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Tag: Zou Si Rui

Matty Graham - SWROxfordshire motor racing team SWR is setting its sights on three consistently strong results when the BRDC Formula 4 Championship resumes at Oulton Park this coming Saturday, 6th July, where the front-running squad will be striving to get its 2013 season back on track during rounds 10, 11 and 12.

Suffering a major dose of bad luck at Snetterton a fortnight ago, Matty Graham, Jack Barlow and Zou Sirui – who won’t be in action at the weekend due to a clashing commitment at home in China – all got caught-up in unfortunate incidents.

With Barlow and Graham slipping down the championship standings to seventh and ninth position respectively as a result, the Chipping Norton team is determined to reignite its charge and mount a bid for a return to the podium.

So far during its maiden season SWR has enjoyed great success, having claimed its first victory with Hastings driver Barlow in only the second race of the campaign at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit before Edmundbyers teenager Graham secured his debut podium in round three at the squad’s ‘home’ track. SWR is, therefore, confident normal service will be resumed in Cheshire on Saturday.

“Snetterton really was a very tough weekend for a variety of reasons”, commented team owner Sean Walkinshaw, “That’s in the past though, we’re all focused on Oulton Park and confident we can get back into the podium battle there.

“The whole team has done a fantastic job so far this season and Matty had a very good test at Oulton last Friday, so that’s given us a boost ahead of this weekend. Formula 4 is tough, there are some strong, experienced racers at the front, but if all goes smoothly next weekend we’re certain we can be consistently back at the sharp end in all three races.”

Helping SWR’s bid for a successful outing at Oulton Park International Circuit will be new sponsor Saka Natural Mineral Water, one of the country’s fastest-growing water brands, which recently agreed a deal to become an official team drinks partner alongside Mad Dog Energy Lemonade.

All of the Formula 4 action at Oulton Park will take place on Saturday, 6th July, with qualifying set to begin at 08.40 and rounds 10, 11 and 12 set to follow at 11.40, 14.30 and 18.00 respectively.

2013 Provisional BRDC Formula 4 Championship Driver Standings (after Rd9):
7th Jack Barlow, 121pts; 9th Matty Graham, 110pts; Zou Sirui – Does Not Score

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Matty GrahamLeading BRDC Formula 4 Championship team SWR enjoyed a consistently strong showing during the second event of the year at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit over the weekend, 18th/19th May, with Matty Graham a mere 0.058 seconds away from claiming his second podium of 2013 during round six.

All three of the Chipping Norton team’s F4 rookies, Graham, Jack Barlow and Chinese racer Zou Sirui, produced impressive race performances across the three outings at the 1.2-mile Kent track. Each also had the boost of meeting 2009 FIA Formula One World Champion Jenson Button, who was a special guest at Brands Hatch on Sunday for the visiting DTM touring cars.

“It all turned out quite well for us really”, said team owner Sean Walkinshaw, “Our drivers were quick all weekend, we had some good results and were just a bit unlucky really not to come away with a podium. Matty and Jack scored well, they were seriously quick and Zou did a good job too. All three of them delivered some strong showings.”

Quick from the off during practice on Friday, 17th May, Edmundbyers teenager Graham started the weekend very impressively with the fastest time during the first of the two free practice sessions and went on to qualify sixth fastest for the opening race of the weekend.

In an incredibly close session Barlow was ninth fastest, little more than five hundredths of a second outside Graham’s time, while fellow SWR racer Sirui had to settle for 19th on the grid for race one, even though only 0.5 seconds outside Barlow.

Making a great start to Saturday’s fourth round, Graham moved into fifth while Barlow slipped back to 10th but for Sirui the outing only lasted a few yards when he was forced to pull off the track on the run to Paddock Hill Bend with a technical issue.

Graham edged away from the chasing pack during the early laps and by mid-distance he had managed to latch-on to fourth place. Just 0.2 seconds behind into lap 19, Graham got a good run out of Paddock and dived up the inside into Druids to take the position before closing on third towards the finish. In terms of lap times, he was a mere fraction outside the quickest of the race.

Hastings racer Barlow remained in 10th position throughout, pressuring erstwhile championship leader Seb Morris while at the same time fending off the attentions of Diego Menchaca. With overtaking between the evenly matched competitors proving impossible, only a mistake – which wasn’t forthcoming – would have opened a sufficient passing opportunity.

For round five on Sunday afternoon, Graham held onto fifth position off the start with Barlow retaining 10th place and Sirui making progress into the top 20 from the back of the grid after an excellent first couple of laps.

Graham slipped to fifth on lap three and then, on the fourth tour, Barlow sustained damage to his front wing while dicing with Seb Morris for ninth as the latter moved across to the take the inside line on the pit-straight, which Barlow already occupied.

An ensuing spin for Morris resulted in the deployment of the Safety Car and after the re-start on lap 13 Barlow had to summon all of his skill and tenacity to fend off the cars behind. With a distinct lack of downforce due to his deranged front wing, the SWR driver was elbowed wide through the gravel on lap 19 and although slipping to 12th he somehow clung on to the place despite massive pressure.

