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Dean Smith - GP3 Series, BarcelonaDean Smith secured his first GP3 Series podium of the year at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona on Sunday, 22nd May, with a very well driven third place during the FIA Formula One World Championship support category’s fourth round of the season.

Lining up second on the grid for the 16-lap encounter, having finished seventh during round three on Saturday, 21st May, the Wolverhampton racer unfortunately slipped to third off the start but held his position convincingly throughout to secure his, and the Addax Team’s, first GP3 silverware of 2011.

The 23-year-old former McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner, who only confirmed his place on the grid just a couple of days prior to the season-opening event in Turkey two weeks ago, is now ninth in the championship standings but tied on points with the seventh and eighth placed drivers.

“It’s fantastic to be back on the podium”, said the British ace, “The team has done a great job this weekend, we’ve learnt a lot about the tyre compound so if I’m able to do the next round in Valencia I’m sure we’ll be really strong in qualifying and the races. I want to say a huge thank you to Barwa and all of the other sponsors at Addax, I’m so grateful for the opportunity they’ve given me.”

During the first half-hour practice session at the 2.8-mile Spanish track on Friday, 20th May, Dean started the event promisingly with the sixth fastest lap, only 0.476 seconds away from the top of the times, before opting not to run in session two due to a brake issue with his car.

In qualifying on Saturday morning, he posted the ninth fastest time – just 0.5 seconds shy of pole position – although he was later promoted to the fourth row of the grid due to the exclusion of third-placed qualifier Marlon Stockinger for technical infringements.

Making a good start to round three, Dean produced a well judged move into the first corner to grab seventh place and from there he pressured championship leader Nigel Melker for the duration but with no additional position changes.

Third placed Aaro Vainio had problems with a badly flat-spotted left-front tyre and so his lack of pace bottled up the four cars behind. At the chequered flag, Dean was just 0.2 seconds behind Melker with a best lap of the race just 0.3 seconds outside the fastest of all.

Starting round four from the front-row of the ‘reverse grid’, Dean wasn’t able to get away quite as well as he would have liked with lots of wheelspin and simply couldn’t prevent Melker moving through before they reached the first turn. Further behind in the mid-pack, chaos ensued with a multi-car tangle so the Safety Car was deployed for three laps.

At the re-start on the fifth tour, the Addax driver got away cleanly and ran competitively within roughly one second of Melker – posting a best lap time just 0.2 seconds shy of the quickest of all on the seventh tour. Into the final third of the race though, fourth-placed Andrea Caldarelli mounted a charge and on lap 14 he was in a position to attack into the first corner.

Dean defended brilliantly though and after attempting to break the tow into the braking zone, he held his line for the corner as Caldarelli out-braked himself and ran wide on the exit. This gave the Briton an enhanced cushion which he held to the flag on lap 16 – finishing 1.5 seconds to the good to secure his maiden podium of 2011 and second career GP3 Series rostrum.

“The start to race two was tricky, it was quite cool and there was a shadow over the front of the grid so as soon as I let the clutch out we had a loads of wheelspin”, explained Dean, “We haven’t had the traction out of the last corner this weekend, that’s been our main problem and it’s how (Andrea) Caldarelli managed to get close to me into turn one a couple of laps from the end. It was ok though.

“It’s impossible to overtake at a track like Barcelona when you’re all running such similar pace. We were able to do good lap times but every time I pushed harder we lost the grip so I decided to look after third place. I’m really happy to have given the guys at Addax their first GP3 podium of 2011.”

There is now a lengthy break in the GP3 Series race calendar with rounds five and six taking place five weeks from now over the weekend 25th/26th June at the Valencia Street Circuit in Spain – supporting the F1 World Championship’s Grand Prix of Europe.

Provisional 2011 GP3 Series Driver Standings (after Rd4):
1st Nigel Melker, 22pts; 9th Dean Smith, 7pts

Photo by GP3 Media Service/LAT

Dean Smith - GP3, Istanbul, TurkeyBritish racing driver Dean Smith starred during the first event of the 2011 GP3 Series at Istanbul in Turkey over the weekend, 7th/8th May, following an 11th hour call-up to the FIA Formula One World Championship-supporting category by front-running Spanish squad Addax.

The budget restricted 23-year-old, from Wolverhampton in the West Midlands, has been on the sidelines since a couple of GP3 test outings last October which came shortly after the conclusion of his maiden campaign in the championship where he finished seventh overall and the top Briton.

In actual fact Dean’s last track outing prior to this weekend came at the wheel of a Formula One car, the MP4-23 McLaren Mercedes to be precise, back in November as part of his prize for winning the 2009 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award.

