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Category: Formula Renault

Seb MorrisSeb Morris called on all of his resolve and racing nous to deliver two battling points finishes during a frustrating first event of the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup season at Monza over the weekend, 12th/13th April, having gone into the races on the back foot after a troublesome qualifying.

Ending the opening event of his maiden season in European-level racing ninth in the championship standings, the 18-year-old Welsh driver produced a superb performance in round two on Sunday morning to climb into the top eight from an uncharacteristic 17th on the grid. Post-race, that became seventh position when Raoul Owens was handed a five second time penalty.

In Saturday’s first round, the Caterham Racing Academy youngster had a thankless task after contact at the final corner on the opening lap dropped him to the tail of the 32 car field. Even though having to contend with serious front wing damage, he tenaciously fought his way back into 15th position.

“It’s been a bit of a tough one this weekend”, said the Marford driver, “We were quickest in practice and it all looked good going into qualifying, but there was a mistake with the tyre pressures which put the team further down the grid than we should have been. We were on the back foot really for the rest of the weekend, so we have to be satisfied with the race performances.”

Beginning the Monza weekend with a superb run in pre-event practice, topping the times as the only driver to dip below the 1m50 second barrier, the Fortec Motorsport racer was all set to challenge for pole position in qualifying but the incorrect tyre pressure choice led to a difficult run.

Starting round one from the eighth row of the grid, Seb was unceremoniously tagged from behind at the Parabolica on lap one and resulting contact to his front wing from another car led to a very long afternoon’s work. Fighting serious understeer for the rest of the race, the Jack Wills ‘Young Briton’ and TAG Heuer ambassador worked wonders to recover from the back of the field into the top 15

For Sunday morning’s second round, Seb lined-up on row nine of the grid in 17th position and was able to show more of his genuine pace as he carved his way through the order into an impressively strong eighth place. Working his way into contention for the top 10 on lap one alone, he emerged from a great four car battle with eighth place – later becoming seventh post-race – to bring a positive conclusion to the weekend.

“In race one I got spun round into the last corner, then I was hit round by another car back into the right direction but it ripped off the right side of my front wing”, explained the Elite Cymru driver, “I battled back through though and from being at the back we got 15th place which was good going, especially with the damage.

“Sunday’s race was much cleaner, we picked off cars one by one and made the best of a bad job really – it was a good drive. We definitely had the pace to challenge for the podium this weekend, and probably wins to be honest. We’ll learn from it, though, and hopefully do better at Silverstone.”

Next on the calendar for Seb will be a return to British soil for the second event of the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC season, rounds three and four, which will take place at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit on 24th/25th May in support of the Blancpain Endurance Series.

Photo by Insight F1 Motorsport Report/Jeroen Vermeeren.

Seb MorrisMonza in Italy, one of motor racing’s most lauded race tracks, will host the opening two rounds of the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup this weekend, 12th/13th April, where Caterham Racing Academy driver Seb Morris will have his sights set on achieving his first silverware of 2014.

The 18-year-old from Marford, who embarks on his maiden season of pan-European competition this year with leading British team Fortec Motorsport, makes his first visit to the home of the Italian Grand Prix – a race meeting he is relishing.

With enviable support and backing for the coming season, as well as his place on the Caterham Racing Academy the Welshman works with UK clothing brand Jack Wills as one of the company’s ‘Young Britons’. Seb is also an ambassador for TAG Heuer and last month he was invited onto the prestigious Elite Cymru scheme which is backed by the Welsh Assembly.

“I’m really looking forward to the first round of the season at the weekend, it’s fantastic to be back racing again – starting the championship at Monza is going to be pretty special”, said Seb, “It’s such a great track, with so much history, and the racing should be unbelievably close.

“Pre-season testing has gone well and we obviously intend to start the season with the best results we possibly can, but we know it’s going to be a challenging year with so many top drivers and teams in the championship so nothing can be taken for granted.”

In addition to his testing programme in recent weeks, the MSA Academy racer took the opportunity to contest last weekend’s opening rounds of the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps Championship at Imola in Italy, the former home of the San Marino Grand Prix.

Qualifying third fastest in his group, which equated to sixth overall on the combined grid, Seb smartly climbed into the podium placings but ultimately had to settle for 12th position after being knocked out of third place by a rival. In round two he placed sixth after a strong drive, impressing among a field comprising a large number of second and third year drivers.

