UK: Round two Brands Hatch race report

Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) dominated from pole position to win round two of the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship on Sunday, 30th March. The CR Scuderia Formula Renault driver, Graduate Cup champion in 2007, followed his...

Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) dominated from pole position to win round two of the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship on Sunday, 30th March. The CR Scuderia Formula Renault driver, Graduate Cup champion in 2007, followed his cousin Riki Christodoulou's round one win with Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton) and Fortec Motorsport's Adriano Buzaid (Oxford) each clinching their first podium finish of the season.

Following the action in a thrilling first round held in damp conditions earlier in the day, the tight 1.20-mile Brands Hatch Indy circuit lived up to its reputation as a circuit where overtaking is difficult, especially in single-seater cars. On a dry track the start would prove crucial and Adam Christodoulou got away well while fellow front-row starter Oli Webb (Knutsford), who qualified brilliantly on his first race weekend in the FR2.0 car, stalled on the grid before recovering to finish ninth.

Stoneman moved from the second row to take second position behind Christodoulou, while Buzaid climbed to third with a bold move around the outside at Druids Hairpin. CR Scuderia's Ryuji Yamamoto (Milton Keynes) and Fortec's Riki Christodoulou (Sutton Coldfield) each gained two places on the first tour to lie sixth and eighth respectively, as did Sten Pentus (Bardon) and James Calado (Cropthorne) in 10th and 13th.

Worswick Engineering's Rossi (Blackburn) gained a place on lap four by passing Manor Competition's Kris Loane (Kesh), only to undo his good work later in the lap by spinning at Clearways. With the 18-year-old's car in the gravel trap but close to the circuit, the Safety Car was deployed to enable recovery, extending the race distance to 27 laps.

Adam Christodoulou handled the restart perfectly to break clear of Stoneman, while Riki Christodoulou came closest to gaining a place but Apotex Scorpio Motorsport's Josh Scott (Loughborough) defended well into Paddock Hill Bend. Manor's Alexander Sims (Peterborough) was challenging for the fourth place of Eurotek Motorsport's Jordan Oakes (Hopton), their tussle allowing Yamamoto to close the gap to Sims.

Lap 12 saw Adam Christodoulou set the fastest lap of the race and a new lap record of 44.409s (97.16mph) to extend his lead to more than one second. Three laps later, the battle for fourth place developed with Sims passing Oakes at Clearways and Yamamoto opportunistically passing Oakes at Druids Hairpin for fifth.

On lap 17, Riki Christodoulou finally found a way past Scott, drawing alongside the Australian on the run to Paddock Hill Bend and completing the pass around the outside. Further down the order, Loane passed James Calado for 13th place.

As the race entered its final stages Buzaid began to pressurise Stoneman, vice-champion in the 2007 Formula Renault BARC Championship. Although only in his second race in the Formula Renault UK Championship, Stoneman held off the Brazilian's challenge comfortably to claim a fantastic podium finish.

With five laps remaining, Oli Webb began to swarm all over the back of Josh Scott's car but the Australian was just able to hang on to eighth place. Riki Christodoulou was applying similar pressure to Oakes' sixth position but was equally unable to make the pass.

While mini-tussles emerged behind, Adam Christodoulou continued to extend his lead to win by 3.304s from Stoneman with Buzaid finishing a further nine-tenths of a second back in third place. Adam Christodoulou now leads the championship by 11 points from his cousin Riki with Josh Scott the leading Graduate Cup driver in third place overall.

Commenting on the race, Adam Christodoulou said: "With overtaking so difficult the start was the most important part of the race for me and I was happy to lead the first lap. The Safety Car took away the early lead I'd built but I was soon able to regain that. As in round one it was a lonely race for me but I was leading so I didn't mind at all this time!"

Second-placed Dean Stoneman said: "My performance in qualifying really helped and the car felt great throughout the race. My tyres started to overheat slightly so I backed off a little to let them recover and Adriano caught me up but I was never worried he was going to overtake me. To get on the podium at the first meeting is great so I'm happy with the way things ended up."

Third-placed Adriano Buzaid said: "I dropped back to sixth off the start but as everyone went to the inside at the hairpin I managed to go around the outside to get third place. I'm in my second season now and learned a lot last year so I'm happy to start with a podium and look forward to doing even better at Rockingham."

Rounds three and four of the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship take place at Rockingham Motor Speedway on 12th/13th April. Prior to that there is official testing at Oulton Park Island circuit on Tuesday, 1st April and Thruxton circuit on Monday, 7th April.


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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Sten Pentus , Alexander Sims , Adriano Buzaid , Riki Christodoulou , Adam Christodoulou , Dean Stoneman , James Calado