekend, it’s fantastic to be back racing at home”, he said, “I want to go out there and win, that’s my focus for the rest of the season – just try and win every race as the points gap to Mateusz is quite big. I’m preparing as hard as I can, in the gym and with the guys at iZone Performance, to make sure I’m on top form for my home race.

“There will be a lot of pressure on at Brands and loads to do out of the car as well as we’ll have 75 guests there on raceday. I’m determined to try and have our best weekend yet as without the amazing support of my sponsors – especially Andy Goddard at TNT Post, Chris Brooks at TSD, Justin from The Print Academy and the guys from Balreed and Propack – I wouldn’t be racing at all.”

One of the most enjoyable facets of the VW Scirocco R-Cup for Daniel is the incredibly level playing field and the parity between cars. As one-make championships go, Volkswagen’s flagship series has set very high standards and it’s something the West Yorkshire teenager is thoroughly enjoying.

“The Scirocco is a great car, I’m having a fantastic time this season racing it and one of the best and most important things is that all of the cars are exactly the same”, he added, “There are loads of one-make championships out there but this one really is down to your own performance and ability. The guys at Volkswagen Motorsport do an amazing job, it’s great being able to work with them.

“Even though it is only my first year in the R-Cup I will be disappointed if I don’t win the championship, that’s my goal but it is going to be very tough. All things considered though I think we’ve had a really fantastic year and I’m loving every minute of it.”

Pre-event practice at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit will take place at 14.50 next Friday, 2nd September, with qualifying and round seven of the 2011 Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup set to follow on Saturday, 3rd September, at 12.50 and 17.30 respectively.

Digital satellite and cable channel Motors TV will broadcast the race action live – for more details please visit www.motorstv.com – while the official Volkswagen Motorsport website will also feature live streaming at www.volkswagen-motorsport.com/livestream

In addition, iPhone, iPad and iPod users can access live footage and other great content thanks to the new app from Volkswagen Motorsport which can be downloaded free of charge at www.volkswagen-motorsport.com/R-Cup_iPhone

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 Rd6):
1st Mateusz Lisowski, 248pts; 2nd Daniel Lloyd, 201pts

Photo by Volkswagen Motorsport.

Seb MorrisWith eight races remaining in the 2011 Ginetta Junior Championship there is still a very long way to go before the destiny of the title is decided, but current points leader Seb Morris is aiming to edge that bit closer to the crown when the action resumes at Knockhill next weekend, 3rd/4th September.

Ahead of rounds 13 and 14 of the campaign, the Marford driver has a remarkable nine wins to his credit – 10 podiums in total from the first 12 races – and is a massive 114 points clear at the top of the championship standings.

Whether leading from the front or battling tooth and nail in the cut and thrust that typifies Ginetta Junior racing, the 15-year-old Hillspeed star has proven to be a class act and he’s certainly set the standard throughout the year with a series of tremendous performances.

In addition to his race success, the Liberty Properties and Legat Owen-backed youngster has notched up half a dozen pole positions and a tally of six fastest race laps – including lap records at Donington Park, Thruxton and his home venue, Oulton Park Island Circuit.

Knockhill is a unique challenge and at just 1.3 miles in length is one of the shortest tracks on the calendar. As always Seb will be aiming to challenge for pole position and to win both races but he’s realistic enough to know, as the second half of the season gathers momentum, consistent finishes are the key requirement to sealing the championship title.

“I’ve worked really hard so far to stretch out as much of a points lead as possible to try and reduce the pressure in the championship”, said The King’s School, Chester pupil, “We’ve got a good lead so that’s boosted me to try and go for more wins without worrying too much. If we can take a couple of good finishes at Knockhill it’ll be great, but my real aim is to go there and fight for wins.

“Knockhill is the most unique track on the calendar, I like it as it brings out a lot of skill unlike some other tracks where you can maybe run wide a lot and not get into too much trouble. It’s a technical circuit and completely different to anywhere else I’ve raced. We were quite quick there last year so hopefully this time around we’ll have a successful weekend.”

Following official testing at Knockhill on Friday, 2nd September, an additional practice will take place on Saturday, 3rd September, with qualifying scheduled for 14.35 and the first race of the weekend set to begin at 17.35.