Turning attention to this weekend, following practice and qualifying at Monza on Friday, 11th April, the first race of the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC season will take place at 14.05 (local time) on Saturday, 12th April, with round two scheduled for 09.55 (local time) on Sunday, 13th April. Live race coverage is set to be featured online at the NEC You Tube channel www.youtube.com/user/formularenaultnec

Dennis OlsenTwo strong top ten placements in this weekend’s race at Imola in Italy bodes well for the upcoming season in Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup.

With three weeks left before the series begins, it was good for 17-year-old from Valer Østfold to be back on the track again to compete.

Through the sister series to the one he’ll run this year, he got a wild card and could line up for his new team, Prema Power Team.

Having qualified for the eighth position of 41 cars on both Friday and Saturday, it was a good starting point to go from.

In Saturday’s race Olsen quickly went up three places, and could smile at a good fifth place at the finish.

On Sunday he made a poor start and fell down to tenth, but managed to bring back the two places he lost before the finish.

A fifth and eighth place is the results after the first taste of competition this year.

Dennis Olsen is happy to finally be back in action again.

- It was a good start to the season before the Euro Cup and it was nice to know that I am well underway. I’m not entirely happy with the qualifying, but we got to the races pretty good. It’s okay to make small mistakes here, so I can do the best when it really matters, he says.

Olsen has ambitions to win the Euro Cup this year, and although a fifth and eighth place is strong, he is aiming higher.

- I wish I could have made the podium, but all in all it was a positive weekend. We’ve become stronger, both me and the team, and I feel secure in the racing situation. That is important to take with me into the first race in the Euro Cup, says Dennis Olsen

Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup starts April 25 to 27 at Motorland Aragon in Spain.

Photo by Prema Powerteam.

Welsh racing driver Seb Morris has received yet another big boost ahead of his maiden season of competition in Europe this year, having been invited by Sport Wales to be part of its prestigious ‘Elite Cymru’ scheme.

Marford-based Seb, who was recently confirmed as the newest member of the Caterham F1 Team’s Racing Academy, is incredibly proud to be representing Sport Wales throughout his first year in the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC) and is delighted to receive such key support.

Fittingly notified of his selection for the Elite Cymru program on St David’s Day, Saturday, 1st March, the 18-year-old is determined to proudly fly the flag for his home nation as he strives to challenge for the NEC crown with top team Fortec Motorsport.

“It really is a fantastic honour to have been invited onto the Elite Cymru scheme and I will do my utmost to justify the support of everyone at Sport Wales”, commented Seb, “This season is going to be the most important of my career by far and with the backing of Sport Wales and the Caterham Racing Academy, I’m in a very privileged position.”

Inaugurated in 1997, the Elite Cymru scheme has solely covered non-Olympic sports such as motor racing and snooker, Commonwealth Games sports such as squash and bowls or sports which medal on a world level, such as golf, since 2006.

Receiving National Lottery funding, and supported by the Welsh Assembly Government, Sport Wales works tirelessly to champion all sports while nurturing and helping to develop the best young talent the country has to offer.

Seb’s first races in the 2014 Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup will come at Monza in Italy over the weekend 12th/13th April. Before then, officially timed pre-season testing will take place at Hockenheim in Germany and Assen in The Netherlands at the end of March.

Seb MorrisFormula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup racer Seb Morris has today, Monday, 3rd February, been confirmed as the latest addition to the Caterham Racing Academy – meaning the 18-year-old will compete in 2014 with the full support of the Caterham F1 Team’s driver program.

Seb, from Marford near Wrexham, makes the step-up to Formula Renault 2.0 NEC this year with Fortec Motorsport after becoming Vice-Champion of the BRDC Formula 4 Championship in 2013 with Hillspeed.

Ending last season with one win and nine other podiums, he was also selected as a finalist for the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award. Outside the cockpit, Seb works with Jack Wills as one of its ‘Young Britons’ and as an ambassador for TAG Heuer.

