The 2008 Formula Renault season roars into life this weekend at Brands Hatch, and after months of preparation the CRS Formula Renault team is raring to go. CRS' single seater campaign is a very important part of its full race programme. The team...
The 2008 Formula Renault season roars into life this weekend at Brands Hatch, and after months of preparation the CRS Formula Renault team is raring to go.
CRS' single seater campaign is a very important part of its full race programme. The team has made no secret of the fact that this is an area on which it wishes to expand in the future in order to create a ladder programme for young drivers in single seater categories. The Formula Renault UK Championship is one of the best proving grounds for young drivers and launched the careers of current FIA Formula One World Champion, Kimi Raikkonen, and McLaren team-mates, Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen. The series also benefits from supporting the ever-popular British Touring Car Championship which brings in big crowds of spectators on race day.
The four CRS Formula Renault drivers have all worked hard over the winter and are looking forward to getting stuck into the new season.
"So far this year everything has gone brilliantly. All four of us drivers have been on the pace, if not setting the pace at most tracks, and I've been in the top four at each of the official tests. I'm feeling very positive in myself and the team has gone from strength to strength. If you think back to this time last year, Fortec had the edge on us, but so far this year the other teams have been playing catch up. I can't wait for the first race of the season at Brands Hatch. The season started there last year and I took a third and second place in those races so I'm aiming to do the same again this year, but maybe one step higher. Even though there are only four corners at Brands it is definitely one of the hardest circuits to get your head around and two-tenths can be the difference between pole position and tenth. The testing there has been positive though as I managed fourth fastest on old tyres and we know the new ones there are definitely an advantage. I think my main competition will come from my cousin Riki, Sims, Buzaid, Loane and Yamamoto, and I think Scott and Sten will start to become a threat as we go through the season."
"Pre-season testing has gone fantastically well for me; I've learnt so much in such a short period of time. The level of the driving standard is so high this year and it seems almost impossible to be as fast as most, one of them being my team-mate Adam. I'm very happy with the team and their dedication to get me to go faster. I'm looking forward to the first race. It should be a great one but it is going to be tough because Brands Hatch, although it only has four corners, is a very technical circuit and it's very difficult to overtake. It's very important to qualify well, and I will be doing my best to do just that."
"Pre-season testing has gone very well for me in many senses; I have got to know my race car better than ever before and I am feeling a lot more confident, having made huge progress in my own development. The testing has also given me enough time to get to know the team and to feel comfortable there. There have been test days that have gone really well from the beginning until the end, but also days with errors or mistakes that have cost me a whole day of running. All of that has made me even stronger, more confident and of course much faster. I enjoy racing at most of the UK tracks but Brands Hatch is definitely one of my favourites. Despite the fact that it is remarkably short it is very technical and demands a lot from the driver. When I drive at Brands I enjoy every curve and I am able to improve with each lap. I am more than ready for the new season and I have every reason to believe it will be a successful one."
"I had a good season last year learning the circuits and it is good to be back racing in a British Championship with CRS. We have had a good run in testing. I have been working hard, getting to know the team and the car, and I am now looking forward to the season ahead."
CRS Team Principal, Chris Niarchos:
"I believe we have the strongest complete driver line-up in the pitlane. All of our initial testing has been extremely successful and certainly the two most experienced drivers have the ability to win the Championship and the novices will be right up there too."
CRS Team Director, Andrew Kirkaldy:
"We seem to have had a very strong pre-season test programme. It has been good to have Paul (Jackson) and Russell (Dixon) working together and we're very happy with the new drivers. I think we are in a strong position to challenge for the Championship as well as the Graduate Cup."
The on-track action starts on Saturday 29 March with qualifying sessions at 0925hrs and 1440hrs. The first two Formula Renault races of the 2008 season will be held on Sunday 30 March and 1000hrs and 1540hrs.