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Archive for April, 2013

Daniil KvyatRed Bull Junior Daniil Kyvat will contest the Hockenheim round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship with Carlin, joining the team’s regular four car line-up. The 18 year-old Russian who is completing a full time programme in the GP3 Series this season will make sure he is race fit with his Formula 3 debut at the Hockenheimring from 3 – 5 May.

Despite never competing in a Formula 3 car before, Kyvat’s single seater career is impressive. The Red Bull Junior finished third in the competitive Formula Renault 2.0 Euro championship in 2011 and just missed out on the title in 2012 finishing vice champion with nine podiums including seven wins.

A regular front runner in this year’s GP3 pre-season tests, Kyvat joins Carlin’s successful Formula 3 team, which has already taken two pole positions and a race victory in the first two events of the season.

Kyvat will join Carlin runners Harry Tincknell, Jordan King, Nicholas Latifi and Jann Mardenborough who have all scored points in the opening two rounds at Monza and Silverstone.

Kyvat said, “This will be my first time in an F3 car so it’s going to be very exciting. With my first real experience of the car being in race conditions it will be a challenge and it will mean I’ve got to take it step by step and build up the pace gradually. This race is to improve my experience so I’m not expecting anything magic. I will just do my job and see what it brings. With Carlin I expect we will have good foundations to work from.”

The Red Bull Junior follows in the footsteps of Toro Rosso F1 racers Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne who both competed with and won titles with Carlin’s F3 team. “I was very excited when I heard that I would race with Carlin – it was good news for me. I’m honoured to race with the team and its good experience for me. There’s a lot to learn in the car and with a new team but I like the Hockenheim circuit having won there in Formula Renault 2.0 so it should be a positive experience.”

Trevor Carlin added, “We’re delighted that the Red Bull Junior programme have placed Daniil with us for Hockenheim. He’s a very exciting driver and has shown a lot of talent in his career so far. The aim of the weekend is to give Daniil some more experience and it’s very much a learning exercise, but despite that I expect to see some encouraging results from him.”

Ahmad Al Harthy - British GTSportscar driver Ahmad Al Harthy returns to action with the Oman Air Motorbase team in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship this coming weekend, at Rockingham in Northamptonshire, for the first of the 2013 campaign’s two-hour races.

Taking place over the UK May Day Holiday on Sunday, 5th May, and Monday, 6th May, the second British GT event of the year will see the Muscat 31-year-old vying for the first podium of his maiden season in endurance competition.

On his category debut at Oulton Park four weeks ago, the Omani delivered two star performances in the season-opening one hour races and he, and team-mate Michael Caine, concluded the weekend with a best result of fourth position in round one.

Going into the sole Rockingham encounter an impressive seventh in the championship standings, Ahmad also has the benefit of the additional experience gained during the first round of the pan-European Blancpain Endurance Series, in which he debuted at Monza in Italy a fortnight ago.

“I’m really looking forward to being back in the car and back with the guys at Oman Air Motorbase, we’ve got high hopes for Rockingham”, said the Oman Air, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Ministry of Tourism, Nawras, National Bank of Oman and Muscat Eye Laser Centre-backed racer.

“The two races at Oulton Park went very well for us, scoring points in both was a fantastic start to my GT career and the team did a great job with our race set-up. We’re feeling quite confident going into the first two hour race of the British GT season, we had a positive test at Rockingham before I went to Monza for Blancpain so the aim is to fight for our first podium of 2013.”

During his Blancpain Endurance Series debut two weeks ago, which was a grueling three-hour race, Ahmad completed two one-hour stints at the wheel of a Porsche 997 GT3R and that experience will prove vital in his identical Oman Air Motorbase-run Porsche a few days from now.

“As long as we don’t have any mechanical problems or anything like that, I really think we can have a very strong weekend”, he added, “You never know what can happen in motor racing, especially long endurance races, but so far things have gone as well as I could have hoped. If we can build on what we achieved during the first rounds, I’ll be very happy.”