Showing absolutely no signs of rustiness, the 2005 Formula BMW UK Champion and 2009 Formula Renault UK Champion ended the opening weekend of the new GP3 season with two very strong performances including a best finish of sixth in race two on Sunday, from ninth on the grid.

In the first outing on Saturday Dean was robbed of a seventh place finish, and front-row start for the second encounter, after having to avoid potential contact from behind into Turn 12. Instead, he crossed the line in ninth but still ended both races as the best placed Addax Team driver and second highest finishing Briton – all, remember, having had no test time whatsoever during the pre-season.

“I’m really pleased with the pace we showed this weekend, especially considering I haven’t been in a car at all since the F1 test”, said Dean, “Unlike the others I haven’t done any testing so we’ve been having to work on the set-up all the way through. I think we’ve shown again how well we can go in GP3, if we’d done the pre-season tests I’m sure we’d have been fighting for two podiums here.”

Dean’s first time back in a GP3 car for almost seven months started very well during the opening practice on Friday, 6th May, where he was at the sharp end throughout the wet session before ending up eighth, within 0.6 seconds of the top of the times. In the second half-hour run in the afternoon, he was 0.7 seconds away from the outright pace.

In qualifying, he had problems with a lot of oversteer – having worked hard to eliminate the original problem of too much understeer – which led to the 12th fastest time out of 30 drivers. Still only just 0.382 seconds shy of pole position though, Dean was quite happy with his pace all things considered.

Running well in round one on Saturday afternoon, the Addax driver climbed through into ninth on the opening lap and looked in great shape before moving into the top eight, the placing to give pole position for Sunday’s race by virtue of the championship’s top eight ‘reverse grid’ format.

On the final lap, Dean passed fellow Brit Alexander Sims for seventh on the run into the penultimate turn. Heading into the corner itself he held the racing line but Sims locked-up under braking behind, so Dean choose to move to the outside to avoid being collected. The subsequent delay allowed Michael Christensen to steal seventh and Sims grabbed eighth – hugely frustrating for Dean.

Starting Sunday’s race from ninth on the grid, rather than the front-row as had looked likely, he made fantastic early progress once again to climb into eighth and then took seventh place at mid-distance with a great move on Valtteri Bottas.

Delivering excellent pace, Dean swarmed all over the back of Mitch Evans’ car during the closing stages and produced a tremendous move at the penultimate turn again to grab a very well deserved top six finish. Looking to the outside to un-settle his rival, Dean cut back to the inside with a textbook piece of driving to take the position and crossed the line only 0.8 seconds shy of fifth place.

“It’s definitely been a good weekend overall, we kept going from one extreme to the other with the understeer and oversteer but our pace was good even with that”, added Dean, “We should have definitely been on the podium in race two if we’d had the reverse grid pole. It’s disappointing how the first race ended but I’m happy with sixth in the second one and with the progress we made.”

Budget depending, Dean’s next outing will come a fortnight from now, 21st/22nd May, at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona for rounds three and four of the 2011 GP3 Series in support of the FIA Formula One World Championship’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Photo by GP3 Media Service/LAT

Dean SmithWolverhampton’s Dean Smith is celebrating today, Friday, 9th October, after being named one of the six finalists for the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award – the biggest prize in UK motorsport.

Off the back of becoming 2009 Formula Renault UK Champion last weekend at Brands Hatch in Kent, the announcement marks the second time 21-year-old Dean has been put forward for the annual accolade which carries with it an incredible prize package of £50,000, full membership of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) and a test drive in a McLaren-Mercedes Formula One car.

Past winners of the award include current leader of the FIA Formula One World Championship Jenson Button, multiple Grand Prix winner David Coulthard and former F1 racer – and current BBC Radio Five Live commentator – Anthony Davidson.

“It’s fantastic news I’ve been put forward as one of the finalists for the McLaren Autosport BRDC award again, it’s a tremendous honour and caps off an incredible year for us”, said Dean, “When we came back into Formula Renault UK having missed the first two races, it was always going to be a huge challenge to win the title but we always had the confidence and belief we could do it.

“I have to say a huge thank you to Manor Competition for giving me a fantastic car this year, taking seven wins and 15 podiums from 18 race starts tells its own story. We all worked unbelievably hard during the season. To win the championship in style with a race victory and to also be put forward for the McLaren Award truly makes this an amazing year.”

The Black Country racer is unquestionably one of Britain’s premier young talents in single-seater racing and since graduating to cars in 2004, after a stellar career in karting, he has won two of the most prestigious national titles.

