UK: Series Thruxton race one report

ONE-TWO FOR CHRISTODOULOU COUSINS AT THRUXTON Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) took his fourth victory of the season in round seven of the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship on Sunday, 18th May. The Championship leader led home...

ONE-TWO FOR CHRISTODOULOU COUSINS AT THRUXTON

Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) took his fourth victory of the season in round seven of the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship on Sunday, 18th May. The Championship leader led home older cousin Riki Christodoulou (Sutton Coldfield) at Hampshire's Thruxton circuit, with James Calado (Cropthorne) scoring the first podium of his car racing career in third.

The single-seater Formula Renault UK cars are the quickest on the British Touring Car Championship package with average speeds of 120mph around the 2.36-mile circuit. Top speeds approach 150mph as the best UK and overseas drivers begin their careers as they look to emulate former Formula Renault UK champions Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen.

Having qualified on Michelin pole position, Adam Christodoulou made a clean start to lead into the first corner, Allard. Fortec Motorsport's Calado had a poor getaway and dropped to fourth behind local favourite Dean Stoneman (Southampton) before regaining third later in the lap behind team-mate Riki Christodoulou.

The race for fifth saw Brazilian Adriano Buzaid (Oxford) passed by CR Scuderia Formula Renault's Ryuji Yamamoto (Milton Keynes), the Japanese dipping his wheels on to the dirt at the high-speed Church bend. The racing behind allowed the Christodoulou cousins to open a one-second lead over the field by the end of lap two.

Manor Competition's Alexander Sims (Peterborough) gained two places on the first lap and soon passed Eurotek Motorsport's Jordan Oakes (Hopton) for seventh. The move was the start of a race-long battle with Oakes having the faster car but, although he was able to pass, Sims fought back to hold the place until the chequered flag.

Lap four saw Buzaid pass Yamamoto through the fast Village corner, while Calado set the fastest lap to that point to close the gap slightly on the lead duo. The following lap saw Yamamoto and Buzaid swap places again, while Stoneman set the NGK fastest lap of 1min 10.683s (199.99mph) to keep the pressure on Calado.

Incredibly, lap seven saw Buzaid pass Yamamoto once again as the two 19-year-olds thrilled the crowds at Thruxton. Further down the order, Apotex Scorpio Motorsport's Josh Scott (Loughborough) had made great progress from 14th on the grid and overtook Manor's Kris Loane (Kesh) on lap eight to move into the top 10.

The second half of the race saw Adam continue to lead Riki Christodoulou by just under one second, with neither driver able to gain a significant advantage through the high-speed sections or slow chicanes. Stoneman had caught Calado and applied real pressure, which the Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver did well to repel before pulling away in the latter stages.

Worswick Engineering's Rossi (Blackburn) was leading a cluster of cars in ninth place and was chased down by Scott on lap nine. After holding him off for two laps, the Australian found a way past on lap 12 as Rossi's pace dropped. The Formula Renault BARC Championship race-winner then came under pressure from Scott Jenkins (Bristol) before spinning into retirement at the Complex as he defended on the final lap.

Manor's Henry Surtees (Lingfield) took advantage of the hesitation caused by Rossi's spin to catch Fortec's Oli Webb (Knutsford) on the last lap and pass him for 12th place. In the closing laps, Yamamoto caught fourth-placed Stoneman but was unable to attempt a pass as he struggled to turn the car into corners in the turbulent air.

By the end of the 16 laps, Adam Christodoulou had managed to open a one-second gap to his cousin before recording a winning margin of 0.761s as he eased over the line. Calado came in third ahead of round six winner Stoneman who held off Yamamoto.

Commenting on his race win, Adam Christodoulou said: "I actually struggled at the start to see the lights with the way the sun was, but I was able to defend through the Complex even though me and Riki were inches apart. It felt like a really long race and very hard work so I'm just glad to see the chequered flag. They key is to try to stay relaxed and keep a smooth rhythm and I managed to do that today."

Second-placed Riki Christodoulou said: "Through the Complex I caught Adam because I had an awesome start and thought I might be able to get by him. It was a bit frustrating to be so close but unable to attempt an overtaking move but our lap times were very similar. Second is a good result though, it's nice to be back on the podium and hopefully I can go one better this afternoon."

Commenting on his first podium of the season, James Calado said: "I've made big improvements here since the test and even over this weekend, which is always important. It's a shame about my start because the speed was there to challenge Adam and Riki but I had to defend from Dean early on. By the time I got away from him there was too much of a gap to close but I'm happy with this result."

-credit: renaultsport.co.uk

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen , Lewis Hamilton , Henry Surtees , Alexander Sims , Adriano Buzaid , Riki Christodoulou , Adam Christodoulou , Dean Stoneman , James Calado