Following two, one-hour free practice sessions on Sunday, 5th May, qualifying for the third round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship will take place at 16.20. On Monday, 6th May, the two hour Rockingham race will get underway at 13.05.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Cameron TwynhamCameron Twynham made the ideal start to his European F3 Open campaign at Paul Ricard on Saturday thanks to a hard-fought Copa Class victory in the opening round.

Driving a Team West-Tec-prepared Dallara F308, the 17-year-old from Market Harborough overcame challenging conditions in both qualifying and the race to bag 10 points on his Formula 3 debut at the former French Grand Prix venue.

Rain would characterise much of the championship’s opening weekend and it certainly played a part during qualifying for race one where the times tumbled throughout the session as the track dried. In the end Twynham would line up a decent third in class even though traffic on his fastest lap likely cost him pole position.

The fog that rolled in during the latter stages of qualifying had worsened sufficiently to start the afternoon’s 14-lap race behind the Safety Car. Once withdrawn, Twynham initially maintained position before slipping down to fourth.

His strategy prior to the race had been to hold back over the opening laps before attacking during the second half, and he executed that game plan to perfection by reeling in and passing the drivers ahead one after another. Having closed in on the class leader by the start of the final lap, he was perfectly positioned to pounce at the turn 9/10 chicane and claim a last-gasp victory on debut.

His elation would turn to frustration on Sunday however when a tyre gamble and set-up change ahead of the weekend’s second race backfired. Although wet, Twynham and Team West-Tec opted for slicks, hoping for the track to dry. But after toughing out the opening laps and starting to set fastest sector times he hit a puddle and span, dropping him to the back of the pack. Further rain just a few minutes later then necessitated a pit-stop, costing even more time and compounding a character-building afternoon.

“I’m absolutely thrilled with Saturday’s win,” said Twynham. “Our pace was very good in qualifying and when you look at the best sector times I should have been on pole and well amongst the newer Dallaras in the top-eight. Starting from third was no disaster though. The plan was always to bide my time and let the race come to me, which is exactly what happened. Taking the lead on the final lap was a great feeling and the perfect reward for everyone at Team West-Tec.

“Okay, Sunday didn’t pan out as well as it might have but that was because we went the wrong way with tyres and not an issue with raw pace. In those conditions sometimes it pays off spectacularly and others it doesn’t. But as a whole I’m delighted with the weekend and can take a lot of confidence into the next round.”

Despite his non-score in race two Cameron still sits second in the Copa Class standings ahead of the championship’s second round at Portimao in Portugal on May 11/12.

Jack BarlowPrior to stepping into his SWR-prepared car at Silverstone last Sunday (28 April) Jack Barlow could count the number of races he’d previously contested on one finger – but the 17-year old was about to stun the motorsport world with a sensational drive to victory.

Despite arriving at Silverstone with just three days’ practice time under his belt, following a last-minute deal with Sean Walkinshaw Racing, the highly-rated, former karting star demonstrated his potential by setting the 5 th-fastest lap in Saturday’s timed qualifying session. From this promising start he went on to finish a creditable 6 th place on his car racing debut.

Starting Race 2 from third place, by virtue of a reverse grid based on the top eight drivers’ previous day’s finishing positions, Barlow snatched the lead as the field streamed into Copse.

He was reeled in and passed after two laps, but refused to let new race leader, Seb Morris, escape. A game of cat-and-mouse developed between the pair until, with two laps remaining, Barlow made his move: “I thought ‘I have to go for it’ and stuck my car down Seb’s inside at Becketts, but he held me off. However, I carried better speed through Chapel Curve and onto Hangar Straight. I jinked one way and then the other and drove past as we approached Stowe Corner,” explained Jack. “From there I defended into the chicane at Vale, allowing the 3rd-placed driver to attack for 2nd. This gave me the chance to create a gap and I knew I just had to maintain it through the last lap.”