On Sunday, 4th September, the second Ginetta Junior encounter is expected to start at 12.25 and will be screened live across the UK on Freeview, cable and digital satellite channel ITV4 and also on ITV4 HD. Live online streaming will also be carried at www.itv.com/touringcars

Provisional 2011 Ginetta Junior Championship Driver Standings (after Rd12):
1st Seb Morris, 384pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Alex MacDowall - Chevrolet CruzeBritish Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Superstar Alex MacDowall is looking forward to next weekend’s visit to Knockhill as much as any event so far on the 2011 calendar, believing the Fife track offers one of his best chances yet of securing his maiden Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship victory.

The BTCC’s annual visit to Scotland, which this year takes place on 3rd/4th September, is one of the most important events of the season for the Carlisle driver – in actual fact, it’s very much a ‘home’ race meeting with the MacDowall family originally hailing from Ayrshire.

During his debut season in the UK’s premier motor racing championship last year, Alex starred at Knockhill by taking his second career pole position in touring cars and also setting a new qualifying lap record for the 1.3-mile circuit with a scintillating effort.

In the first of the weekend’s three races, he went on to secure a well deserved second place and also posted the fastest lap to underline his pace. Had he not been jumped at the start by the Honda of Gordon Shedden – who has unrivalled Knockhill knowledge and is also the track’s Business Development Manager – Alex certainly had the speed to claim his maiden BTCC win.

So far this year the 20-year-old has two podiums to his credit and he arrives in Scotland next week seventh in the championship, despite having suffered some serious misfortune. Enjoying his best weekend of 2011 last time out at Snetterton though, bagging a healthy total of 26 points, the Silverline Chevrolet driver maintains high hopes of pushing for a top five championship finish.

Three more consistently strong results at Knockhill, a circuit which suits the superb handling of his RML-run Chevrolet Cruze, will be key to achieving that goal. Alex’s quest should also be helped now the advantage held throughout the season by the turbo-charged cars has been largely leveled out.

“Last year was great so we know the car will be good around Knockhill”, he said, “We had a test at Donington last Thursday which went really well – me and Jason (Plato) were both there so we got through a lot of set-up changes. Qualifying will be more crucial than ever next weekend with so few places to overtake at Knockhill.

“I know I can go a step further than last year and achieve my first win, the track suits my driving style and the Chevrolet Cruze is the best handling chassis in the field so it’s pole or bust! I’m seventh in the championship but it’s still quite tight behind so I need another good points scoring weekend to give me a safe gap.”

Two free practice sessions will take place at Knockhill on Saturday, 3rd September, with qualifying expected to get underway at 15.05. All three races will be contested on Sunday, 4th September, with round 19 set to begin at 11.40, round 20 scheduled to follow at 14.10 and round 21 finalising the day’s action at 17.00.

Freeview, digital satellite and cable channel ITV4 will screen each race live with the broadcast also available in High Definition on ITV4 HD. Live streaming of Saturday’s qualifying session and Sunday’s racing will also be carried online at www.itv.com/touringcars

Provisional 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Standings (after Rd18):
1st Mat Jackson, 158pts; 7th Alex MacDowall, 73pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Team GT3 PortugalTeam GT3 Portugal is back on track next weekend for the 4th round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Magny Cours, France. The Portuguese trio is currently 5th on the PRO-AM Class and the aim for this weekend is to finish on the podium and keep fighting for the championship.

After on month of interval from the 24 Hours of Spa Francorchamps, the first ever 100% Portuguese team to compete in an International GT Championship have high ambitions and a very strong team spirit to this weekend: “August was a good month to rest with my family. Now I am totally focused on this weekend race and I am very motivated to fight for the top positions on the pro-am class. I know the competition is very strong but I also know that me Ricardo and Lourenço are very consistent and strong team so we have to think on finishing on the podium this weekend”, said the youngest driver of the Team GT3 Portugal.

Both Ricardo Bravo and Duarte Felix da Costa never been at Magny Cours but this shouldn’t be a handicap for the Portuguese drivers as Ricardo explained: “I only know Magny Cours from television watching F1 but both me and Duarte have been on the simulator to help our knowledge. On the other hand we can quickly adapt to new circuits as was proven in Spain, when we finished on the podium at Navarra that was unknown for us”.

Eager to return to the Lamborghini Gallardo LP600 is also Lourenco Beirão da Veiga: “Magny Cours is a very important race for us. At Spa we lost two positions on the standings but it is not over yet and I believe it is possible to recover them this weekend. We are only 8 points from 3rd so we have to aim for good points and progress on the championship”.

With a different format than the normal weekends both qualifying and race will take place on Saturday. The whole 3 hours of the race will be broadcast at Motors TV on Saturday 17:00.