Mia Sharizman, Head of Caterham Racing Academy, commented: “Seb is another outstanding addition to our list of Academy drivers. His talent speaks for itself and we are very pleased to be able to provide him with the full range of support available to all our Academy drivers as he makes the step up to Formula Renault NEC. He will be a strong contender for championship honours this season and, if, as we firmly believe he will, he fulfills his promise, the UK will have another serious motorsport talent to back.”

Seb added: “Joining the Caterham Academy is pretty huge for me. Matt Parry [2013 Formula Renault 2.0 NEC Champion] is someone I look up to, and who I had a real battle with in the McLaren Autosport Awards.  I am following his footsteps this year, both as a Caterham driver and in NEC and I am looking to win it as Matt did.  To be part of an F1 team, with all the support and knowledge that brings, is a massive step forwards for my career.”

Seb’s motorsport career began in 2007 when he started racing karts aged 11. By 2010, he had progressed to the Ginetta Junior Championship where he showed his ability and became the youngest ever podium finisher and Winter Series Champion at 14-years-old. In 2011, Seb won the main Ginetta Junior title and was also awarded the Welsh Young Driver of the Year accolade.

In 2012, Seb was selected as a member of the Motor Sports Association (MSA) Academy and was also named a British Racing Drivers’ Club Rising Star. He moved into single-seater racing in the UK based Protyre Formula Renault Championship and finished the season as the highest placed rookie and third overall. He followed this by becoming the Winter Series Champion.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey PHotography.

Seb MorrisSeb Morris, one of the 2013 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award finalists and a British Racing Drivers’ Club ‘Rising Star’, will compete in the ultra-competitive Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC) this year it can be officially confirmed today, Monday, 20th January, after finalising a deal with reigning champion team Fortec Motorsport.

Welsh 18-year-old Seb, from Marford near Wrexham, will embark on his first season of European level competition in single-seaters off the back of a strong year in the BRDC Formula 4 Championship where he concluded the campaign as Vice-Champion.

With three car racing titles already on his CV, in Ginetta Junior and Protyre Formula Renault, Seb is now aiming for a championship challenge in Europe.

“I am very pleased to be racing with Fortec and especially in Formula Renault NEC”, he commented, “It promises to be a fantastic season of racing on some of the world’s most famous tracks, such as Monza, Spa, Nurburgring and Silverstone.”

Seb, one of Jack Wills’ Young Brits and an ambassador for TAG Heuer and Ginetta Cars, will start his 2014 campaign on 12th/13th April at Monza in Italy with his home event following on 24th/25th May at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit. The seven weekend season will end on 20th/21st September at Germany’s Nurburgring.

Photo by Haymarket/LAT.

Paul SieljesStuart Racing Team has signed a second driver for its assault at the 2014 Formula Renault 1.6 NEC championship. Paul Sieljes will drive for the team, which won both the team’s and driver’s championship in 2013. The aim for 2014 is to equal theses results. SRT thinks that with Paul and their earlier signing, the quick German Lukas Wenig, they have a winning combination.

Liroy Stuart about his new acquisition: “Paul drove two races for the team last year. This year he has a season’s preparation with us and he is ready to score points. Paul is a fast driver with Formula Ford experience, he knows how to race for position and he’s very good for our team.”

Paul Sieljes about his new contract: “I’m very happy with the deal for this season and the choice of SRT was simple: this is the team to drive for when you want to win. The two races last year was a small try out next to my Formula Ford program, an experience that I take with me for this season. I can not wait for the first race to start!”

Photo by Chris Schotanus.

Dennis OlsenDennis Olsen, who drives his first season in Formula Renault 2.0 finished strongly in the last race and secured an third place finish in the NEC Championship. The goal-oriented 17 year old is the only one of the 50 drivers who have completed all races with points. This weekend’s race in Zandvoort proved to be a thriller where points distribution, weather and tactics could make a big difference. Nothing was decided until the last meter and amazingly enough Dennis once again showed his capacity as a driver.

Five riders fought hard for the prestigious medals and Dennis was the only newcomer among experienced drivers who competed for medals. It was to run three races before it was settled. During Friday’s training Dennis was among the three fastest in the pouring rain. On Saturday morning the rain gave up and qualifying which was divided into two groups ran on a drying track.

