CHRISTODOULOU CAPS TITLE WIN WITH WORLD SERIES BY RENAULT TEST

Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship winner Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) fulfilled his champion's prize on Friday, 7th November as he drove a Formula Renault 3.5 car. The 3.5-litre, 425hp machine is used in the World Series by Renault, a Formula One feeder series that has seen Grand Prix winners Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel graduate in recent seasons.

Two days after completing his evaluation for the McLaren Autosport Young Driver Award, Christodoulou took the wheel of a Fortec Motorsport car at the stunning Paul Ricard circuit in southern France. Completing in excess of 100 laps during the day, he lapped the 2.39-mile circuit in a best time of 1min 17.101s (112.09mph average) at the end of the afternoon session. This placed him 12th overall, just over one second off the fastest time of second-year driver Charles Pic.

A damp track greeted the drivers, several of whom had up to two years' experience in the FR3.5 car, at the start of the day and times continued to plunge throughout the first session as conditions improved. Early stints on old tyres enabled Christodoulou, who took eight wins on his way to the Formula Renault UK title, to become accustomed to the greater power of the car and also to learn the circuit layout.

The final run of the morning was interrupted as the tyres approached their peak by an unfortunate electrical glitch. Swiftly repaired by the Fortec team, Christodoulou was still able to set consistently good times culminating in his personal best lap of the session of 1min 17.846s (110.53mph average) at the end of the morning session.

A rain shower just minutes into the afternoon session saw drivers switch to grooved wet weather tyres and Christodoulou again impressed with his ability to improve his lap times. Once the clouds broke and the circuit dried, Christodoulou was able to use a second set of new slick tyres to record his personal best lap of the day and show an improvement of 10 seconds on his first exploratory run in the morning stint.

Commenting on the test, Adam Christodoulou said: "Today has been awesome and a great way to end an exciting week, so my thanks to Renault Sport and Fortec Motorsport for making it a special prize. The car has certainly got a kick to it when you accelerate and even more so when you brake. The braking power is what takes the most time to get used to and where I found a lot of time during the day.

"Driving this car requires a change in technique to the Formula Renault 2.0 that I used during the season. There is much more downforce and the car is more planted to the track, so you don't have to slide the car as much as with the 2.0-litre version. It's been excellent to work with the engineers and go through the data, which has taught me a huge amount about how to get the best from the car and myself."

Peter Crolla, Fortec Motorsport Team Manager, commented: "It's been a pleasure to work with Adam, who approached the test in an extremely professional manner. It's clear to see why he's the Formula Renault UK champion and he's achieved as much in one day as it can take some drivers up to a season to achieve.

"The driver briefing explained that the aim was to improve throughout the day and that's exactly what he did. The Renault single-seater ladder is designed for progression and if he chose to step up to the series full time he would do well. He's demonstrated an ability to drive well in any car. Some drivers are on their third day in a row here or in their second or third season so his performance as a newcomer to the car and the circuit stands up well against the competition."

Christodoulou's test came on the third day of three for the World Series by Renault cars. The Formula Renault UK Championship was represented at the test by former drivers Dean Smith, Riki Christodoulou, Adriano Buzaid, Jesse Krohn, Sten Pentus and Rodolfo Gonzalez. Meanwhile, Britons James Walker, Oliver Turvey, Greg Mansell and Max Chilton all took part.

-credit: renaultsport.co.uk