“Even as I approached the chequered flag, my victory hadn’t sunk in,” he added. “I never, never went there expecting to win. It is a fantastic result for me and SWR. They were all extremely pleased for me and I really couldn’t have done it without them.”

Driving down the pitlane, towards the F1-style board with a large number ‘1’ on it, added to the occasion: “It’s what you see at the end of each Grand Prix and there I was, at Silverstone, doing the same thing. I was presented with my trophy on the F1 podium and of course, got to spray champagne on it. Even now, it hasn’t sunk in!”

In the thrilling battle for 5th place in Race 3, Jack again showed that he has a great future ahead of him by putting on a great show as he diced with Matt Bell, before settling for valuable championship points and 6 th place, to go 4th overall in the championship.

“I am able to race thanks to the support of local firms key Motor Finance and My Costcutter at Skinners of Rye. I would also like to thank everyone at SWR, the MSA Academy, Arai, adidas and Toby Warrington for his continued help.”

Keep up to speed with Jack and his racing career by visiting www.jackbarlowracing.co.uk.

Photo by James Bearne.

Alice PowellBRDC Rising Star, Alice Powell, stretched her lead at the top of the drivers’ standings in the F3 Cup at the weekend, securing a second place and a win in the two races.

Alice was pipped to pole position in qualifying by Henry Chart, by only 0.047 seconds.

Race One saw Alice get a great start off the line to put pressure under Chart. However, she could not find a way past and had to settle for second place.

Alice lined up second for Race Two, with Alex Craven on pole position. Both drivers got a decent start off the line, but Alice put Craven under pressure heading into the fast Maggot, Becketts complex, where she took the opportunity to dive up the inside to take the lead. She didn’t look back after that as she stormed to victory, winning by 5.5 seconds and taking the fastest lap.

“It has been a pretty good weekend to be honest!” exclaimed the BRDC Rising Star. “The Toyota engine is around 30kg heavier and slightly slower down the straight compared to the Honda engine, so we knew it would be an interesting weekend. However, to come out with a 2nd and a 1st and to extend the championship lead is fantastic. The MBR crew did a great job once again!”

Alice also had success in the BRDC Formula 4 Championship, as she is driver coach for local team Sean Walkinshaw Racing (SWR), who had a win and a third in their first ever race weekend.

The next round of the F3 Cup takes place at Brands Hatch on 1-2 June.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Charlie Robertson - Silverstone F4Single-seater newcomer Charlie Robertson delivered a consistently strong showing throughout the first event of the brand new BRDC Formula 4 Championship at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit over the weekend, 27th/28th April, to conclude the race meeting fifth in the driver standings.

With a best result of fourth position during round three on Sunday afternoon, the 16-year-old reigning Ginetta Junior Champion was fifth in the season-opening race on Saturday and also added a hard-fought seventh place in round two to bag a very important haul of points.

“The main thing this weekend was to score well in each race, which we’ve done, and have a strong start to the season so I’m happy enough with that”, said Charlie, “It would have been nice to be on the podium but for my first three races in single-seaters, I’m pretty pleased with the outcome.”

Charlie’s weekend got off to a trying start during the qualifying session for round one when he had to back off on his quickest lap due to yellow flags being shown. While correctly reducing his pace and heeding the warnings, several rivals did not and so the Whyteleafe driver ended up ninth. This later became eighth though when Brazil’s Pietro Fittipaldi was excluded from the results of the session.

Although bundled back to 11th on the opening lap of race one, the HHC Motorsport youngster mounted a superb drive and pulled off some outstanding overtaking moves to climb into the top five. By the start of lap three, Charlie had already fought his way back into ninth and as the race reached mid-distance he had battled through into sixth.

Eating into the two second advantage held by Struan Moore during the closing laps, Charlie had closed right onto the rear wing of his rival into the final tour and produced an outstanding pass at the final complex to grab fifth and cap a tremendous performance on his single-seater debut. His best lap of the race was just 0.5 seconds shy of the quickest of all.