- I was in the first group and had to drive on a track that was faster with every lap we ran. I pushed hard from the start as I knew a red flag on the slippery circuit was likely. Eight minutes and halfway through the qualifiers, I was in the top when a car ran off the track and the red flag came out. When we came out on the track there were four minutes left that gave us two laps to do it. In the very last lap I was set for a new best time but had to brake and steer away from a car spun in front of me and tumbled down to fourth place – says Dennis

Dennis had a very strong second best time and ended up second. Group two qualifiers got a drier track and the two groups were therefore merged to give Dennis starting position 8 in the first race and 4 in the second race. Since the result of Race 1 was to determine the starting position in Race 3 the team had to make some strategic choices.

- The result in the first race on Saturday was to determine the starting position in Race 3 on Sunday. The first six on the list gets reversed down to sixth place in race 1 would give the pole position in race 3. I started eight and ran controlled into sixth place, securing pole position in race 3. This gave me the unique chance in the championship – says Dennis.

Was sure of an overall second place in the championship…

With good points in the first race and pole position in the third race he started from the fourth starting position in race 2. Jack Aitken was behind Dennis then there were two turns again . Jack lying on an overall second place in the championship and was threatened by Dennis took a chance and drove past the yellow flag . This would give Jack Aitken a penalty of 30 seconds and placed Dennis in second place in the championship.

- I realized immediately that overtaking on yellow flag would mean that I caught up to a combined second place in Championship. I rejoiced to be able to finish the last race from pole position. The team was quickly on the radio and said that second place was virtually assured. They did Stewards advised offense but unfortunately for us it was never awarded a penalty. What a shame for us but we still had a chance in the very last race Sunday night.

That didn’t happen though as bad weather continued in full force and the Stewards decided to cancel the very last race. Dennis finished the year with a sensational third place, rookie of the year and the only one of the 50 drivers in the championship who have completed all races with points. As part of the prize the Valer boy will get one test day in Formula Renault 3.5, a class below F1.

- Anyway I’m very happy to be able to finish the season in third place among drivers with many years experience. It would of course be fun to settle the championship in the last race but as it turned out, we could not have done it better than this. EVEN Management along with Junior Team Norway has given me every opportunity for a strong performance and I am very grateful that they give me this chance – says a satisfied Dennis .

EVEN Management is responsible for a broad focus on young talents and has several good drivers in his stall. Andreas Mikkelsen, Esapekka Lappi, Ole Christian Veiby and Pontus Tidemand run rally while Dennis driving a Formula car . Roy Snellingen’s sports director in EVEN Management and was very impressed with his debut season in Formula cars.

- There were few who believed in our goal of a third in the championship for newcomer, among the far more experienced drivers. We set sky-high goals and he has really proven that anything is possible . He is a hardworking and determined young boy and has shown very good progress in its first year as a formula car driver. This bodes well for the future.

Ivan TaranovScorpio Motosport made a long-awaited return to the top step of the Protyre Formula Renault Championship podium with a stunning double victory at Silverstone in the hands of Ivan Taranov.

The final rounds of the 2013 season saw the championship join the support package of the British Touring Car Championship, with Taranov making his return to the series having missed the past two meetings after having his license controversially suspended following an incident at Thruxton in June.

The Russian racer showed no signs of rustiness as he led the way during pre-event testing on Friday, pace that he replicated in qualifying to take his maiden championship pole position for the opening race with a lap of 56.697s.

Despite a good start off the line in race one, Taranov found himself shuffled back to second on the opening lap. Hot on the heels of race-leader Sam MacLeod though, Taranov was quickly back in front with a slick move on lap five. From there, he controlled the remainder of the race to secure his maiden series victory.

Filled with confidence from his race one success, Taranov had high hopes of replicating the feat in the second encounter, which was televised live on ITV4. Starting fourth, Taranov maintained his place off the line and then benefitted from the series champion and vice-champion making contact ahead at Becketts to storm through into the lead.

After a short safety car period following an incident-filled opening few laps, Taranov perfectly controlled the restart to instantly forge a gap to the pack behind. The 18 year old wouldn’t be caught from then, with a composed drive to the flag giving him his second victory.

Alongside the returning Taranov, the Scorpio team welcomed Piers Hickin into their camp for the final weekend, the 16 year old joining the team with limited experience in the series, having completed just three weekends earlier in the season with a different outfit.

