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It was a day of severe weather and dramatic conditions for Carlin’s Formula Renault 3.5 team as they undertook both a wet qualifying and race with Kevin Magnussen and Will Stevens in Paul Ricard today. The early morning qualifying session was delayed due to bad conditions which also blighted this afternoon’s race; however Magnussen made his way up the field to finish sixth while Stevens had another great start to finish the race just outside the points in 11th.

The early morning qualifying session today was delayed as the track was deemed too wet and windy to drive on. The session did get underway however it was called to a halt with the conditions not improving. The order of the day was to get a quick lap in early in the session, unfortunately yellow flags and track conditions made getting the optimum lap very difficult.

As qualifying progressed the track became greasier as it dried giving very few opportunities for drivers to move up the grid. However Stevens was one of the few who was able to, and he took the flag in 18th position. Team mate Magnussen had been lying in the top 10 for the majority of the session however as the times fell he took the flag in 13th.

With just a few minutes before the race began the weather took another turn for the worse with rain falling over the circuit. A quick change to wet tyres before heading to the starting grid and both Magnussen and Stevens were ready for what was inevitably going to be a tricky race.

As the lights went out both drivers had good starts and handled the ever changing conditions well. By the end of the first lap Magnussen had made his way up to ninth and a quick starting Stevens was in 11th. However as the race continued the track developed further with the positions at the front of the grid changing on a lap by lap basis.

For Magnussen and Stevens they were able to hold their positions in the race well. However in the final few minutes the rain fell heavier again seeing a couple drivers spin out of their positions and fall down the grid. Magunssen benefited from this and a great overtaking move on a struggling Robin Frijns saw him make up another position to come home in sixth. Team mate Stevens was just outside of the points after another strong race to finish 11th.

Kevin Magnussen said of the day’s action, ‘Qualifying was a little difficult for us this morning and I was disappointed to not have been higher up the grid. My start wasn’t the greatest however those around me lost positions and I could take the advantage and take places in the first lap. Towards the end of the race Robin [Frijns] was struggling so I was able to take a further position from him. It was a case of not taking any risks and just settling into the rhythm to take a good finish and more points.’

Team mate Will Stevens added, ‘Qualifying was tricky for everyone today – we hadn’t driven here in the wet and I didn’t get a lot of running yesterday anyway. The race was tough; I had a good start which I’m pleased with but the conditions were difficult despite the pace being good. Towards the end when the rain fell heavier it was a case of just concentrating on bringing the car home.’

Leaving the heartbreak of Silverstone behind them Carlin’s 2011 Championship winning Formula Renault 3.5 team move forward to the seventh round of the 2012 calendar as they take on the Hungaroring – a track with happy memories for the team. Having already travelled as far afield as Russia and competed in at their home round at Silverstone the entire team, along with drivers Kevin Magnussen and Will Stevens, look to capitalise on the speed which saw them take a great pole position with Magnussen at Silverstone last time out.

The last round at the Northamptonshire track was a tough affair for the whole team; Magnussen brilliantly put his car on pole position on Saturday morning for the first race of the weekend however after leading in the difficult wet conditions he hit a patch of water and skidded off track and into the barriers – a move many a driver would replicate over the course of the red flag affected race. Stevens had kept his car on track despite the adverse conditions and was leading the race however as things settled back into a rhythm he too fell victim to the difficult conditions putting him out of contention.

A great team effort to rebuild Magnussen’s car ready for the afternoon’s qualifying session ensured the Dane was able to qualify for race two – a feat that couldn’t be achieved by all teams in the pit lane with the amount of damage caused. Stevens came through the field during the second race of the weekend to clinch sixth position – his highest finish in the championship during his rookie season.

With the frustrations of Silverstone behind them, the team have high hopes for Budapest. The Hungaroring has been a happy hunting ground for Carlin’s Formula Renault 3.5 team with last year’s Vice-Champion, Jean-Eric Vergne, taking both wins during a dominant display. The mass of points scored during the weekend moved the team into a position where they would be able to clinch the Team’s Title at the next round in the Championship.