Winning a Formula BMW Scholarship to help facilitate a step-up to cars in 2004 at the age of 15, Dean finished third in the ‘Rookie Cup’ before going on to win the main Formula BMW UK title the following year with three race victories, nine podiums in total and two pole positions.

Moving into Formula Renault UK in 2006, he was Vice-Champion of the Graduate Cup class for category newcomers and in 2007 he took three race wins, 14 podiums in total, seven pole positions and eight fastest laps en-route to the overall Vice-Champion’s position. As an acknowledgement of his superb season, Dean was also named a McLaren Autosport BRDC Award finalist for the first time.

Racing on the continent in 2008 in Eurocup Formula Renault, Dean returned to Britain this year but missed the first two rounds of the Formula Renault UK Championship after electing to make his full sportscar racing bow in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship where he impressed with fourth and fifth place finishes on his debut – having previously driven the ‘VIP’ guest car in 2008.

Agreeing a deal with Manor Competition for the remaining 18 races of the 2009 Formula Renault UK season, Dean finished every round he contested and took seven race wins, 15 podiums in total, seven pole positions, six fastest laps and two ‘Driver of the Day’ accolades on his way to a 34-point championship winning margin.

Following a track assessment at Silverstone next month and a fitness test at the Porsche Human Performance Centre, situated at the Northamptonshire venue, the winner of the 2009 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award will be revealed at the Autosport Awards ceremony in London on the evening of Sunday, 6th December.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Dean SmithManor Competition’s Dean Smith sealed the 2009 Formula Renault UK Championship with a superb race victory – the team’s seventh of the season – at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, 4th October, to bring the prestigious crown back into the Manor fold for the first time since 2005.

The 2009 driver’s title triumph caps a superb year for New Ollerton-based Manor Competition, one in which the team has battled from a 50 point deficit to win the championship with a round to spare after a stunningly consistent campaign. The squad also finishes runner-up in the entrant standings.

Furthermore, 21-year-old Smith adds his name to a star-studded list of past Formula Renault UK Champions run to the title in a Manor badged car, none more famous than FIA Formula One World Champions Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton – title winners in 2000 and 2003 respectively. Oliver Jarvis, current DTM touring car front-runner with Audi, boosted his career with the title in 2005.

“I’m absolutely over the moon”, commented Tony Shaw, “The team has worked unbelievably hard this year and Dean thoroughly deserves the championship, he’s an exceptional talent. It’s by no means been easy, especially with Dean only returning to the championship after the first couple of rounds had taken place, but that’s testament to the effort of the whole team.

“When Dean joined us we had no test prior to Thruxton, it was straight into qualifying but as soon as we had the two-day test at Croft everything clicked. All of the others had winter championships they raced in, testing in the UK and abroad, but Dean went into Thruxton with no mileage at all which makes the end result all the more satisfying.”

Shaw continued: “Motor racing is a team sport and our guys are second to none. We’ve proven again our reliability is fantastic, the processes we have at the workshop are amazing and all of our individuals are very committed and thoroughly professional. Sarah (Shaw), of course, deserves a lot of credit for engineering Dean to the title as does Jeremy (Cotterill) for the huge role he’s played this year.

“This championship has produced the last two Formula One Champions, let’s not forget, and it’s nice to say they drove for us and came through our environment. Our record speaks for itself, Manor as a company is exceptional at bringing on young drivers.”

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Dean SmithAnother breathtaking win for Manor Competition’s Dean Smith at Rockingham in Northamptonshire on Sunday, 20th September, has helped move the Nottinghamshire squad another step closer to its aim of securing the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship drivers’ title.

On a weekend of sheer dominance from the team and its British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star, the 21-year-old was utterly peerless as he backed up an incredible victory during Saturday’s 17th round of the season with an equally outstanding win in round 18 – the latter screened live across the UK on Freeview, cable and digital satellite channel ITV4.

Rapid from the off during Friday’s pre-event test sessions, Manor looked comfortable throughout the weekend. Smith secured pole position for each encounter and went on to convert them both into unchallenged race victories, his fifth and sixth wins of the season.

Also posting the fastest lap in each race, including a new Rockingham lap record on Saturday, Smith took a maximum 68-point haul from the weekend and now leads the driver standings by 25 points from closest rival James Calado.

In addition to Smith’s superb winning double, Manor Competition also had plenty to celebrate with Thomas Hylkema, David McDonald and Alice Powell who each produced some outstanding race performances. Combining the two best results from each race, the team has also moved into second position in the entrant’s championship, 11 points clear of CRS.

During Sunday’s outing, Dutchman Hylkema produced the best performance of his Formula Renault UK career to date with an excellent drive to sixth position. Starting round 18 from ninth on the grid, the 21-year-old held his spot ahead of a short Safety Car period and then moved into seventh place when Jesse Krohn and Lewis Williamson tangled exiting Turn 1.

