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Tag: Martin Plowman

OAK RacingThe teams entered in the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship arrived at the Paul Ricard HTTT circuit in the south of France for a 2-day official test session (29-30 March) in view of the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship.

OAK Racing brought along three Morgan-Nissan LM P2s (#24, #35 and #45), all of which are entered for the first three rounds of the World Endurance Championship. Overall, the damp weather provided difficult conditions for the twenty or so cars that turned up, and they did not manage to run through as many options as they would have wished. On the other hand, the weather gave the drivers the opportunity to race in fluctuating conditions before the start of the season with rain, a drying track and finally a dry layout. The sun put in an appearance on the final afternoon and this helped the French team to progress and prepare for the first race of the season. OAK Racing had a trouble-free test with no technical problems which, allied to the Morgan-Nissans’ pace, means that the team is tackling the first round of the championship, the 6 Hours of Silverstone, on April 14 in the best possible conditions.

During the first day Olivier Pla and Alex Brundle in #24 set the second-quickest time in the LM P2 category with a lap of 1m48.828s, only 0.3sec off the #25 Delta-ADR Oreca-Nissan. During the nighttime practice Pla topped the timesheets, although many teams including OAK Racing decided to cut short the session because of fog.

On Saturday morning Brundle set the quickest lap in LM P2 with a 1m48.070s to finish just in front of the #49 Pecom Racing Oreca-Nissan. In the afternoon #35 in the hands of Bertrand Baguette, Martin Plowman and Ricardo Gonzalez went even quicker to clinch the fastest time of the test thanks to a lap of 1m47.398s. That was followed by #24 in second with a 1m47.589s.

Sébastien Philippe, OAK Racing Team Principal: “We’ve had a very productive two days, maybe more so for the drivers than for the team as we were unable to validate as many technical options as we would have liked due to the weather conditions. In #24 Alex and Olivier tested various technical set-ups and they had a good run. In #35 the driver line-up’s learning the ropes and getting to know one another: there’s a good ambience between them and they exchanged a lot of information. I’m pleasantly surprised by #45: Jean-Marc Merlin doesn’t have much experience, but he adapted to the circuit very quickly like Philippe Mondolot who comes from VdeV, and who got to grips with the car in almost no time even if it was his first real outing in the Morgan. The times were pretty good and very consistent so we can look forward to Silverstone in a confident frame of mind.”

Alex Brundle, #24 Morgan-Nissan LM P2: “This test has been a positive one for us. Obviously every time we have been on tyres with representative mileage we have been very close to the pace or the pace, which is fantastic. I feel very at home in the car now thanks to the testing we have done. The sister car appears to be very competitive which is good for our own data and the analysis of the balance and the driving for the two cars. It is nice to get up and running, the car’s livery looks great this year and there is a happy team around us!”

Martin Plowman, #35 Morgan-Nissan LM P2: “It was a good two days’ testing. The conditions were not perfect with the weather changing so much but it is good experience for Silverstone because more than likely it will be bad there too. I do not think we were too focused on the performance of the lap times here. Everybody is doing something different so it is not a true test of speed. I think overall we ended the second day quite happy with the feeling of the car, which is the most important thing and gelling as a team. I am sure Silverstone will be exciting to see where we truly are.”

Jacques Nicolet, #45 Morgan-Nissan LM P2: “We’ve had two very encouraging days’ testing. Our driver line-up gelled very quickly and everybody immediately hit it off! Jean-Marc Merlin and Philippe Mondolot both know how to combine speed, safety and consistency and were on the pace despite the tricky track conditions – rain, cold, fog and sun! Overall, it was a faultless performance and that bodes well for the Le Mans 24 Hours. Personally speaking I got back in the groove and was able to maintain a good rhythm. I felt good in the car and very much at home with the new driver line-up.”

Photo by Philippe Laurenson/DPPI

Prema PowerteamA contrasting weekend for the Prema Power team in the first round of the F.Renault 2.0 Eurocup. Henki Waldschmidt claimed second in race 2 after a good start from the second row of the grid. Midway through the race the Dutch driver was overtaken by Charles Pic under yellow flags, which led to the French driver receiving a drive through penalty, allowing Waldschmidt to re-take his deserved second place at the flag. unfortunately the celebrations for the third place achieved in race one were cut short when Henkie’s car was deemed illegal in scrutineering for a small technical infringement. A small strip of rubber inserted in between the front floor tray and the monocoque to prevent the floor tray from rubbing against the monocoque was the offending item. A complicated weekend for Andrea Caldarelli and Martin Plowman, problems in qualifying compromised their weekend. Despite this, both drivers had excellent starts in race one with Martin finishing lap 1 in 14th making up 8 places on the opening lap!, with Andrea close behind after moving up 4 places. After bravely fighting their way to verge of the points zone, both drivers were unfortunately caught up in the same incident close to the end, resulting in their retirement from the race.