The twisty 4.381 km Hungaroring circuit, located near the capital of Budapest will, as ever, hold two free practice sessions on Friday before the first qualifying session gets underway on Saturday morning in the run up to the afternoon’s race. Magnussen and Stevens will hit the track once again on Sunday for the final qualifying run and race two of the weekend.

After a tough showing last time out Kevin Magnussen said, ‘Silverstone was of course a difficult weekend for me but I’m looking forward to putting that behind me this weekend. The car certainly has pace as was proven by my pole position last time out and it’s something I want to replicate here and convert into a win.’

Team mate Will Stevens added, ‘Silverstone was definitely a step in the right direction for us. I had my best finish there, the pace was good and I believe that if we carry on in that direction we can have a strong weekend here. This is a track that I enjoy and feel familiar with. Two years ago I achieved a podium here in the Formula Renault 2.0 Euro Championship as a guest driver however last year was difficult for me – but it’s still a track I like to race at because it’s technical and a real drivers circuit.’

Kevin MagnussenStrong pace in the sixth round of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series led only to frustration for Carlin drivers Kevin Magnussen and Will Stevens in a chaotic day of running at the Silverstone circuit. Magnussen led race one this afternoon from pole before crashing out in treacherous conditions, with team mate Stevens doing the same after inheriting the lead several laps later. It was a race against time for the team to repair both cars for this afternoon’s qualifying session, when Stevens qualified eighth, and Magnussen 17th.

Having qualified on pole this morning, Magnussen headed the field for race one as the drivers lined up on slick tyres in dry conditions. The Carlin driver made the perfect start to maintain the lead as the lights went out and break away from the field, just as the rain started to fall around the Northamptonshire circuit. Within a lap the conditions had deteriorated, with one side of the circuit dry and the other dangerously wet.

Magnussen did well to lead the pack, who were all shod with slick tyres, and with nearly a three second gap was looking on strong form. However, as the conditions deteriorated, the young Dane was caught out and flew off track at Becketts and into the barriers. With substantial damage, Magnussen was out of the race.

Stevens meanwhile had made a lightning start and had moved up to ninth place on lap one from 15th on the grid. The British racer stayed on track as almost half the field aquaplaned off at Luffield, until the Carlin man led the race as the safety car was deployed.

With insufficient recovery vehicles to collect the several cars off track at Luffield, the race was red flagged with the much depleted field returning to the grid. Stevens made the most of the stoppage to change to wet tyres, and led the cars away behind the safety car when the race restarted. The FR3.5 rookie did well to hold the lead after the safety car pitted, but spun off after being the first car to hit standing water at Stowe just a few corners later. Despite both Carlin cars leading the race, the team were left without points from the first race of the weekend.

As support series to the FIA World Endurance Championship this weekend, it was a quick turnaround for the FR3.5 teams this afternoon, with qualifying for race two just a couple of hours after the chaotic race one. The Carlin mechanics worked against the clock to repair both cars in time for this afternoon’s qualifying session, making good the particularly heavy damage to Magnussen’s car.

The team’s efforts were rewarded early on as Stevens went quickest in the first minutes of qualifying, with Magnussen also competitive on his first set of tyres, going quickest before Nico Muller relegated the Carlin man to second.

After the field pitted for new tyres in the second half of the session, the times suddenly started to drop in the final minutes. Stevens continued to fight back and repeatedly set times in the top ten, while Magnussen struggled to make his way back to the top of the time sheets. At the chequered flag, Stevens had qualified 8th for race two, while Magnussen was 17th.

“The circuit felt completely different this afternoon,” said Magnussen. “I felt like I had both oversteer and understeer, but even so, my best lap didn’t feel like it should have been only 17th. It’s really frustrating after being on pole this morning.”