On the following lap, Hylkema grabbed another place to move into the top six and remained there to the chequered flag on lap 18, crossing the line just nine 10ths of a second behind erstwhile series leader Oli Webb. Furthermore, his best lap was just half a second shy of Smith’s race winning pace.

Single-seater rookie Powell secured a fine 13th place finish in round 18 to add to her third top 12 of the season on Saturday and the 16-year-old therefore maintains her top six position in the Graduate Cup standings for inexperienced competitors.

While race two wasn’t a high-point for McDonald due to a broken front-wing compromising his potential and forcing him to pit on lap seven, his superb top six finish in round 17 easily consolidated his top 10 placing in the championship. Although Sunday was a disappointment for the 19-year-old, he was credited with an 18th place result and therefore still scored a handful of points.

Commenting on the weekend, Manor Competition co-owner Tony Shaw said: “I can’t thank the team enough for the phenomenal work they’ve done this weekend. To win both races in such dominant style with Dean and to see such good performances from Thomas, David and Alice over the course of the weekend is not only credit to them, but also to the team’s hard work.

“The lads have been working tirelessly, both at the workshop and the track, and Sarah’s decision making was second to none. The changes she made between the two qualifying sessions on Saturday were absolutely spot-on.”

Shaw added: “We had a pretty tough weekend at Silverstone last time out and it was hard to decipher why but we all worked together to get our heads around it. This weekend’s results are just reward for the efforts of everyone in the team, I’m absolutely over the moon.”

The all-important final two races of the 2009 season, rounds 19 and 20, will take place a fortnight from now, 3rd/4th October, at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in Kent. The event will mark the first time Formula Renault UK has competed on the full length GP track since the 2005 season.

2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship Standings (after Rd18):
1st Dean Smith, 434; 10th David McDonald, 205pts; 16th Thomas Hylkema, 111pts; 18th Alice Powell, 73pts

2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK ‘Graduate Cup’ Standings (after Rd18):
6th Alice Powell, 73pts

2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Team Standings (after Rd18):
2nd Manor Competition, 678pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography

Dean SmithWith just two races remaining in the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship, Dean Smith has opened up a healthy 25 point lead in the driver standings following an awe-inspiring double victory at Rockingham in Northamptonshire over the weekend, 19th/20th September.

In a class of his own throughout the course of the ninth event of the season, the Wolverhampton racer didn’t put a wheel wrong as he not only scorched to his fifth and sixth wins of the year but also secured a brace of pole position starts and added a maximum 68-point total to his tally courtesy of a pair of fastest race laps – including a new International Super Sports Car Circuit lap record.

Making it 13 podium finishes from the last 14 rounds, the 21-year-old’s season continues to be a masterclass in consistency and his pace this weekend was nothing short of exceptional. Heading to Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit a fortnight from now, 3rd/4th October, Dean is in a fantastic position to fight for his first title victory since becoming Formula BMW UK Champion in 2005.

“It’s been an unbelievable weekend, the car has been absolutely perfect and the team has done a fantastic job”, said the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star, “First practice was good, in second practice things were perfect and in qualifying we were strong – especially in the second session which showed what we really had, to be four 10ths of a second quicker than anyone else.

“The first race was fantastic. It’s always hard work and you have to be careful not to make any mistakes but the car felt so good and I was able to keep extending my lead lap after lap which is always a great feeling. In the second one the car was absolutely perfect as the race progressed, even stronger than on Saturday. The weekend couldn’t have gone any better for us.”

Qualifying on pole position for round 17 with a time of 1m15.298 seconds (92.75mph), Dean got away well at the start and although championship rival James Calado attempted to go with him side-by-side around Turn 1 of the Rockingham Oval banking, the pole-sitter held firm into the hairpin.

Into lap two, Dean’s advantage was already seven 10ths of a second and he proceeded to post faster times than anyone else on each of the encounter’s 16 laps. Storming to a winning margin of 6.5 seconds, on the fourth tour he also posted a new benchmark time for Rockingham with a lap of 1m15.935 seconds (91.97mph) – the only racer under the 1m16 second barrier.

In Sunday’s 18th round, which Dean again started from pole after posting a qualifying time of 1m15.675 seconds (92.28mph), some four 10ths of a second quicker than his closest challenger, he made a better getaway to open up a good lead immediately.

The Safety Car was deployed at the start of lap three due to an early incident and at the re-start on the fifth tour, the Manor Competition ace made no mistakes as he judged it to perfection and pulled away once again.