Giving the Investigo-backed racer a second row start for round two, with grid order decided by the finishing positions of the opening race albeit with the top eight reversed, hopes of a podium battle were largely dashed on the first lap when a robust opening to the race left Charlie down in eighth.

Working his way back into sixth on lap three, the Caterham School pupil had to keep his eyes firmly trained on his mirrors during the closing laps with a lot of pressure being applied from behind and on the penultimate lap he was nudged back to seventh.

Having set the fifth fastest lap of the weekend prior to round three, this gave Charlie fifth on the grid for the final outing. Although slipping to sixth, the Surrey racer ran close in the wheeltracks of round one winner Matt Bell and usurped his older and more experienced rival on the third tour before then taking fourth in his pursuit of a maiden Formula 4 podium – just missing out by 1.5 seconds.

“Race three was definitely our best chance of a podium and if I hadn’t got pushed back at the start then I think we had the pace to do it”, said Charlie, “Overall it’s been a decent start for us, a good foundation to build on during the next rounds at Brands Hatch.”

Charlie will be back in action three weeks from now, over the weekend 18th/19th May, for rounds four, five and six of the BRDC Formula 4 Championship at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit. Marking the biggest race meeting of the season for the F4 competitors, the category will run as part of the support card for the visiting DTM ‘German touring cars’ and FIA Formula 3 European Championship.

Provisional 2013 BRDC Formula 4 Championship Standings (after Rd3):
5th Charlie Robertson, 48pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Melville McKee - Motorland AragonOliver Rowland got Manor MP Motorsport’s Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 season off to a successful start at Motorland Aragon in Spain on Sunday, 28th April, by racing to a tremendous podium finish in the second encounter of the weekend – the British driver ending the event sixth in the points table.

With torrential rain having a major bearing on the track action throughout the season-opening race meeting, the first two rounds of 2013 were challenging to say the least for all involved but in round two the former McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner produced a spectacular drive.

The action started behind the Safety Car due to the treacherous conditions but when the racing proper got underway, Rowland made an outstanding start from fifth place to immediately slice past Jake Dennis and Luca Ghiotto to move into third.

Attacking second placed Egor Orudzhev, Rowland tried everything he could to carve open an opportunity but with the severe spray making any chance of overtaking near to impossible the Briton eventually – and very sensibly – settled for third position.

“It wasn’t like Spanish weather this weekend”, reflected Manor MP Motorsport’s Tony Shaw, “Rain, rain and more rain, it was non-stop. We’re pretty happy how it all turned out though and it’s great to be on the podium on the first weekend.

“Qualifying for race two went well for Oliver, it was very close between the top three guys and any one of them could have been on pole. Anyway, we started P5 with him and he had a mega start, he was definitely quicker than the guy in second place but the visibility was really bad so he chose to take the points for third which was the right thing.”

In round one on Saturday, 27th April, Rowland also finished in the points in 10th position after a fairly sedate race. Starting in ninth, he slipped to 10th early on before regaining ninth but was pushed back once again to 10th place three laps from the end.

Fellow Briton Melville McKee did a superb job on his first outing at the wheel of the brand new 2013 FR 2.0 car and produced two excellent races. Making a sensational start from 16th on the grid in round one, McKee scythed his way through into the top 12 on the first lap alone and remained there until late in the race when he gained one more position at the expense of the retiring Ed Jones.

In the Safety Car-started second round, McKee moved up from 12th place to 11th when racing began and climbed into the points-paying top 10 on lap six. Holding station for the next four laps, only the slightest error on the final tour prevented him from taking away some points as he slipped to 11th.

“Melville did a really good job all weekend”, said Shaw, “In the first race he was very strong and in race two only a small mistake at the end cost him some places. It really was a shame, he deserved to be in the points but, nonetheless, he did a really good job and especially as he’d never driven this new spec of Formula Renault before the weekend.”

Argentinian racer Javier Merlo had a very eventful debut outing in race one with a continually chopping and changing order just outside the top 20. Moving into 24th on lap one, he slipped back, regained a position and then dropped back again before having to finally settle for 26th position at the chequered flag.