Team mate Stevens added, “There wasn’t much I could do in race one, I wasn’t even pushing that hard, I was being careful, but still aquaplaned off. I was relieved we had a dry qualifying session this afternoon, although there was oil everywhere, so it was easy to be caught out. The car felt good, but I think there is still more time to be found, which we’ll focus on before the race tomorrow.”

Team boss Trevor Carlin said, “The team should be very proud of their work so far this weekend. As well as a gearbox change last night, they had a lot of damage to repair today and did a fantastic job to get both cars – particularly Kevin’s – back out for qualifying this afternoon. It was a great team effort.”

Race two will conclude this weekend’s FR3.5 action at 9.40 tomorrow morning.

British race team Carlin have enjoyed a successful start to the 2012 season, with the team’s British F3 and GP3 squads topping the time sheets in pre-season testing. Carlin’s GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 teams have also clocked up times in the top three to mark a strong start to the season over the last two weeks.

British racer Harry Tincknell topped the timesheets in the second day of British F3 testing at Rockingham today, as the team continued to develop its Volkswagen powered 2012 Dallara F3 car. Tincknell’s time was the fastest of the test overall, after fellow Carlin driver Jack Harvey set the pace at Rockingham yesterday. The Carlin men have locked out the top five positions at both the Rockingham and Snetterton pre-season tests, with their team mates Jazeman Jaafar, Carlos Sainz and Pietro Fantin over the last two weeks.

While the British F3 team finished two days of testing at Rockingham today, Carlin’s Formula Renault 3.5 team brought to a close two days of collective testing at the Paul Ricard circuit in France. Kevin Magnussen and Will Stevens both completed a successful test in the brand new FR3.5 car, with Magnussen setting the third fastest time of today’s running.

The Carlin GP3 team also enjoyed a successful outing this week, with Portuguese racer Antonio Felix da Costa setting the quickest time of the official two day test for Carlin. Will Buller was also in the top ten while Alex Brundle continued to make big improvements ahead of his first season in the series.

Preparing for the 2012 GP2 Series, Max Chilton and Rio Haryanto were out on track last week, at the Barcelona circuit in Spain. A consistent front runner in pre-season testing, Chilton set the second fastest time on the first day in Barcelona while Haryanto was seventh. The Briton and Indonesian continued to put in a strong performance in the final test before the season opener in Malaysia later this month.

Reflecting on a positive start to the 2012 season, Trevor Carlin said, “With 12 cars to prepare for the 2012 season across four championships, it’s a great testament to the team that all four squads have had such a strong start to the season. To finish each test within the top three is extremely encouraging and shows the hard work that has gone in over the winter period.”

Will StevensBritish racer Will Stevens took his eighth points-scoring finish in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship with ninth place in race two at Silverstone today. Despite suffering from understeer the Oxshott, Surrey, ace posted the fourth fastest time in his qualifying group and headed into the race hoping to repeat the form that took him to his sixth podium finish of the year yesterday.

The formation of the grid for the races are dictated by the driver with the fastest lap time overall from both groups taking pole position and the rest of the drivers in that group aligned behind, meaning the 20 year-old would start from the fourth row. At the start of the 14 lap race around the new Silverstone Arena circuit Stevens was looking for a good getaway to help his chances, and a fast start allowed him to get the jump on Carlos Sainz into turn one. Heading into the Maggotts/Becketts complex however, Daniil Kvyat found a way past demoting Stevens to eighth before the end of lap one.

For the opening three laps Stevens held eighth until a rare minor error allowed a recovering Sainz to repass him. Over the closing laps, Stevens increasingly struggled with lack of grip and consequently it was impossible for him to progress any further up the field. Regardless, Stevens’ skill ensured he held fast to secure ninth and another point-scoring finish.