Continually building his lead as on Saturday, Dean pumped in faster and faster lap times which improved throughout the race. His quickest lap, 1m16.299 seconds (91.53mph), actually came on the 15th tour and on lap 18 he took the chequered flag by a margin of 4.5 seconds as he coasted across the line to celebrate with his team along the pitwall.

While this weekend was perfect in every way for Dean, he knows two solid results during the season finale at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit two weeks from now, 3rd/4th October, will be absolutely crucial and nothing can be taken for granted at the Kent track, regardless of his current points lead.

“We need to make the first race at Brands Hatch sweet, hopefully we can get a win or at the very least be right up there to score some big points”, he added, “You never know what can happen though. The last time I ran at Brands GP track was when I won Formula BMW in 2005 so it’s been a long time. I know how to win races there though so hopefully I can do it again.”

Provisional 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship Standings (after Rd18):
1st Dean Smith, 434pts; 2nd James Calado, 409pts; 3rd Oli Webb, 386pts

Provisional 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship (after Rd18 – minus drop scores):
1st Dean Smith, 434pts; 2nd James Calado, 409pts; 3rd Dean Stoneman, 380pts

Dean SmithFor the first time this season, Manor Competition’s Dean Smith has taken the lead in the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship driver standings following the 15th and 16th rounds of the campaign at Silverstone National Circuit over the weekend, 29th/30th August.

The 21-year-old British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star took his eleventh podium finish of the year during round 16 on Sunday with a fine drive to second place and is now tied on 366 points at the top of the championship with Oli Webb. With Formula Renault UK’s ‘drop-score’ ruling applied though, the Manor Competition ace actually has a seven point lead over James Calado.

While delighted to see Wolverhampton-based Smith ascend to the head of the driver standings, the Nottinghamshire squad’s three other drivers, David McDonald, Alice Powell and Thomas Hylkema, each had a frustrating weekend with separate incidents costing them all in both encounters.

Surrey star McDonald raced competitively and although a couple of moments did cost him vital time and track position, he at least scored points in both outings with an 11th place finish in round 15, from 13th on the grid, and 14th position in round 16, from 16th on the grid. While not the results he was hoping for, McDonald at least retains 10th place in the championship.

Race two was certainly the high-point of McDonald’s weekend in terms of the racing and by lap seven he had risen into ninth place following a great move around the outside of Will Stevens at Brooklands. On lap nine though, an unfortunate spin dropped him down the order and he subsequently slipped to 14th place before the finish.

Powell and Hylkema both failed to finish the opening race on the same lap as each other ironically, the Chipping Norton lady racer involved in an incident with Australian Josh Scott at Becketts while Hylkema was pitched into a spin and a retirement of his own on the fourth tour.

Both Manor drivers had been running strongly at the time, Hylkema driving well in 14th having started the race down in 20th place and Powell in 16th position having gained a place on her starting slot of 17th.

Round 16 offered better fortune for the Dutchman as he scored points for 16th place although he was on course for better at mid-distance. Powell once again had the disappointment of another retirement, a spin into the gravel on lap one compounding a difficult weekend at her home track.

Smith, meanwhile, achieved a fifth place finish in race one to add to his round 16 podium. Getting a great start, he was boxed in at the first corner and although grabbing fifth place from Bahraini driver Isa Yousif at Brooklands on lap one he wasn’t able to make any further progress. Although quicker than Harry Tincknell ahead, there just wasn’t the opportunity for a clean pass to be made.

Looking back at the Silverstone weekend, Manor Competition co-owner Sarah Shaw said: “We’re obviously delighted Dean has moved to the top of the championship but we’re all a bit disappointed we weren’t stronger this weekend on the whole. To be on the podium again is fantastic but we had hoped for a bit more, especially for Thomas, David and Alice who all had bad luck.

“It just seemed to be one of those events for us really, David raced well but a couple of moments meant he didn’t score as well as he should and Thomas and Alice were both very unlucky to pick up retirements. It’s been quite frustrating but now we’re looking ahead and turning our attention to Rockingham where we aim to have all four drivers back where they should be.”

There are now just three weeks to wait until the potentially decisive penultimate race meeting of the 2009 season, rounds 17 and 18, which will take place at Rockingham in Northamptonshire over the weekend 19th/20th September.

2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship Standings (after Rd16):
1st Dean Smith, 366pts; 10th David McDonald, 184pts; 16th Thomas Hylkema, 94pts; 21st Alice Powell, 57pts

2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK ‘Graduate Cup’ Standings (after Rd16):
8th Alice Powell, 57pts

2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Team Standings (after Rd16):
3rd Manor Competition, 578pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography

Dean Smith - Leading at SnettertonMichelin Formula Renault UK Championship title contender Dean Smith edged a step closer to the overall lead in the driver standings at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk on Sunday, 2nd August; two more podium finishes for the Manor Competition ace closing the gap to a mere six points.

