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Category: Formula Renault 2.0 NEC

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

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 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.

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.

Shahaan EngineerFormula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup contender Shahaan Engineer made a great start to his preparations for the 2013 season, his second in car racing, at Assen in The Netherlands last week by recording the fastest time during the final session and day of the official two-day collective test.

With snow affecting running on Thursday, 21st March, and freezing conditions prevalent throughout Friday, 22nd March, the wintry weather certainly made things challenging but the Indian-born racer lit up the timing screens with a best lap of 1m35.444 seconds.

Shahaan, who currently resides and studies in the UK, is now looking to consolidate the performance at Assen as his second season with Fortec Motorsports in the popular and hotly contested Northern European Cup edges ever closer. The FIA authorised championship is heading for another record-breaking season this year with at least 40 registered drivers, representing 17 different nationalities.

Away from the track, Shahaan recently became part of the McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT) ‘Performance Academy’ which combines the best knowledge for driver development, using McLaren experience, and athletic enhancement from MAT’s work with elite sports teams. The result is a programme of assessment and monitoring, allowing a driver to achieve their full winning potential.

Speaking on Shahaan’s involvement with the initiative, manager of the Human Performance Programme Clayton Green said: “We are very happy to be working with Shahaan this year, maximising his performance for this season and assisting in his development with an eye on his longer term career aspirations.”

Keep up-to-date with Shahaan’s latest news during the year at www.shahaan.com follow him on Twitter @ShahaanEngineer and also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ShahaanEngineer

Seb MorrisBritish Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) ‘Rising Star’ Seb Morris, the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault Winter Series Champion, will graduate full-time into the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC) this year as part of an unprecedented eight-car entry fielded by British squad Fortec Motorsports.

The 17-year-old Welshman, from Marford near Wrexham, enjoyed a sensational maiden season in single-seaters last year in the UK-based Protyre Formula Renault Championship where he became a multiple race winner and concluded the season third overall.

Going on to win the Winter Series title, his third car racing championship success in three years, Seb also set the scene for a move into European action with a strong debut outing at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC.

Remaining with Daventry-based Fortec for his 2013 campaign, the Ginetta Ambassador – who was Ginetta Junior Winter Series Champion in 2010 and Ginetta Junior Champion in 2011 – will be part of the quartet which will run under the banner ‘Fortec Competition’. Further bolstering Seb’s bid this year will be the same crew of mechanics and engineers with whom he worked last season.

“It’s fantastic to be stepping-up to into the NEC this year and especially with the guys at Fortec, I’m really looking forward to it”, commented Seb, “Everyone who worked on my car in Protyre Formula Renault will be doing NEC with me so that’s really positive. I don’t have to spend lots of time getting to know a new team, we can just go out there and try and carry on how we finished last year.

“I know there are some big names doing the championship, and it will be our first season in Europe, but I’m going out there to win the title. We’re under no illusions how tough it will be, it’s an incredibly competitive championship and there will be a lot of new circuits to learn, but my intention is to try and win some races and be in the fight for the title.”

Formula Renault 2.0 NEC will be contested across seven race weekends, beginning at Hockenheim in Germany on 6th/7th April and concluding at Zandvoort in The Netherlands on 12th/13th October. The series will make one visit to the UK during the season, to Silverstone in Northamptonshire over the weekend 1st/2nd June.

Away from the track, Seb is continuing his A-Levels at Abbey Gate College near Chester in addition to studying for the Motor Sports Association (MSA) Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence, which is run through Loughborough University.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Shahaan EngineerShahaan Engineer will remain with leading squad Fortec Motorsports for the 2013 Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup after today, Monday, 21st January, finalising a new deal with the reigning champion team.

The teenager delivered a highly successful debut season in single-seaters last year in the ultra-competitive Northern European series, ending the championship seventh in the standings from more than 50 registered drivers and finishing 2012 as the best of the car racing rookies.

“I’m pleased to have re-signed with Fortec for this year, I had a great first season in cars with the guys last year and I know we can build strongly on that this season”, said Shahaan, “The new car will obviously be a fresh challenge but one I’m really looking forward to, it should be an exciting year.”

Shahaan produced a number of stand-out performances in 2012 where he was the youngest racer in the championship. Qualifying third fastest on his debut weekend at Hockenheim in Germany, the then 16-year-old went on to solidify his position among the prime challengers.

Achieving his first category pole position at Zandvoort in The Netherlands, part of a triple front-row qualifying performance during the penultimate event of the season, the young driver went on to take back-to-back podium finishes and accrue the highest points score of anyone that weekend.

Speaking on the opportunity to continue working with Shahaan, Fortec’s Jamie Dye said: “We are delighted to re-sign Shahaan, 2012 saw the strongest grids in NEC yet and it was a learning year for Shahaan against tough competition in his first full season of racing in single-seaters.

“It was a great learning opportunity for him and by achieving double poles mid-season and strong finishes along the way, including back to back podiums, it gives him the strength and experience to attack from the start of the new season. Fortec would like to thank Shahaan for the faith he has shown in the team and we wish him the best of success for the coming season.”