In the incredibly difficult rain-lashed second race on Sunday, which offered a particularly steep learning curve for the South American, he progressed from 32nd on the 37-car grid into 29th position but eventually had to settle for 30th place at the finish.

Shaw said: “Javier just needs more track time, it wasn’t such an easy weekend for him with the rain – it made it difficult to get into a rhythm and learn. All he needs is time in the car and to adjust to being at this level, Eurocup is really competitive but he will get stronger as the season goes on.”

Rounds three and four of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 season will take place on 1st/2nd June at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

Provisional 2013 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Standings (after Rd2):
6th Oliver Rowland, 16pts; No Score – Melville McKee & Javier Merlo

Provisional 2013 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Team Standings (after Rd2):
5th Manor MP Motorsport, 16pts

Photo by Dutch Photo Agency.

Darryl O'YoungAfter escaping last Saturday’s crash at the Qualifying of the Race of Slovakia unharmed, ROAL Motorsport driver Darryl O’Young proved why he is Hong Kong’s number one race car driver as he scored eight points from two races despite starting both from the second last spot on the grid.

Having oversteer his car to crash out at the Qualifying and failed to record a time, O’Young was forced to start at the 22nd place out of 23 cars. However, not even this can stop the 33-year-old from turning in some heroic performance, as Darryl recovered well in both races, and stormed to an independent podium and an overall top ten finish in the second race in Slovakia.

It goes without saying the hard work of ROAL Motorsport’s mechanics are to be credited as they helped repaired the crashed BMW TC 320 overnight, but it was Darryl’s incredible driving that saw him rocketed to an independent P7 and an overall P14 finish in the opening race despite starting from the back of the pack. O’Young then further improved in the second race, outpacing a few more opponents to finish third in the Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy, while also breaking into the overall top ten.

“My car was handling very well and I had a very good race pace. After passing several cars on the standing start, I was able to pass several other cars throughout the race, advancing from P22 on the grid up to P10 by the end of the race. I was pleased to claim my first independent podium of the season and score some further World Championship points,” a satisfied O’Young spoke of his second race after the chequered flag.

Results in Slovakia see O’Young pocketed eight points during this race weekend to stay fourth on the independent standings. Drivers and teams will next travel to Hungary for Round 4 of the calendar, which is set to take place on Hungaroring later this week.

Qualifying 1 at Slovakia Ring – DNF
“On the first lap of the qualifying session, I was going through Turn 9 and got a oversteer on the exit of the turn sending me off through the grass and gravel. This put me into the tire wall at 160 kilometers per hour, my biggest crash ever in WTCC.”

Race 1 at Slovakia Ring (2013 round 5) – Independent P7 & Overall P14
“I started well and overtake several cars through turn 1, I had good pace but began struggling with my tires from the middle of the race and I could no longer attack anymore. I was happy to come from the back of the grid up to P14 and score P7 in the independent class.”

Race 2 at Slovakia (2013 round 6) – Independent P3 & Overall P10
“We made some changes to the car and they worked very well. I caught up to the top 10 group after some fast laps and began to attack Mehdi Bennani for the last five laps of the race. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a way pass him.”

Sponsors LKM and FUSPEED are the major forces behind Darryl’s pursuit of success in the 2013 FIA World Touring Car Championship. Please visit www.fiawtcc.com for more WTCC information and www.darryloyoung.com for the latest updates about Darryl.

Alex MacDowall - Slovakia RingAlex MacDowall closed to within just nine points of the Yokohama Independents Trophy lead during the third event of the FIA World Touring Car Championship season in Slovakia on Sunday, 28th April, by racing to his second class victory of the 2013 season.

Completely erasing memories of a somewhat trying visit to the Slovakia Ring 12 months ago during his maiden season in the WTCC, the Carlisle driver produced two excellent race performances this weekend at the Bratislava track to consolidate third place in the Independents Trophy standings.