The New Ollerton-based squad was in fine form all weekend at the 1.95-mile track. While Smith continued his unbroken podium run in rounds 13 and 14 with a pair of second place finishes, less experienced team-mate David McDonald produced his best and most consistent performances of the season with a superb fourth place in race two backing up an earlier top six.

Not to be outdone, Dutch driver Thomas Hylkema recorded his third top 10 result of the campaign in round 13 but the second race proved to be a luckless one for the second year driver when he was taken out of proceedings at the Esses on the opening lap through no fault of his own.

Talented category rookie Alice Powell produced impressive pace in qualifying and looked very well placed to achieve her season’s best performances but the 16-year-old didn’t get the results she deserved after two unlucky race outings. With Smith and McDonald providing a brace of strong finishes each though, Manor Competition has climbed into second position in the entrant standings.

Reflecting on the team’s overall performance, co-owner and race engineer Sarah Shaw said: “We’re very happy with the way things went in general this weekend. Two more podiums for Dean is exactly what he needed for his championship bid while David produced the best two races we’ve seen from him all year, he really did a fantastic job.

“Thomas’ drive in race one was fantastic but the luck just wasn’t with him at all in the second one when he got taken out on lap one. For Alice, it was a similar story really. She had excellent pace all weekend but her potential couldn’t be fulfilled due to nothing other than bad luck really.”

As a mark of respect to the late Henry Surtees, his former Formula Renault UK team competed at Snetterton with a commemorative decal on the nose cone of each of its cars in remembrance of the talented teenager who tragically lost his life in a Formula 2 event at Brands Hatch a fortnight ago.

Smith lined up third on the grid for the first Snetterton encounter on Sunday morning and he made a good getaway to move into second place as McDonald made the most of an equally fine start to move up into fourth position ahead of championship points leader Oli Webb.

The best getaway of all though came from Hylkema who enjoyed a stunning opening lap. Lining up an uncharacteristic 18th on the grid, he scythed his way through the midfield to emerge on lap two in 13th position behind team-mate Powell, herself up from 14th on the grid.

Unfortunately slipping back to third at the Esses on the first lap behind James Calado, Smith had good pace even though he had some understeer issues to contend with. On lap 16 though, he had the chance to move into second place when front-runner Dean Stoneman slipped back to fifth.

McDonald looked very rapid and actually posted a quicker best lap time than Smith at mid-distance having been forced to fightback into the top six when he ran wide at the Bomb Hole on lap three and lost three positions. Nonetheless, sixth place was a great result.

On lap nine, Powell and Hylkema continued to run line astern and were in 10th and 11th positions respectively but a moment for the former at Sear Corner while attempting to pass category race winner Jesse Krohn for ninth place saw her slip back to an eventual finish of 16th. Hylkema, therefore, moved into 10th place where he remained to the chequered flag.

Round 14 started perfectly for pole-sitter Smith as he made a good getaway to lead Stoneman and Calado with McDonald once again getting the better of Webb off the line to move ahead into the top four where he would remain to the finish to match his season’s best result.

For Hylkema, things weren’t so enjoyable this time around as he was taken out of the action at the Esses after being caught up in a collision between team-mates Harry Tincknell and Lewis Williamson on lap one. It was a big disappointment for the Dutchman as his pace had been excellent throughout the weekend, right from the opening practice session on Friday morning.

Powell also ended her race in retirement, another strong run ruined through no fault of her own when she was forced to take avoiding action as eighth placed Fredrik Blomstedt’s car was pitched into a spin when the suspension failed.

With nowhere to go other than onto the grass to miss a collision with Blomstedt’s car, Powell unfortunately picked up damage to her own rear suspension in doing so. The outcome was all the more disappointing as she was a superb ninth at the time with just a couple of laps to go but the incident brought out the red flags.

Smith lost the lead to Stoneman at the Esses on lap nine but during the final few laps he worked out a way to extract more pace from his car and edged closer and closer to his rival. Posting the fastest lap a couple of tours prior to the stoppage, he really started to pile on the pressure and had the race run its full intended distance the result could have been another win for the Manor star.

There is now a four-week break in the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship calendar with rounds 15 and 16 of the season scheduled to take place on 29th/30th August at Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire.