His Silverstone form secures fourth in the championship standings, with four races remaining. With just two DNFs, due to mechanical problems in Spain’s opening race and Hungary’s second race being the only blips in an otherwise points perfect season so far, Stevens now turns his focus to the penultimate series rounds at Paul Ricard.

“In qualifying we underestimated the track change from yesterday and had a lot less grip and a bit of understeer in the high speed corners,” said Will. “In the race I made a good start and managed to get by Sainz going into the first corner. We had quite a good pace at the beginning but then I lost the place to Kvyat who got the run on me out of Becketts.

“Then I started to struggle with understeer and a lack of grip, which resulted in me making a mistake coming out of Club allowing Sainz to get past. The pace went right off towards the end, particularly in sector one and sector three, we just didn’t have the balance right.

“But, looking ahead, we go into the next rounds the way we always do, looking to win. So now we’ll go back and look at the data and see where we struggled today and hopefully we can sort it all out before Paul Ricard.”

The next double-header rounds at Paul Ricard, France take place over the weekend of 17/18 September.

Will StevensWill Stevens took his sixth podium finish of 2011 with third place in the opening Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship race at Silverstone today. The 20 year-old Surrey racer got up to second on lap three and had race victory in his sights two laps from home, but eventually had to settle for third.

The BRDC Rising Star opened his Formula Renault Eurocup account with victory in Alicante in April and his aim to return to winning ways on his home track got off to a good start. With the 38-car grid split into two for qualifying, Stevens posted the second fastest time in his group to net him a second row start for the first of two races on the new Silverstone Arena circuit.

Before the start a rain shower threatened but despite that Stevens made a good getaway to hold third into turn one, behind his two main series rivals Robert Frijns and Carlos Sainz. With news of an impending drive through penalty for Sainz, for receiving a push start from his mechanics, Stevens wisely elected to hold station.

On lap three Sainz duly pitted for his penalty, allowing Stevens to set about closing down the gap to Frijns ahead, and was the fastest driver on track as he closed up to the back of the leader. However in typical Silverstone fashion, the rain was now falling heavily around the back of the circuit and making conditions tricky to judge.

Two laps from home Stevens saw a chance to wrest the lead from Frijns, when they closed up to lap a slower car. On an increasingly greasy track, Stevens had a tough decision to make about which side to attempt to pass Frijns, with a damp track one side and tyre debris the other.

The former British, European and Asian-Pacific kart champion chose the left but Frijns moved over, pushing Stevens towards the grass and forcing him to back out of the move. Then on the very final corner, Frijns braked early, forcing Stevens to do the same, which allowed Alex Riberas through, demoting Stevens to third.

“I made a good start and good momentum put me in a position to pass Sainz early on but didn’t want to lose time in the early stages,” Will explained. “Then I heard from my Fortec team about his drive-through penalty so it wasn’t worth taking any risks.

“As the race progressed, the track conditions became very tricky, particularly around the back of the circuit where it was quite damp and we were all sliding wide. Frijns caught a backmarker two laps from the end and got held up slightly which allowed me to close right up. I had a tough decision to make in a split second as to which side to try and pass him, it was difficult to judge because the track was damp on one side and had lots of tyre rubber on the other, but I had a go and he moved over, forcing me towards the grass, so I had to back out.

“Then at Brooklands on the final lap he braked much earlier than usual, probably in case it was slippery, and so I did too. This allowed Alex (Riberas) to get the run on me, which is a little disappointing as I really thought we could have had a win today. We had the pace so hopefully we can come back tomorrow with another strong qualifying and get that home win.”

Sunday’s qualifying session will take place at 12.00 and the lights will go green on the 25-lap race two at 15:35.

Will StevensWill Stevens will be aiming to return to winning ways and the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup podium on home soil as the premier single-seater series holds its only UK round of the season at Silverstone on August, 20-21.

The 20 year-old has been on fine form this year, opening his debut Formula Renault Eurocup account with his first race win at the Spanish circuit of Motorland Aragón in April. The Surrey star has also claimed three pole positions and a trio of podiums in the series so far this season, including a pair of second-place finishes at Spa Francorchamps, Belgium.

