UK: Series Oulton Park race report

ADAM CHRISTO RETURNS TO WINNER'S CIRCLE AT OULTON PARK CR Scuderia Formula Renault's Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) celebrated his first win in six races to edge further ahead in the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship. The ...

ADAM CHRISTO RETURNS TO WINNER'S CIRCLE AT OULTON PARK

CR Scuderia Formula Renault's Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) celebrated his first win in six races to edge further ahead in the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship. The championship leader started second on the grid but took the lead at the first turn to win round 15 at Oulton Park on Sunday, 27th July. Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton) was second ahead of Manor Competition's Alexander Sims (Peterborough).

Christodoulou got the better of Fortec Motorsport's pole-sitter James Calado (Cropthorne) on the drag down to Old Hall corner and took the lead with a sweeping move round the outside. Calado dropped a further place to Stoneman, who had started fourth, while Sims fell back one position after starting third.

Further down the order Fortec Motorsport's Riki Christodoulou (Sutton Coldfield) ran wide out of Old Hall and bounced across the grass before spinning back onto the circuit and then into retirement against the barrier. The DNF drops him to third in the drivers' standings and 59 points behind his cousin overall.

At the end of lap one, Eurotek Motorsport's Jordan Oakes (Hopton) ran wide at Lodge to allow CR Scuderia's Scott Jenkins (Bristol) through into sixth. Manor's Kris Loane (Kesh) lost two places on the opening tour having qualified well in sixth, while Fortec's Adriano Buzaid (Oxford) was fifth. The best start came from local driver Oli Webb (Knutsford), the 17-year-old gaining five places on the opening lap to lie 11th.

News then came from Race Control that Calado had been issued with a Drive Through Penalty for a false start and when he served at the end of lap three it left him languishing in 16th. Meanwhile, Stoneman had closed the one-second gap to Adam Christodoulou and was putting pressure on the leader as they opened a gap to Sims in third.

Lap three saw Manor's Henry Surtees (Lingfield) pass team-mate Loane for eighth place, the Northern Irishman struggling with a damaged front wing. Lower down, CR Scuderia's Ryuji Yamamoto (Milton Keynes) took a defensive line against Apotex Scorpio Motorsport's Josh Scott (Loughborough) who had come from the back row of the grid to 15th.

Stoneman had his first look at a pass for the lead on lap five before tucking back in behind at Lodge. He also set the fastest lap to that point to be less than three-tenths of a second behind Christodoulou. Having made a pit stop that put him almost a lap down, CR Scuderia's Jesse Krohn (Sunningdale) showed he had the pace to have had a good race by beating Stoneman's time on the same lap.

Lap eight saw a slip from Stoneman as he locked a wheel at Lodge allowing Christodoulou the breathing space of a 1.5s lead. Just behind, Sims and Buzaid both set personal best lap times to close the gap on Stoneman. In midfield, Scott tapped the back of Mark Burdett Motorsport's Thomas Hylkema (Skegness) and then missed the chicane to fall behind Yamamoto to 13th.

With Webb moving clear in eighth, a train was forming in midfield behind Loane, with Worswick Engineering's local driver Rossi (Blackburn), Hylkema, Yamamoto, Scott and Calado all bunched together. Loane, however, was driving a superb race under difficult conditions due to the lack of front downforce and was able to maintain ninth place to the finish.

As the race entered its second half, Stoneman began to reel in the gap to Christodoulou, while Buzaid was also catching Sims. The third-placed Manor driver then responded with successive fastest laps, including a new lap record of 1min 19.826s (100.38mph) to end the Brazilian's challenge and put himself in with a chance of second.

Lap 12 saw Hylkema lock his brakes at Lodge and run wide, allowing those behind him in the midfield gap to gain a place, the Dutchman pulling off to retire on the start/finish straight. Australian Josh Scott then passed Yamamoto, now also with a loose front wing, and Rossi in successive laps to claim a place in the top 10, a great achievement after starting 19th.

In the final two laps, Sims began to eat into Stoneman's advantage in second place and began the 15th and final tour less than a second adrift. Although he was able to close further, Stoneman held on to take second behind Christodoulou with Sims picking up 25 points for third, plus two bonus points for the NGK fastest lap.

Adam Christodoulou now leads Sims by 34 points, which becomes 51 points when dropped scores are taken into account, with each driver discounting his two worst of the season.

Commenting after the race, Adam Christodoulou said: "I managed to get away well at the start and I was delighted to take the lead at the first corner. Last year we struggled with the car a bit at Oulton Park but it was spot on this time around. Dean pushed me hard early on but made a couple of mistakes and it was just a case of keeping it on the black stuff."

Second-placed Dean Stoneman said: "Going down through Lodge I out-braked myself a bit and then I dropped a wheel on the inside at the first corner later on. It wasn't much but enough to let Adam get away. The car felt good though and the team at Alpine did a great job. I'm starting from pole this afternoon and hope I can make the most of it."

Third-placed Alexander Sims said: "I had, at best, an average start and lost a place, which isn't something I usually do. After that I moved up when Calado had his penalty but I think I was quicker than him anyway. I managed to pull away from Buzaid but just ran out of time to catch Dean at the end. Third isn't a bad result, but I do need better if I'm going to catch Adam."

-credit: renaultsport.co.uk

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Henry Surtees , Alexander Sims , Adriano Buzaid , Riki Christodoulou , Adam Christodoulou , Dean Stoneman , James Calado , Jesse Krohn