2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship Standings (after Rd14):
2nd Dean Smith, 318pts; 10th David McDonald, 167pts; 14th Thomas Hylkema, 89pts; 20th Alice Powell, 57pts

2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK ‘Graduate Cup’ Standings (after Rd14):
7th Alice Powell, 57pts

2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Team Standings (after Rd14):
2nd Manor Competition, 513pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Dean Smith - SnettertonBritish Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star Dean Smith continued his outstandingly consistent Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship season in fine style at Snetterton Circuit today, Sunday, 2nd August, by taking a brace of second place finishes in rounds 13 and 14 of the campaign.

Easily the most consistent of the front-runners over the course of the last 10 races, all of which he has finished on the podium, the Wolverhampton based Manor Competition driver is now only six points shy of the outright series lead. Taking ‘drop scores’ into consideration though, each driver’s lowest two scores deducted from totals before the end of the season, Dean leads by 19 points.

The weekend started very well for the 21-year-old with the fastest time in pre-event testing on Friday and in qualifying on Saturday he secured his fourth pole position start of the year during the round 14 session by an impressive two 10ths of a second, a time of 1m04.851 seconds (108.35mph).

In the earlier round 13 session Dean was on course for pole position with several minutes remaining but was blocked at Russell Chicane which cost him vital time. This also ended up being his final lap as the qualifying period was halted early following an accident involving Matias Laine. Therefore, Dean lined up third on the grid for the first race of the weekend.

At the start of round 13, Dean and namesake Dean Stoneman both made better getaways than the pole-sitter James Calado so the Manor ace moved into second place on the run to Riches Corner but slipped back to third position at the Esses halfway through the lap.

With Stoneman leading, Calado second and Dean in third place, the top three were covered by mere fractions of a second during the early laps with nothing to choose between them. Working hard at the wheel of his Manor car to deal with some understeer issues, the Black Country racer moved back into second place on lap 16 following a moment for Stoneman which dropped him down the order.

Dean’s second top two finish of the weekend also came coupled with the fastest lap of the race, a time of 1m05.429 seconds (107.40mph). At the start, he moved away cleanly from pole position but before he had a real chance to press home the advantage, the Safety Car was deployed after a tangle at the Esses involving several midfield cars.

At the re-start on lap six he led away well, but three laps later Stoneman managed to edge ahead at the Esses as Dean battled with oversteer. Although he was unable to retake the lead, Dean adapted his driving style well to drive around the issue and lapped quicker and quicker as the race neared its conclusion before posting the fastest time of the race on lap 16.

Closing to within just seven 10ths of a second of Stoneman as they headed into lap 18, any further progress was halted when the race came to an early finish following an incident involving Manor Competition team-mate Alice Powell and Swedish driver Fredrik Blomstedt. Dean was nonetheless very happy with yet another podium result.

Speaking on another hugely successful weekend, the Kiddisave, Rotech, Cosatto, Britax and Dorel supported racer said: “My start to the second race was good, we changed the car drastically really from the first race as we had a lot understeer but then in the second one we had oversteer!

“To cope with that my driving style had to change so much throughout the race but in the end I worked out what I needed to do and that’s why we started to catch Dean (Stoneman) and I set the fastest lap at the end.”

He continued: “As a team, we all worked together on the changes and we thought we’d got it just right but it was just a little bit too far. Two podiums is still a very good weekend though and we got two bonus points for the race two fastest lap. It’s been hard to catch up having missed the first two rounds and with Thruxton not being a good weekend for us, but the championship is right there now. We need to keep pushing on though to try and get some more wins.”

Dean will be back in action four weeks from now with the 15th and 16th rounds of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship taking place at Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire over the weekend 29th/30th August.