Despite a challenging time at the last Hungaroring rounds, Stevens lies fourth in the championship fight 61 points behind the leader. With six races remaining and 150 points still up for grabs the Fortec Motorsport driver has everything to play for, starting with a welcome return to the podium around the new Silverstone Arena circuit.

Stevens is primed in preparation for his big home race. His second Formula Renault UK guest appearance of the year at Snetterton earlier this month added another second-place finish to his season tally after taking the same result at Brands Hatch at the beginning of the year.

The World Series by Renault showcase is expected to attract over 50,000 spectators to the free event at the Northamptonshire track and the former British, European and Asian-Pacific kart champion will be hoping his British fans will be cheering him to victory this weekend.

“I’m really looking forward to Silverstone this weekend and hopefully it will see a return to form and the podium,” said Stevens. “We had a very positive outing last time at Snetterton in the domestic series and learnt a lot so I’ll be looking to improve on that performance in front of my home crowd.

“When you’re competing in a European series, it’s always a boost to race at your home event and I’m excited now to be racing on the new Silverstone layout. Following the strong start to the season in Eurocup, and with five combined podium finishes this season, nothing less than another podium will do.

“The competition in the Eurocup is fierce and I suspect we’ll be joined by some of the British series regulars which will increase the opposition. However if we can get a good set-up on Friday ahead of Saturday’s first qualifying, I’m optimistic we can get another strong finish.”

The Formula Renault Eurocup 2.0 action starts at Silverstone with two 40-minute practice sessions on Friday at 09:00 and 14:05. Qualifying at 09:45 on Saturday morning precedes the first race of the weekend at 14:35. Sunday’s qualifying session will take place at 11:45 and the lights will go green on race two at 15:35.

Will StevensSurrey race ace Will Stevens endured a trying day in the eighth round of the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup in Budapest on Sunday, but left Hungary with fourth place in the points table. Despite making set-up changes to his car following Saturday’s race, the 20 year-old was not able to reproduce his Friday practice form that netted the third fastest time, qualifying on row seven for the race.

Stevens, from Oxshott, had high hopes heading into qualifying that the changes would improve the car sufficiently to allow him to take his fourth pole position of the season. Yet, come Sunday morning Will was struggling to find the balance and was left frustrated with his pace.

Lining up 14th of the 35 runners Stevens, who scored his first Eurocup podium in last year’s race at the Hungarian track, suffered a clutch problem at the start and lost three places. He managed to claw back two places however and was well clear of the first lap melee behind, which forced the deployment of the safety car.

At the restart he dropped back to 14th and thereafter had a largely uneventful run to 13th, which he took on the final tour.

There was some consolation for the Fortec Motorsport driver however, as two of his main series rivals finished out of the points, to keep the BRDC Rising Star well in the title challenge, with six races remaining.

“It was a trying weekend, we struggled all weekend really. We came into the event having secured four top four finishes in five races including three podiums and so far this season we’ve been on the pace at pretty much every race. So to come away from the circuit where I enjoyed second place in a one-off guest appearance last year, without a podium, is rather disappointing,” he said.

“The weekend started pretty good with the third fastest time in the second free practice and I was confident of being able to improve on that with set-up changes made for the second qualifying on Sunday morning.

“Unfortunately though we went the wrong way with the settings. I didn’t make a very good start as I had a clutch problem off the line and lost three places as a result. I managed to get two back, but after the safety car period I struggled for the next couple of laps. I just wasn’t quick enough. However, we will put that behind us now and focus on the next event, in front of the home crowd, where hopefully we can return to the pace of the opening three rounds.”

The former multiple kart champion comes away from Budapest in fourth place and heads into the next rounds of the championship, his only UK appearance in the series, at Silverstone over the weekend of 20/21 August 2011, looking for a return to the podium in front of an expected 50,000 spectators.

