ADAM THE CHAMPION AS STONEMAN CAPS GRADUATE TITLE WITH WIN Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) is the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Champion after finishing fifth in the final race of the year at Brands Hatch Indy circuit on Sunday, 21st...
ADAM THE CHAMPION AS STONEMAN CAPS GRADUATE TITLE WITH WIN
Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) is the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Champion after finishing fifth in the final race of the year at Brands Hatch Indy circuit on Sunday, 21st September. The CR Scuderia Formula Renault driver needed only to finish the race to secure the title and completed the 24-lap race to seal the title. Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton) won the race, his third victory in a season that has seen him win the Graduate Cup for rookie drivers -- a title won by Christodoulou in 2007 -- and finish fourth overall.
Manor Competition's Alexander Sims (Peterborough) was only other driver with a chance of winning the title coming into round 20 but despite a hard-fought second place, from fifth on the grid, he finishes second overall. He does have the consolation of having scored more points in total than Christodoulou, only falling to second on the 'dropped score' rule that sees the best 18 results count towards the championship tally. Fortec Motorsport's Riki Christodoulou (Sutton Coldfield) completed the podium line-up.
In a race switched to the afternoon at the request of ITV in order to allow live broadcast on ITV4, Stoneman made the perfect start from Michelin pole position to lead into the first corner. Sims came storming through from fifth to pass fourth-placed Adam Christodoulou off the line, while Riki Christodoulou and team-mate Adriano Buzaid (Oxford) made contact on the run to Paddock Hill Bend. This allowed Sims to pass Buzaid, winner of round 19 earlier in the day, to be in third at the end of lap one.
Eurotek Motorsport's Jordan Oakes (Hopton) started ninth and moved to the inside at Graham Hill Bend to take eighth from Rossi (Blackburn). The Alpine Motorsport driver ran wide and fell to 15th by the end of the lap as the pack surged past. Apotex Scorpio Motorsport's Kieren Clark (Royston) and CR Scuderia's Ryuji Yamamoto (Milton Keynes) both gained two places to lie 10th and 11th respectively.
Fortec's James Calado (Cropthorne) soon came under pressure from Clark and had to defend into Druids hairpin on lap two. He was soon given respite when Yamamoto attempted to pass Clark at the hairpin but his move was too ambitious and resulted in Clark spinning down to last place and the Japanese driver eventually having to pit on lap 13 for a new front wing.
Lap five saw Clark's Scorpio team-mate Josh Scott (Loughborough) end his season on a low note, spinning off at McLaren after running side by side with Manor's Henry Surtees (Lingfield) through the Surtees corner named after Henry's world champion father John. Meanwhile, Yamamoto was starting to come under pressure from team-mate Scott Jenkins (Bristol) as he struggled for downforce with his damaged wing.
Sims set the fastest lap to that point on lap seven to close the gap on Riki Christodoulou. Stoneman then went faster on lap nine to claim the two bonus championship points for the NGK fastest lap of the race at 44.860s (96.18mph) and extend his lead to 1.5s. Sims continued to catch Christodoulou in the middle third of the race, with Buzaid and Adam Christodoulou being dropped back towards Oli Webb (Knutsford) who remained in a strong sixth place ahead of Kris Loane (Kesh) and Oakes.
Lap 17 saw Sims' first attempt at passing Riki Christodoulou, who was forced to defend the inside line at Druids. On the following lap, knowing that only victory would give him a chance of the title, Sims pulled off one of the moves of the season to drive round the outside of Christodoulou at Paddock Hill Bend, both drivers showing great courage and respect for each other through the daunting right-hander.
Although Sims immediately pulled away, Stoneman was by now some four seconds ahead and on course for a deserved victory. Adam Christodoulou, now just a few laps from being crowned champion, was being challenged by Webb until the Fortec driver slid through McLaren and dropped back again.
At the chequered flag, Stoneman celebrated a third win of the season, while Sims came home three seconds behind. Riki Christodoulou was third but it was his cousin Adam who had cause to celebrate as he secured the title. He joins a list of former champions including Kimi Raikkonen (2000), Lewis Hamilton (2003) and GP2 racer Mike Conway (2004) who have gone on to reach the highest levels of the sport.
Commenting after the race, new champion Adam Christodoulou said: "It would have been nice to end the season with a podium but I got a bit boxed on the outside at the first corner and it wasn't meant to be. It's been an awesome season, I've had seven wins and I have to thank CR Scuderia for giving me the best opportunity to be champion. I'm aiming to be in Formula Three next season and hopefully it will go as well as this year!"
Round 20 winner Dean Stoneman said: "That was one of the easiest races I've had for a while. At Brands Hatch it's all about getting a good start if you're on pole and that's what I did. I had no problems during the race, didn't make any mistakes and got the win. Finishing the year with three wins and winning the Graduate Cup is about the best I could have hoped for and hopefully I can follow Adam by winning the title next season."
Second-placed Alexander Sims said: "The only way to win the title was to win the race so I had to go for the move on Riki and we gave each other enough room. I think the start of the season where I had a couple of ninth places early on is what did the damage because I was playing catch up from then on. We did a good job to take it to the last round and finished with one more point before dropped scores so there are plenty of positives to take away from the season."
Third-placed Riki Christodoulou said: "Finishing the year on the podium is great but I needed to be more consistent throughout the year to have a chance at the title. I'm looking forward to pressing the reset button and starting a fresh season next year. I did have a touch with Adriano at the start of the race that meant I couldn't get traction out of the last corner, but it was still a good move by Alexander and I had to use my head and be the one to back out to avoid us hitting each other."
In the Entrants' championship, Fortec Motorsport retained its title by 106 points ahead of CR Scuderia Formula Renault, with Manor Competition in third.