In race 2 another good start by Martin saw him up move up 2 places to 13th but his hopes of stealing his first points of the year were dashed when he was hit from behind on lap 3 while fighting for 12th. Andrea drove a solid race from 16th up to 12th, only for an incident on the last lap saw him drop down to 15th at the flag.

Strong start for Prema in the F.Renault 2.0 Italia. The Vicenza based Team, at the first meeting held on the circuit of Vallelunga, obtained two undisputable victories with Henki Waldschmidt, author of two pole positions in the qualifying and two fastest laps in both races. In race 1, that took place on Saturday March 31st, the Dutch driver was leading from the beginning and soon created a gap from his opponents.

Prema’s triumph was completed with Martin Plowman’s third place while Andrea Caldarelli finished the race in 8th position. The second race, for Waldschmidt was a copy of the first one: another perfect start, no mistakes and a clear victory. Plowman obtained the fourth place after a remarkable race, while Caldarelli classified seventh after a notable effort.

“There couldn’t have been a better start of the season. Henki Waldschmidt’s victories make us very hopeful for the future, but the Championship is still long and difficult and the opponents, as we have seen in Vallelunga, are well prepared. I am very pleased about the maturity demonstrated this weekend not only from Waldschmidt, but also from Martin Plowman, third and fourth, and from Andrea Caldarelli, eighth and seventh, even if their qualifying wasn’t perfect.”

Prema Powerteam and Toyota Motorsport GmbH has reached an agreement to extend their partnership for another enthusiastic season in the Eurocup and the Italian series of the Formula Renault 2.0. Angelo Rosin’s team has been with Toyota Motorsport GmbH for seven consecutive seasons to date, establishing itself as a reference and the gateway for the Toyota Drivers Program. Prema will support three young drivers who are part of the development program of the world’s leading car manufacture.

Prema will start their second season challenge with Henki Waldschmidt, born in Den Haag (Holland) the 28-06-88 and with Martin Plowman, born in Burton Upon Trent (Great Britain) the 3-10-87. They will be joined by Andrea Caldarelli born in Pescara (Italy) the 14-02-90, who has been participating in the Formula Renault 2.0 Italian championship and obtained a pole position at the opening round in Mugello, despite his very young age.

Angelo Rosin – Team Principal
“For a seventh straight year we are proud to be a partner of Toyota in their young drivers program. To be chosen by the biggest car manufacturer in the world is a great reward for the hard work of the whole team over the last few years. This year we brought Martin and Henki into the car racing world, after various success in karting. For next year, they will be joined by a young Italian ,Andrea Caldarelli. Andrea is the first ever Italian to be selected for the TDP program. Next year it will be important to put into place everything learned during this year ‘to be able to fight for race wins and the championship title”

Yoshinori Arimatsu – TDP Manager:
“It is our great pleasure to continue our continuous partnership with Prema Power. Our 2006 season was tough year for both Prema and us since we have committed to the new drivers from karting, but it was something expected. However , I have to point out that our drivers will have a second year benefit, and will be able to fight the championship. We are also welcomes Andrea in our program. He showed natural speed and took our attention, and I am sure Prema will be able to guide him a real challenger…”

Andrea Caldarelli:
“I am really happy to have this great opportunity, to race with a competitive team like Prema and to be a part of the program like Toyota. It is almost like a dream that Toyota came to offer me the 2007 season. From my part, I will try not to be disappointed their expectations on me and I will do my best to deliver good results.”

Henki Waldschmidt:
“First of all I would like to thank Toyota for all the support given me in the 2006. To be part of their program also in 2007 it’s a pleasure. This year wasn’t so easy as I have just moved from karting to car. Anyway together with Prema I have learn a lot. They teached me several things and I will be happy to thank bo th of them with great result in this new season. Formula Renault 2.0 Italia and Eurocup are two very strong championships and I hope to be one of the front runners.”

Martin Plowman:
“I would like to thank Toyota for their continued support of me for the 2007 season, after giving me my break to make the transition from karts to cars for the 2006 season. It was a tough year in which I had a lot to learn, my thanks also go to the Prema power team who aided my transition, helping me to achieve my first Pole position and podium finish. For 2007, I hope to continue my learning curve and with the experience acquired this year I hope I will be in a better position to deliver good results and fight for the championship to repay Toyota’s faith in me.”

