The 2004 LG Super Racing Weekend season is now well underway, and by the time the month of May draws to a close, we will have reached the half-way point. With a race every two weeks from Valencia through to Brno, it is a busy time for everyone ...
The 2004 LG Super Racing Weekend season is now well underway, and by the time the month of May draws to a close, we will have reached the half-way point. With a race every two weeks from Valencia through to Brno, it is a busy time for everyone concerned.
For the third round, the multi-platform series will be returning to France, and the circuit of Magny-Cours. A regular event on the LG Super Racing Weekend calendar, the Nevers Magny-Cours circuit has given us some fascinating battles over the years, and undoubtedly, 2004 will be no different. The circuit, 4.411 km long, underwent major changes to the track layout before the 2003 visit, reworking the final section of the circuit, giving a new corner with overtaking opportunities.
After two fascinating and suspense-filled races in Valencia, the Formula Renault V6 Eurocup drivers will also be heading for France. Last year, the race saw two wins to Jaime Melo of Brazil. After the four races run so far in 2004, there have been four different winners : Andrea Belicchi, Ryan Sharp, Damien Pasini and Robbie Kerr. Through his consistency, however, British driver Ryan Sharp has built up a significant lead in the drivers' classification, and is lying 44 points ahead of second-placed Belicchi.
The weekend's action will also include the Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup, with two races on the Saturday, and the European Alfa Challenge, which races on Saturday and Sunday with a busy field of Alfa 147 GTA cars.
MAGNY-COURS - ACCORDING TO STEPHANE DAOUDI
Stephane Daoudi 32-year old Stephane Daoudi has been a regular in the FIA GT Championship over the past three years, mainly competing in the N-GT category, with a number of points finishes to his credit. This year, he is driving for JMB, alongside gentlemen drivers, Antoine Gosse , Andrea Garbagnati and Peter Kutemann. He has had great success at Magny Cours in the past, winning there in Formula Renault in 1994, and then three times in the FFSA French GT Championship, including a rain-soaked event in 2001, when he won the race overall in an N-GT Porsche ahead of all the GT-class cars.
"First and foremost, I think Magny-Cours is a circuit that is more technical than it might initially appear. It is very important to set up the chassis and the aerodynamics correctly, as the Estoril corner is vital for the long straight. It is easy to brake too late for Adelaide, but it can allow overtaking. Then you get to the part I prefer, with the first fast chicane, leading into the 180 corner. Normally you see a number of different trajectories into this corner. Then the fast Nurburgring chicane, where you can gain some time. The new hairpin that replaces the Chateau d'Eau will certainly permit more overtaking. Then you get into the new section, where you can overtake under braking in the downhill section, before going through the little chicane which leads into the pit straight. It's a circuit which has a good rhythm, and I think we will see some good fights. The surface is very smooth, and allows most teams to find the right set-up quickly. The 575 M Maranello cars will certainly be on the pace, as I find the car extremely efficient in the fast corners ! And then ... it often rains at Magny-Cours... "
Circuit length : 4.410 km
Location : 20km south of Nevers
Directions : From Nevers, take the Route Nationale N7 for Moulins; the track is on the left after 20 km.
Renault Sport Valencia provided two spectacular races, and two different winners. But Ryan Sharp (Jenzer Motorsport) is still leading in the general classification. The Scottish driver did a tremendous job in Valencia, leading 46 out of the 50 laps, both raced combined. But that total gave him no wins ! In the Grand Race, Sharp was bothered by his tyres in the final laps. After a perfect race, French driver, Damien Pasini (Victory Eng.SpA) succeeded first in catching Campanico (Cram Competition) and two laps before the end, overtook Sharp. After so many problems in Monza, Pasini finally benefited from the team's hard work. In the Super Sprint, Kerr (Victory Eng. SpA), was 11th on the grid-- and first on the podium. He took the inside line in the last corner, overtaking Sharp. A fantastic manoeuvre, and the second win of the week for the Italian team Victory Eng. SpA.
JANI OPTIMISTIC FOR SEASON
Neel Jani (DAMS) has started the season rather slowly. Not on the track, but in the general classification. A score of ten points from four races is not enough for this talented and experienced drvier. "I am the driver to beat," he said in Valencia. "But If I remember rightly, Lopez had some problems at the beginning of the season. I have to be at the front in Magny-Cours".
FOUR DIFFERENT WINNERS
Belicchi (AFC Motorsport), Sharp (Jenzer Motorsport), Pasini (Victory Eng. SpA) and Kerr (Victory Eng. SpA) have already won this year. Sharp is leading the championship with 100 points. He has taken advantage of his extreme regularity, scoring four podium finishes from four races. But this season is proving to be extremely close, with a heated battle between the British representatives and the Italian drivers: Sharp, Bell (David Price Racing), Kerr for Great Britain and Belicchi and Mondini (EuroInternational) for Italy. But with Pasini now fighting at front, French honour is also safe.