Provisional 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship Standings (after Rd14):
1st Oli Webb, 324pts; 2nd Dean Smith, 318pts; 3rd Dean Stoneman, 308pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star Dean Smith continued his outstandingly consistent Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship season in fine style at Snetterton Circuit today, Sunday, 2nd August, by taking a brace of second place finishes in rounds 13 and 14 of the campaign.
Easily the most consistent of the front-runners over the course of the last 10 races, all of which he has finished on the podium, the Wolverhampton based Manor Competition driver is now only six points shy of the outright series lead. Taking ‘drop scores’ into consideration though, each driver’s lowest two scores deducted from totals before the end of the season, Dean leads by 19 points.
The weekend started very well for the 21-year-old with the fastest time in pre-event testing on Friday and in qualifying on Saturday he secured his fourth pole position start of the year during the round 14 session by an impressive two 10ths of a second, a time of 1m04.851 seconds (108.35mph).
In the earlier round 13 session Dean was on course for pole position with several minutes remaining but was blocked at Russell Chicane which cost him vital time. This also ended up being his final lap as the qualifying period was halted early following an accident involving Matias Laine. Therefore, Dean lined up third on the grid for the first race of the weekend.
At the start of round 13, Dean and namesake Dean Stoneman both made better getaways than the pole-sitter James Calado so the Manor ace moved into second place on the run to Riches Corner but slipped back to third position at the Esses halfway through the lap.
With Stoneman leading, Calado second and Dean in third place, the top three were covered by mere fractions of a second during the early laps with nothing to choose between them. Working hard at the wheel of his Manor car to deal with some understeer issues, the Black Country racer moved back into second place on lap 16 following a moment for Stoneman which dropped him down the order.
Dean’s second top two finish of the weekend also came coupled with the fastest lap of the race, a time of 1m05.429 seconds (107.40mph). At the start, he moved away cleanly from pole position but before he had a real chance to press home the advantage, the Safety Car was deployed after a tangle at the Esses involving several midfield cars.
At the re-start on lap six he led away well, but three laps later Stoneman managed to edge ahead at the Esses as Dean battled with oversteer. Although he was unable to retake the lead, Dean adapted his driving style well to drive around the issue and lapped quicker and quicker as the race neared its conclusion before posting the fastest time of the race on lap 16.
Closing to within just seven 10ths of a second of Stoneman as they headed into lap 18, any further progress was halted when the race came to an early finish following an incident involving Manor Competition team-mate Alice Powell and Swedish driver Fredrik Blomstedt. Dean was nonetheless very happy with yet another podium result.
Speaking on another hugely successful weekend, the Kiddisave, Rotech, Cosatto, Britax and Dorel supported racer said: “My start to the second race was good, we changed the car drastically really from the first race as we had a lot understeer but then in the second one we had oversteer!
“To cope with that my driving style had to change so much throughout the race but in the end I worked out what I needed to do and that’s why we started to catch Dean (Stoneman) and I set the fastest lap at the end.”
He continued: “As a team, we all worked together on the changes and we thought we’d got it just right but it was just a little bit too far. Two podiums is still a very good weekend though and we got two bonus points for the race two fastest lap. It’s been hard to catch up having missed the first two rounds and with Thruxton not being a good weekend for us, but the championship is right there now. We need to keep pushing on though to try and get some more wins.”
Dean will be back in action four weeks from now with the 15th and 16th rounds of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship taking place at Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire over the weekend 29th/30th August.
Provisional 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship Standings (after Rd14):
1st Oli Webb, 324pts; 2nd Dean Smith, 318pts; 3rd Dean Stoneman, 308pts

Dean Smith - Snetterton QualifyingDean Smith recorded his and Manor Competition’s fourth pole position start of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship at Snetterton in Norfolk today, Saturday, 1st August, as the 2007 category Vice-Champion bids for more podiums, and possibly wins, in rounds 13 and 14 tomorrow.

Lining up third on the grid for the first of the weekend’s races thanks to a time of 1m05.187 seconds (107.79mph), the 21-year-old was on course to take the round 13 pole position until he was blocked at Russell Chicane on his quickest lap. Competitors then lost the final few minutes of running in the first qualifying session following a nasty accident involving Finnish driver Matias Laine.

In the round 14 period, Smith was determined to seal the top spot and he did so in fine style with a best lap of 1m04.851 seconds (108.35mph). Importantly, for both of Sunday’s Formula Renault UK races, Smith will start ahead of championship leader Oli Webb.

David McDonald enjoyed one of his best days of the season so far with two very good performances in qualifying, the Surrey teenager lapping in 1m05.236 seconds (107.71mph) in the first session to grab sixth on the grid for round 13. In session two, he went even better with the fifth fastest time of 1m05.301 seconds (107.61mph) and is well placed to mount a maiden podium challenge.

Single-seater rookie Alice Powell starts 14th and 12th for the two races after posting laps of 1m05.591 seconds (107.13mph) and 1m05.625 seconds (107.07mph) respectively in the two sessions. Thomas Hylkema , meanwhile, will line up an uncharacteristic 18th on the grid for round 13 but in a more representative ninth position for round 14 following a best lap of 1m05.452 seconds (107.36mph).

Round 13 of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship is scheduled to begin at 09.50 tomorrow, Sunday, 2nd August, with round 14 expected to follow at around 15.45. The second of the weekend’s races is set to be screened live on Freeview, cable and digital satellite channel ITV4.

2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship Standings (after Rd12):
2nd Dean Smith, 260pts; 11th David McDonald, 127pts; 14th Thomas Hylkema, 78pts; 20th Alice Powell, 52pts

2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK ‘Graduate Cup’ Standings (after Rd12):
7th Alice Powell, 52pts

2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Team Standings (after Rd12):
3rd Manor Competition, 417pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.