Skerlong Wraps Formula Renault UK Winter Series in Eighth Mukilteo, Washington (November 13, 2006) -- Carl Skerlong headed to North Yorkshire and England's Croft Circuit for Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2006 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Winter...
Skerlong Wraps Formula Renault UK Winter Series in Eighth
Mukilteo, Washington (November 13, 2006) -- Carl Skerlong headed to North Yorkshire and England's Croft Circuit for Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2006 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Winter Championship on Saturday, the final two races in the Formula Renault 2.0-ltr mini-series.
The 18-year-old American racer, competing with Fortec Motorsport, followed up a pair of fine points scoring performances at Brands Hatch the week before, a fifth and a seventh respectively, with an unlucky DNF in Saturday's first race before bouncing back to take a well earned sixth place finish to cap his European open-wheel racing debut with eighth overall in the final driver standings.
The reigning Formula TR Pro Series 2000 Champion earmarked himself as a front-runner in testing at the 3.42km Croft circuit on Thursday and Friday, Skerlong comfortably in the top-five throughout. Carl looked like backing up his testing form in Saturday morning's 20-minute qualifying session. Setting the pace right from the off on the damp and slippery circuit, Carl found himself in P1 as a red-flag with just a handful of minutes remaining stopped the clock.
As the field raced back out at the green flag Carl got stuck in traffic and was subsequently blocked on his final flying run, his hopes of a front-row start quickly dashed as the lap times tumbled and he found himself dumped down to 13th on the grid for Round 3. His consistency paid some dividends though as his second fastest time qualified him back in the top-ten for Round 4 where he'd line up ninth for the second 18-lap charge.
Round 3 on Saturday morning proved to be an eventful affair for Carl as he wasted little time in sprinting back into the top-ten. Sitting ninth after the second lap, having passed his Fortec team-mate Riki Christodoulou, Carl had his sights set on gaining more ground only for disaster to strike on lap 4 as he was collected at the final hairpin and spun by AKA Lemac driver Jon Lancaster. While Carl managed to get going again the damage had been done, literally, with the Fortec pilot forced to retire several laps later at the first turn with a bent lower-front left wishbone.
Looking to put his earlier DNF firmly behind him Carl almost cost himself a decent finish at the start of Round 4 as he stalled on the line as the lights flicked from red to green. Demonstrating lightening reflexes the Washington-native managed to get going having lost just two spots sprinting to Turn 1, the whole field successfully clearing the corner despite the treacherously wet conditions following a lunchtime downpour. A brief safety car period followed but Skerlong was charging and eight laps in to the race he had successfully climbed to seventh with moves on Jordan Oakes and Riki Christodoulou in quick succession. Disposing of Austria's Martin Ragginger later in the race, Carl ran sixth through to the checkered flag to seal eighth overall in the driver standings, both wins on the day and the Winter Series title going to Franck Mailleux, the French veteran driving for Manor Motorsport.
"This has been a really great experience and I'm happy with the way everything turned out," Carl reflected following Saturday's races. "It was unfortunate what happened in Round 3 but we came back with a strong finish in Round 4 and to finish eighth in a series as competitive as this while adjusting to a new team and new circuits isn't a bad showing. I'm glad I came here to give it a go and I had a great time working with a team as professional and competitive as Fortec Motorsport!"