Will StevensRising British racing driver Will Stevens from Oxshott, Surrey notched up tenth place in round seven of the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup at Budapest on Saturday. The 20 year-old put his experience of the Hungarian track, where he scored his maiden Eurocup podium finish last year, to good use, getting off the line cleanly for the start of the 14-lap race.

Thereafter the former British, European and Asian-Pacific kart champion, who has three podium finishes under his belt this season, moved up two places from his grid slot, to take his sixth consecutive points-scoring result and consolidate his fourth place in the points table.

Thirty-five identical 2-litre Formula Renault cars took to the track for Saturday morning’s qualifying sessions, with the field split into two groups. Stevens, along with his three Fortec Motorsport team-mates, was out second but qualifying unfortunately didn’t quite match the form of Friday’s free practice, in which he was third fastest.

The 15-minute qualifying was interrupted by full course yellow and saw the BRDC Rising Star wait until the closing moments to mount a serious challenge for the top spot. His penultimate lap had him post a fast final sector but he lost time slightly in sector one on his last lap. Despite a fast second and third sector, Stevens was unable to capitalise on that pace and ended up sixth.

The formation of the grid for the races are dictated by the driver with the fastest lap time overall from both groups taking pole position and the rest of the drivers in that group aligned behind. The drivers from the other group line up on the other side of the grid putting Will on the outside of the sixth row. A good getaway allowed him to maintain position on the opening lap and by lap two he had made up a place, sweeping into 11th and then taking tenth three laps later.

The deployment of the safety car brought Steven’s charge to a premature halt however and after securing his maiden podium there last season, and setting a good pace in free practice, Will was understandably frustrated by the result but looking forward to returning to podium form tomorrow. A poor result by series leader Carlos Sainz jnr. which allowed the eventual race winner Robert Frijns to close the gap at the top, has allowed Will to keep in the fight for the title, in fourth place in the standings ahead of tomorrow’s eighth round.

“I had high expectations of a good result here this weekend after last year obviously but in practice I didn’t get such a good run on new tyres as the red flag stopped the session. The track conditions changed quite a bit for qualifying and I don’t think I was able to reach the full potential of the car and of course the way the qualifying works being sixth in session, meant I started 12th. I didn’t make the best of starts but by the end of lap one was still in 12th place. I had a good rhythm going but unfortunately the safety car period meant I couldn’t overtake and at the restart, I lost that rhythm which prevented me from moving up further. But I had a long chat with my engineer and we’ve made some changes to the car now which I’m confident will help for tomorrow’s qualifying,” he said.

“It’s a shame that I wasn’t able to fully capitalise on Sainz’s qualifying problems and close the gap down, but thankfully we haven’t lost out too much today. If we can get a good qualifying tomorrow it’d be nice to end the weekend with a strong positive result.”

The Brawn GP team has confirmed that they will continue to support Will Stevens on a long-term driver development programme. The association continues Will’s previous relationship with the Honda Racing F1 Team and will provide the platform for him to develop the level of performance that is required to potentially become part of Brawn GP’s Formula One programme in the future.

17 year old Will is widely regarded as one of Britain’s top rising young motorsport stars. Following a prodigious karting career, he is now competing in the Formula Renault UK Championship with Fortec Motorsport in his rookie year in single seater car racing.

Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer of Brawn GP, commented, “We are very pleased to be continuing our support of Will’s motorsport career and extending the relationship that he has had with the team since 2008. We look forward to working with Will and will be keeping a close eye on his developing motorsport career.”

Commenting on today’s announcement, Will Stevens said, “I am extremely proud to be part of the Brawn GP team. What the team has achieved so far this season is incredible and the future looks very exciting. To have the opportunity to be a part of the team is amazing. I would like to thank Ross, Nick and Ron Meadows for their continued support and commitment to my future and I intend to ensure that their belief in me is rewarded”.