OULTON PARK DOUBLE KEEPS CHRISTODOULOU IN THE CLEAR Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) completed a superb weekend with victory in round 16 of the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship at Oulton Park on Sunday, 27th July. The CR ...
OULTON PARK DOUBLE KEEPS CHRISTODOULOU IN THE CLEAR
Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) completed a superb weekend with victory in round 16 of the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship at Oulton Park on Sunday, 27th July. The CR Scuderia Formula Renault driver led home his nearest challenger in the overall drivers' standings Alexander Sims (Peterborough) of Manor Competition, with Eurotek Motorsport's Jordan Oakes (Hopton) celebrating a maiden series podium in third.
Christodoulou now leads Sims by 38 points, a lead which becomes 55 points when dropped scores are taken into account as each driver must discard their two worst results of the season. Four races remain this season with a maximum 136 points available to any one driver.
In front of a record Oulton Park crowd of 30,000, Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton) lined up on pole position for the second time in three races and led Christodoulou into the first corner. Oakes got a great start from fourth to pass Sims with Fortec Motorsport duo James Calado (Cropthorne) and Adriano Buzaid (Oxford) fifth and sixth.
CR Scuderia's Scott Jenkins (Bristol) took the outside line down the Avenue and through Cascades, gaining three places from 10th on the grid to lie seventh. Fortec's Riki Christodoulou (Sutton Coldfield) found himself on the outside at Island hairpin but was hung out to dry as he fell to eighth from sixth on the grid.
Sims, needing a strong result to put pressure on Adam Christodoulou in the title race, wasted little time in re-passing Oakes for third with a sharp move down the inside at Old Hall corner on lap two. Stoneman was the quickest driver on the first flying lap of the race, but Adam Christodoulou responded with a better third lap to keep the 17-year-old in his sights.
In the event, an overtaking move wasn't necessary as Stoneman was issued a Drive Through Penalty for a false start. Earlier, Mark Burdett Motorsport's Fredrik Blomstedt (Skegness) suffered the same fate having been running in 11th place.
As has become customary, Apotex Scorpio Motorsport's Josh Scott (Loughborough) had a blistering first lap to make up for below par qualifying and was 12th at the end of lap one having started 17th. His team-mate Kieren Clark (Royston) was coming under pressure from Worswick Engineering's Rossi (Blackburn), who was looking for a top 10 finish at his home venue and tried a lunging move at the first corner before backing out.
CR Scuderia team-mates Ryuji Yamamoto (Milton Keynes) and Jesse Krohn (Sunningdale) came together at the hairpin on lap two, the incident eventually forcing both into retirement. As Jenkins closed on Buzaid in the race for sixth, Calado was catching Oakes by fractions of a second per lap while Scott was up to 10th by lap five.
The pressure from Jenkins on Buzaid allowed Riki Christodoulou to make it a three-way tussle on lap seven. By the end of the lap, the trio was racing for fifth place as Stoneman served his Drive Through and rejoined in ninth place. Adam Christodoulou inherited the lead ahead of Sims and Oakes in the final podium position.
On lap eight, Jenkins looked to the outside of Buzaid at Old Hall and as the pair scrapped over fifth, Riki Christodoulou looked to capitalise but ran wide himself at Cascades. The following lap saw Adam Christodoulou set the fastest lap to that point to stretch his lead to three seconds over Sims as Oakes came under ever more intense pressure from Calado.
The 10th lap of the scheduled 15 saw a potentially decisive moment in the championship race, Riki Christodoulou spinning at Old Hall and dropping from seventh to rejoin in 16th place. Although he went on to set the NGK fastest lap at 1min 19.789s (100.43mph) and score two bonus championship points, the 19-year-old now has work to do to get back on terms in the overall standings.
Calado continued to look quicker than Oakes, especially under braking at Old Hall and Island hairpin. However, Oakes, who won races in the Formula Renault BARC Championship, used his greater experience to defend the position from the round 13 winner. In midfield, Rossi's attempts to pass an equally stubborn Clark allowed Mark Burdett Motorsport's Thomas Hylkema and Manor's Tom Armour (Billericay) to close up in 14th and 15th places.
Lap 13 saw Calado's first major attempt at taking third place but he pulled out of a lunging move at the last moment. The manoeuvre did cost both drivers time and Buzaid and Jenkins took advantage to close the gap. On the following lap, Jenkins showed how it could be done with a brilliant, gutsy move around the outside of the Brazilian Buzaid at Old Hall, the 16-year-old once again showing nerveless overtaking skills in his debut season.
Oakes' reaction to the pressure from Calado was to put in two storming laps at the end of the race to ease to third place by a handful of car lengths at the chequered flag and a deserving podium after several good qualifying performances throughout the season. Relaxing in the closing stages, Adam Christodoulou took victory by 2.199s from Sims to reassert control of the series he has led since the opening weekend.
Commenting after the race, Adam Christodoulou said: "That was definitely a hard race all the way through, especially with the heat. It's a shame about Dean because I think he would have taken it to the end but he had to pit. I had a steady gap to Alexander and I just had to make sure I kept it there."
Second-placed Alexander Sims said: "Once again my start wasn't too clever and I think we may have had different gear ratios to the rest of the field that affected acceleration. I had to go for the move on Jordan at the beginning because I needed to be as close to Adam as possible. During the race my outright pace was good, we just need to work on the starts."
Third-placed Jordan Oakes said: "My start was awesome and I made up two places although I had to let Adam back through on the inside. I lost a place to Alexander early on but felt comfortable in third until near the end. James had that one big lunge but then I blitzed the last couple of laps so I'm very happy."
Rounds 17 and 18 of the Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship take place at Silverstone National circuit on 30th/31st August.