After the two-day test in Magny Cours, the Team Prema moved directly in Tuscany, and more precisely at the International circuit of Mugello for another day of Free practice in view of preparing the 2007 season. Once again all three drivers of the Vicenza based Team were Henki Waldschmidt, Martin Plowman and Italian Andrea Caldarelli. From the beginning they were competitive and did a good work with very interesting chronometric results.

Fabio Zilio, Technical coordinator of the Team: “This was a very positive test day, where we tried various technical solutions. Now we go back home for a week of analysis and then we’ll go back on track before the test ban scheduled after the month of December by the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup Sporting Regulations.”

Just one week after the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup Championship’s end, Prema went on track on the Portuguese circuit of Estoril for two days of testing in view of the 2007 season. Except from the confirmed Henki Waldschmidt and Martin Plowman, TOYOTA’s protégés, the Vicenza based Team also tested other two young drivers, French Jules Bianchi and Italian Andrea Caldarelli. Excellent results during both days even if the weather conditions were not very favourable with rain pouring on both days.

Grazia Troncon, Team Manager of the Vicenza based Team: “Two very interesting days where we have tested various set up solutions. Excellent work from all the drivers. A very positive start with our Team for Jules Bianchi, in his first experience with our Team. Once again a very good perfor mance from Andrea Caldarelli. Next week the Team will transfer for two more test days on the Spanish circuit of Valencia.”

Formula Renault 2.0 Italia

This last weekend as already anticipated, the Formula Renault 2.0 Italia Championship went back on track at the Santa Monica International Circuit of Misano Adriatico for the sixth meeting of the Italian series. Very elevated temperatures made the drivers and Teams work even harder as the conditions were really difficult.

Even so, once again our drivers were among the protagonists of the race, without optimizing the qualifying results, a point where we still have to improve. On Friday during the free practice session our best driver was the French Italian Edoardo Mortara who obtained the fourth best chronometric result. Martin Plowman finished with the eighth position followed by Dutch Henki Waldschmidt in sixteenth position, victim of some problems with his brakes, that didn’t allow him to exceed this position.

The qualifying session determinated the starting grid for both races based on the f astest and second fastest lap. In Race 1, Edoardo started from sixth position, followed in ninth place by Martin Plowman and in eleventh by Henki Waldschmidt. On a circuit where overtaking is not easy, our drivers tried to gain as many positions as possible but while trying they were also involved in some contacts that made them lose a few positions. Under the chequered flag our best performer was Martin Plowman who finished in seventh position followed in ninth by Edoardo Mortara and in eleventh by Henki Waldschmidt.

In the second best lap classification during the qualifying that determinated the grid of Race 2 Martin Plowman signed the fifth time, followed by Henki Waldschmidt in sixth and Edoardo Mortara in seventh position. In the Race, Martin Plowman performed a very good start and managed to overtake an opponent so as to finish in fourth position. Unchanged were the positions for Henki Waldschmidt and Edoardo Mortara who finished the race in the same starting positions.

Grazia TRONCON, Team Manager of the Vicenza-based team: “Two races in the points for our drivers. However, once again the qualifying conditioned our potential. We now have to concentrate more on the qualifying sessions in order to start in better positions on the starting grid.”

Formula Renault 2.0 Italia

As we write this press release, the cars registered in the Formula Renault 2.0 Italia Championship are on track at the German circuit of Hockenheim for the free practice sessions of the fifth meeting of the Italian series.

This is the second time that the Italian championship goes to Germany in order to race for an event of its calendar, after the precedent in 2004. A difficult circuit, host of the Formula 1 German Grand Prix, that will test Teams and Drivers in certainly spectacular races judging by the various overtaking points of this circuit.

Today, are in schedule three free practice sessions that will help preparing for the qualifying scheduled for tomorrow morning. On Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning will be held the two races. The Team as always will put at disposal for its drivers, the French Italian Edo Mortara, Dutch Henki Waldschmidt and English Martin Plowman, all its experience so as to make the most of the potential.

Angelo ROSIN, Team Principal of the Team: “This is a very interesting weekend, at one of the most important European circuits. It will be important to make the most of the three free practice sessions and to be ready for the qualifying. In Germany will also be important the weather conditions, not always optimal. The Team and the drivers have worked hardly during this last period and we are expecting important results from now on in the next races of the season.”