Race two, round six, was the pick of the action for the 22-year-old and despite a troublesome start, which dropped him from fifth overall on the grid to 11th place, Alex remained calm and composed and began to move back through the order – taking 10th on lap four.

Into ninth on lap five, the Chevrolet Cruze driver ran in the thick of a very closely contested pack of seven cars where the slightest of errors would prove costly. Holding the Independents lead, Alex swarmed all over the back of the RML-run Chevrolet of Tom Chilton while having to keep one eye on his mirrors at all times with Mehdi Bennani’s BMW right behind.

Taking eighth overall on lap nine at the expense of the Honda of Norbert Michelisz, Alex continued to pressurise Chilton and at the chequered flag on lap 10 only 0.2 seconds separated them with only 0.5 seconds the difference to sixth placed Pepe Oriola.

“It was all action-packed at the start”, said the Cumbrian, “We didn’t make a particularly good start which put us out on the outfield into turn one – that wasn’t great. From then on, everyone was struggling with cold tyres and we picked a few off on that lap. Then it was quite a dog fight to the end but I caught the leaders quite quickly. It’s great to win again, just what we needed.”

In round five, Alex lined-up sixth overall on the grid and with the Independents Trophy pole position thanks to a best lap of 2m11.422 seconds (162.21 km/h) in qualifying – a marked improvement on 2012 underlining the progress made by driver and team.

Unfortunately pushed back to ninth at the start, that made all the difference between a potential class victory and a third place Independents finish. With the racing unbelievably close, hardly any places were changed among the front-runners and after recovering into eighth overall, third in class, Alex wasn’t able to make any further inroads.

Able to pull clear of the pack behind, he pressured the Chevrolet of Michel Nykjaer and at the flag on lap 10 just 0.3 seconds separated the duo. Confirming his pace, Alex’s best lap of 2m13.845 seconds was little more than 0.1 seconds shy of the Independents Trophy fastest from Danish driver Nykjaer.

Rounds seven and eight of the 2013 FIA World Touring Car Championship will take place just a week from now, on 4th/5th May, at the Hungaroring in Hungary.

2013 FIA World Touring Car Championship Driver Standings (after Rd6):
9th Alex MacDowall, 34pts

2013 FIA WTCC Yokohama Independents Trophy Driver Standings (after Rd6):
3rd Alex MacDowall, 37pts

Photo by Romano Poli/www.photo-4.com.

Kristian LindbomEvans Motorsport Group drivers Kristian Lindbom and Geoff Emery have completed an encouraging test day in preparation for Round Two of the Dunlop V8 Supercar Series to be held at Perth’s Barbagallo Raceway this weekend.

Lindbom’s Ozstaff Falcon has undergone an upgrade since finishing fourth in he opening round of the Championship at the Clipsal 500. A new rear end has brought the ex-David Reynolds Falcon up to the same spec as the two cars leading the Championship and Lindbom was encouraged by the improvements at Winton during the test.

“The traction out of the corners is now much better and I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with the car,” said Lindbom.

“We also tried some front suspension changes that yielded us a bit of a gain so everything is looking pretty promising heading to Barbagallo.

“It’s a track that I’ve had some pretty good results at in the past so I’m definitely looking forward to getting over there and building on what we achieved at the opening round.”

Emery tested a number of set-up changes in his ex-Triple Eight Commodore that produced good returns. His pace at Barbagallo in the past has been strong and with first class equipment at his disposal he should be among the frontrunners come next weekend.

Former Formula Ford and Production car racer Ryan Simpson also took a turn behind the wheel of the Ozstaff Falcon during the afternoon and is considering a step up to the Dunlop series in the future.

“Ryan approached us after seeing our results at Clipsal and we gave him some laps during the afternoon session to see how he’d go, not only in a V8 but also working with our engineering staff,” said team owner Josh Evans.

“He completed around 50 laps and did a good job, we’d love to be able to give him another opportunity in one of our cars sometime down the track.”