KULMANEN BECOMES MP MOTORSPORT'S LATEST SIGNING FOR EUROCUP FR 2.0 Finnish teenager Kalle Kulmanen has been confirmed as MP Motorsport's third driver signing for the 2010 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship -- the team's potential four car...
KULMANEN BECOMES MP MOTORSPORT'S LATEST SIGNING FOR EUROCUP FR 2.0
Finnish teenager Kalle Kulmanen has been confirmed as MP Motorsport's third driver signing for the 2010 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship -- the team's potential four car line-up nearing completion with just over five weeks remaining until the start of the season.
The 18-year-old, from Tampere in Finland, has chosen to make the step-up to Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 this year with the front-running Dutch squad having spent the past two years racing in the Finnish Formula Renault 2.0 Championship.
Ending last year fourth overall in the driver standings, Kulmanen also made his competitive debut in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC and Formula Renault 2.0 Sweden. His maiden car racing experience came in 2008 with Formula Renault 2.0 outings in his homeland and neighbouring Estonia.
Prior to his car racing graduation, the teenager had a successful karting career. Highlights include taking fourth place in the 2006 European KF2 Karting Bridgestone Cup and a top six placing in the Finnish Formula ICA Karting Championship in 2006 and 2007. He was also sixth overall in the CIK-FIA KF3 Karting Viking Trophy in 2007.
Commenting on Kulmanen's signing, MP Motorsport's Sander Dorsman said: "We're delighted to have secured Kalle to be our third driver for the coming season. It's great news for us to have filled three of our cars with more than a month to go until the beginning of the new championship. We do have the potential to run four cars though, so we're still on the look-out for an additional driver.
"Kalle is obviously totally new to Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 so we're not expecting too much initially. He needs to get used to the new car first and then make steady improvements during the next few weeks as we head towards the first race of the season."
MP Motorsport makes competitive start to collective testing With the official Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 pre-season now in full swing, Netherlands-based MP Motorsport can happily reflect on two very positive test outings so far in Spain -- one at Valencia in late February and the most recent at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona this week.
On the first day of running in Barcelona on Tuesday, 9th March, Dani0x00ebl de Jong was seventh fastest with a best time of 1m46.027 seconds (158.1km/h) and team-mate Karl-Oscar Liiv was eighth thanks to a lap of 1m46.165 seconds (157.8km/h), just three 10ths of a second shy of the outright pace.
Dutchman De Jong got off to an impressive start on Wednesday, 10th March, with the third quickest time of 1m44.955 seconds (159.7km/h) and went on to improve to a lap of 1m44.758 seconds (160km/h) in the afternoon.
For Liiv, after posting the 13th fastest time of 1m45.894 seconds (158.3km/h) in session one, the Estonian went on to lap with a best of 1m44.518 seconds (160.3km/h) in the second outing to finish sixth overall.
Kulmanen, on his debut in the brand new FR 2.0, was a highly creditable 17th fastest on the opening day when running was severely restricted due to snowfall which prevented any track action until the afternoon. On Wednesday, the championship newcomer was 18th during the morning with a time of 1m47.294 seconds (156.2km/h) and improved in the afternoon to 1m46.965 seconds (156.7km/h).
Colleague team manager Dick van der Wilt said: "It was quite bizarre to begin with, snow in Barcelona for the first time in 10 years! We couldn't go on track until the afternoon on the first day but we were happy to be only three 10ths of a second off the pace on old tyres, we saved our new tyres for day two.
"The second day was good, Dani0x00ebl was second or third for the entire morning and although his new tyre run wasn't as we expected in the afternoon, eighth position was still good. Karl-Oscar was strong and although he slipped from third to sixth it was great for us to have two cars in such a competitive top 10. Kalle has a lot to learn of course but he's made a good start, we're happy."
At Valencia a fortnight ago, Liiv was sixth fastest on day one with a time of 1m33.6 seconds and then improved fractionally on day two with a best lap of 1m33.586 seconds. De Jong was 12th quickest on the first day with a lap of 1m34.1 seconds but made a marked step forward on day two with a best time of 1m32.914 seconds, placing him seventh fastest overall.
Next on the 2010 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 testing schedule is a visit to Magny-Cours in France for a two-day outing this coming Monday, 15th March, and Tuesday, 16th March.
-source: mp motorsport