Graham, meanwhile, also suffered contact during a battle with Sennan Fielding and although dropping to seventh he remained there to the chequered flag on lap 23. Sirui, determined to make amends for his race one disappointment, had an unfortunate tangle with Rahul Raj Mayer on lap four at Clearways and after pitting he eventually finished in 19th place.

In round six, hopes were high of a potential podium finish for Graham with the SWR racer lining-up on the second row of the grid in third place – having posted the third fastest race lap of the weekend to that point.

Although pushed back to fourth at Paddock Hill Bend, he challenged for third as the race wore on and during the closing stages he piled on the pressure. Trying everything he could, and lapping on the same pace as the podium drivers, he just missed out on third by 0.058 seconds on the line.

Barlow impressed with a great drive through from 16th into the top 10 and although his progress was stunted slightly on lap 15, during a battle with Diego Menchaca and Jake Hughes, he fought through to 10th five laps from the conclusion.

Sirui, lining-up on the back row, faced another tall order but produced an impressive drive to climb into the top 20 at one third distance. Although sporting the scars of slight contact which led to the top plane of his nose cone coming loose, Sirui remained focused and worked his way into 17th place.

“Jack did really well in race two to hold everyone off with a damaged front wing”, said Walkinshaw, “In the third race he overtook four or five drivers which, at Brands Hatch Indy, is quite an impressive effort. Matty was quick enough for the podium but, unfortunately, just couldn’t get past. It was great to see Zou get a good finish as well, we definitely ended the weekend on a high.”

SWR now has a four week break from competitive action with the seventh, eighth and ninth rounds of the BRDC Formula 4 Championship season taking place on 15th/16th June at Snetterton in Norfolk.

2013 Provisional BRDC Formula 4 Championship Driver Standings (after Rd6):
4th Matty Graham, 97pts; 5th Jack Barlow, 91pts; Zou Sirui – Does Not Score

Photo by BRDC Formula 4 Championship/Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Zou SiruiThree dramatic races for the Asia Racing Team entry in the Guangdong International Circuit rounds of the Formula Pilota China saw driver China’s Zou Sirui finish twice on the podium.

Friday Qualifying saw Zou Sirui scoring his best qualifying results so far this season. The Guangzhou native managed to start from 6th in Race 1 and 5th in Race 3.

Saturday’s season-opening round saw Zou Sirui delivering a faultless race where others slid off the track. Starting from 6th he was sensible and reaped the rewards with a third position overall. Still, the best was yet to come.

In the second race of the day he started fourth, quickly caught up to second place. The 24-year-old driver was looking fast and kept his opponents on their toes for him to hold the second place position and his best result of the season.

Race 3 took place on Sunday, with the team starting from fifth on the grid. Unfortunately the red and white car was sidelined from the podium fight early with a flat shift sensor problem. Despite the bad luck he tends off, Sirui still managed to cross the line in 8th.

Reflecting on a strong performance, Sirui said “I’m really happy. Things haven’t always gone our way but this weekend I pushed really hard from the beginning. I was determined to finish in the podium, and I knew we could make it. Obviously I’m a little disappointed not to have been on the podium in race 3 because I think we were capable of that, but I’ve moved up in the drivers’ championship and now look ahead to more points finishes in Malaysia.”

Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, “Sirui showed vast improvement this weekend. He did no mistakes and it paid off. He did a flawless job in every aspect. It’s a big positive we can take from this weekend in Zhaoqing.”

The next race of the Championship is the Malaysian Super Series support event in Sepang, Malaysia, on November 4, 2012.”

Photo by Formula Pilota China.

Formula Pilota ChinaThe first pre-season test for Asia Racing Team’s 2012 Formula Pilota China season got underway in the past two weeks at Zhuhai International Circuit in People’s Republic of China. After nearly two months, the Asia Racing Team cars were back on track.

Guangzhou’s Zou Si Rui got behind the wheels of Asia Racing Team’s new car and had a good start. The last year one race only racer demonstrated strong pace and was able to complete plenty of mileage on a dry track. “Overall it was a good day. It was my first time driving this car in Zhuhai and a matter of me being comfortable in the car and doing set-up changes to work out what it does to the car. Now I’m looking forward to further testing to get things underway properly for the season.”

Last season competitor Zhang Ran took the wheel from Zou Si Rui, getting back into the swing of Formula Pilota China after so many months away. The Beijing native female racer did not yet decided where to race next season but took the opportunity to drive the FIAT powered Tatuus car on a track that will host the Ferrari Drivers Academy supported series twice in 2012.

Russian single seater debutant Sergei Karokin took the place of Zhang Ran on the day after. “It was my first time in this car so I concentrated on getting comfortable and up to speed. It was good experience and fun despite the low temperatures”, he said.

Team Manager Philippe Descombes added, “We haven’t come up with a decision regarding season 2012 but we want to be prepared. Formula Pilota China is an extremely competitive series and a level playing field where driver talent and teamwork can really make a difference. Last year we finished second in the championship standings and we were the strongest of the Asian teams. Definitely we want to do it again.”

The second pre-season test will begin in Zhuhai from February 21.