Despite his relative inexperience, Hickin instantly impressed in the Scorpio blue, showing hugely encouraging top six pace in testing. In two incredibly-close qualifying sessions, Hickin secured eighth and eleventh place qualifying spots, lapping within just four tenths of pole position on both occasions.

Hickin slipped to eleventh on a frantic opening lap in race one, however the Surrey-based racer drove superbly in the tight midfield to fight his way back up to seventh place at the finish, his best result of the season.

The second race started in sensational fashion, as he scythed his way through from eleventh on the grid into the top four at the end of the opening lap. It came at a cost however, slight contact at his rear having led to a broken suspension.

Left defenceless from the pack behind after the safety car, Hickin eventually dropped back to an eleventh place finish at the flag. While a frustrating end to the weekend, he certainly showcased his potential over the course of the meeting.

For the team’s regular driver Henrique Baptista, the final meeting couldn’t have gone any differently to his team-mates’, with it proving to be a nightmare weekend to forget.

The Brazilian hinted at a positive weekend with an impressive run in testing on Wednesday, however a tough qualifying session left him in the midfield pack, with ninth and tenth place starts for the races.

Starting in the middle of the grid is always dangerous in the close, hard-fought Formula Renault series and so it proved at Silverstone, with unfortunate contact early on in both races leading to a frustrating double retirement.

“It’s been while, far too long in fact, since we last won,” said team principal Jon Pettitt. “It’s been a little Fortec and MGR heavy this season, so it’s great that we’ve got back up there and shown what we’re capable of with these cars.

“Ivan’s proved today that the pace is there and had things gone a little differently this season, he would have been a formidable force in the championship. The break has helped him, he’s grown up a little bit and come back and delivered, proving to everyone what he, and the team, can do.

“Piers has had a great weekend. It doesn’t show it in the results with the incident in race two, but his testing pace was fantastic considering he jumped straight into the car on Friday, so we know he’s got a lot of potential and we hope we can forge a partnership going into next season.

Photo by ASautosport Photography.

PS RacingZhuhai International Circuit, Zhuhai ChinaWith the 2013 Asia Formula Renault series winding down the season, the competition amongst teams and drivers remains tight. Last weekend’s AFR Rounds 7&8, part of Zhuhai International Circuit’s huge Pan Delta Race Festival, had an attendance of over 20,000 fans as well as live TV for all events.

Formula Renault teams at the ZIC had Official Practice on Friday, with PS Racing driver Sunny Wong of Hong Kong setting the 3rd fastest time in OP1 and 4th fastest in OP2. In qualifying, Wong took 5th but American Pete Olson a disappointing 9th after starting to get up to speed late in the session just before a red flag came out for a car stopped on track. PSR’s AFR rookie Neric Wei was 12th of 18, doubling up on his race weekend by competing in both the Circuit Hero events in a Honda DC5, as well as AFR.

Wong got off to a strong start in Saturday afternoon’s Round 7, spending most of the race having a thrilling televised battle with Alex Asmasoebrata which resulted in a half dozen position swaps, with Wong finishing 6th. Olson got a wheel-spinning start and initially dropped to 11th but then fought up four positions in ten laps to finish 7th overall, with Neric Wei 11th overall but taking 3rd on the podium in the Asian Class.

In Sunday’s Round 8, Olson got off to a fantastic start while Wong stalled, with Olson moving up to finish 4th just off the podium and Wong making an incredible charge up the field to battle back from 17th to 7th in just ten laps.

After the races, Olson and Wong were interviewed by Deutsche Presse-Agentur for a radio interview about PS Racing’s promotion of ‘Racing for Children’ with ChildFund International, where the drivers and team use the popularity of auto racing to spread publicity about the worldwide charity [http://www.ChildFund.org]

urrently, with the 2-race points drop, Olson is tied for 3rd for driver’s points in AFR’s top International Category with himself and Asmasoebrata at 74 points each, and PS Racing’s AFR rookie Neric Wei currently 4th overall in the Asian Category. PS Racing currently stands a close 2nd overall in team standings by just two points. The 2013 Asia Formula Renault series will come to its dramatic conclusion on December 21-22 with Rounds 9&10.

For more information visit PS Racing on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/PSRacingChampions, or the team website at http://www.pekkasaarinen.info.