Germany’s Hockenheimring will host the opening weekend of Formula Renault 2.0 NEC action on 6th/7th April before the series visits the Nurburgring, Silverstone in the UK, Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, Assen in The Netherlands and Most in the Czech Republic. Zandvoort in The Netherlands will be the venue for the championship finale over the weekend 12th/13th October.

Keep up-to-date with Shahaan’s latest news during the year at www.shahaan.com follow him on Twitter @ShahaanEngineer and also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ShahaanEngineer

Raoul OwensSingle-seater racer Raoul Owens will graduate to the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC) in 2013 after today, Friday, 16th November, confirming a deal with championship challenging team Manor MP Motorsport.

The 18-year-old, who originates from Pembury in Kent but resides in Cape Town, South Africa, will make the full-time move to European-level competition after spending his first two seasons of car racing in the UK-based Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship.

Although the 2012 campaign wasn’t as straight-forward as Raoul wanted, with a series of car issues hampering his progress, a switch to Manor MP for his competitive debut in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium last month underlined the potential of the new-found partnership.

“I’m really delighted to have signed a deal for next year with Manor MP Motorsport, to have our plans in place so early is a great start”, commented the British-born racer, “I really gelled well with the team when I raced with them at Spa, so we’ve got a great base to work from going into winter testing over the next few months.”

Manor MP Motorsport enjoyed a highly successful season in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC this year, the first for the squad in its current guise. At the end of 2011, multiple-championship winning Formula Renault UK team Manor Competition and established NEC and Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 outfit MP Motorsport pooled their respective resources to create one major single-seater force.

During the maiden campaign for the newly amalgamated entrant, Manor MP finished second in the team and driver standings in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC and additionally made an impact in the sister Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 series, the championship Raoul plans to progress into for 2014.

“Everyone knows the Manor name, there’s so much heritage in the team and they achieved a huge amount in Formula Renault UK over the years”, added Raoul, “It’s going to be fantastic being part of a team that worked with F1 World Champions like Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton in their early careers, it’s an amazing opportunity and one I aim to make the most of.

“We know it’s going to be a tough challenge, NEC is a really competitive championship and it’s on another level compared to Formula Renault BARC. The standard will be incredibly high but with a strong run in winter testing, I’m confident we can have a good first year in Europe.”

Beginning his motorsport career in 2006 in karting, the Bright Spark Ventures-supported racer won the Rotax Mini Max Regional Championship in South Africa the following year. He then stepped-up to Rotax Junior Max in time for the 2008 season, where he became Vice-Champion of the domestic series in South Africa and a World Finalist, before making the move into cars in 2011.

Raoul’s winter testing programme in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC begins next week with visits to Valencia and Barcelona in Spain. From there he’ll be back in action in December, at Portimao and Estoril in Portugal, before making a return to Spain for a trip to Jerez.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Shahaan EngineerRacing as part of a grid of drivers where 95 percent of the competition had at least two years of track experience in cars, Mumbai-born Shahaan Engineer enjoyed an amazing debut season in single-seaters in the 2012 Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC).

Finishing the campaign as the highest placed car racing rookie, the 17-year-old Indian driver was seventh overall in the championship standings – from more than 50 entrants – in the category’s most competitive year since its inception.

His tremendous run this year was all the more impressive when considering European Formula Renault is the toughest single-seater class at 2.0-litre level and over the last couple of years, for drivers of requisite ability, it has also proven to be the penultimate stepping stone to Formula One.

Shahaan demonstrated clear natural talent and speed in his rookie season, with the highlight of a maiden pole position and double podium finish all coming in one weekend. At the opening event, Shahaan stunned the paddock with a top three qualifying performance, from 39 drivers, at the Hockenheimring in Germany, at which point he was just 16-years-old and the youngest driver in the series.

The major highlight of the year, though, came at Zandvoort in The Netherlands where, soon after he had celebrated his 17th birthday, the Fortec Motorsports driver took his first ever pole position with a storming lap before adding a magnificent set of back-to-back podiums.

Ending the season with a top five finish at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, from 36 drivers, Shahaan’s efforts were all the more impressive as he was one of only two drivers to have never tested or raced at the circuit previously. In addition, he had the pressure of having to learn the seven kilometre track and its many corners during the 15-minute qualifying session.

Proving no obstacle to the youngster, he made his way forward from 16th on the grid to end the race in a lofty fifth position. Finishing the year just a few points shy of the coveted championship top five, he regularly punched above his weight by outperforming numerous second and third year drivers.

“After an amazing season in the 2012 Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup with Fortec, I really want to take the chance to thank again the whole team – especially Ben Salter my race engineer and Jack Howard my mechanic, for providing me with a perfect car all season”, said Shahaan, “With my first year behind me, I really am looking forward to 2013.”

While Shahaan would have relished the opportunity to race in the MRF Challenge series, which began at the weekend as support to the FIA Formula One World Championship’s Indian Grand Prix, the first two events clash with his post-season Formula Renault 2.0 testing schedule in Europe.

Keep up-to-date with Shahaan’s latest news at www.shahaan.com follow him on Twitter @ShahaanEngineer and also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ShahaanEngineer.

Photo by Chris Schotanus/Essay Produkties.