ADAM CHRISTODOULOU KEEPS WINNING HABIT AT ROCKINGHAM Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) increased his championship lead with a straightforward victory in round three of the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship at Rockingham ...
ADAM CHRISTODOULOU KEEPS WINNING HABIT AT ROCKINGHAM
Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) increased his championship lead with a straightforward victory in round three of the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship at Rockingham International circuit on Saturday, 12th April. The CR Scuderia Formula Renault driver led home team-mate Ryuji Yamamoto (Milton Keynes) and Manor Competition's Alexander Sims (Peterborough) at the Northamptonshire venue.
Christodoulou had secured Michelin pole position by 0.228s ahead of Fortec Motorsport's Adriano Buzaid (Oxford), a relatively large margin in the hugely competitive single-seater series. Making a good start from pole, the 18-year-old set the NGK Fastest Lap to complete his second hat-trick of landmarks in as many races. His best lap of 1min 16.464s (91.33mph) is a new lap record, beating 2007 vice-champion Dean Smith's time by 0.169s, Christodoulou's second lap record in two races.
The start of the race saw Buzaid lose out at Deene hairpin to drop to fourth as Yamamoto and Sims climbed from second and sixth on the grid respectively. Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton) moved from ninth to sixth as the best Graduate Cup driver as Fortec's Oli Webb (Knutsford), who had been the best Graduate qualifier in eighth, dropped back one place.
In midfield, Eurotek Motorsport's Jordan Oakes (Hopton) damaged his front wing as the concertina effect occurred on the run to Yentwood, upsetting his handling for the remainder of the 16-lap race. Manor's Henry Surtees (Lingfield) passed CR Scuderia's Sten Pentus (Bardon) on lap two as they sped through the uniquely banked Turn One, while Stoneman also gained a place by passing Manor's Kris Loane (Kesh) for fifth.
As Christodoulou extended his lead steadily, his team-mate Scott Jenkins (Bristol) was making good progress. Having started 14th, he passed Fortec's James Calado (Cropthorne) and Pentus in successive laps to rise to 11th. Apotex Scorpio Motorsport's Kieren Clark continued to pressure 15th-placed Oakes. Before he could make headway, however, his team-mate Josh Scott (Loughborough) overtook Clark on lap five.
Two laps later, Webb got a run on Apotex Scorpio's Sho Hanawa (Watford) exiting the final chicane allowing him to draft past through Turn One. Lap nine then saw Josh Scott miss a gear at Tarzan Hairpin causing him to run into the gravel trap as he attempted to pass Oakes, Clark taking advantage of the incident to opportunistically claim 15th.
The race then stabilised for a spell, although Yamamoto was edging slightly closer to Christodoulou as Buzaid did the same with Sims. The final change for position occurred on the penultimate lap as Manor's Tom Armour (Billericay), who has switched from Mark Burdett Motorsport with which he contested the first round, passed Oakes for 16th at Deene Hairpin. Oakes' disappointing afternoon was capped when he retired on the final lap.
Christodoulou's winning margin was 1.714s ahead of Yamamoto with Sims a further 2.191s back. The race marks the first time since rounds three and four of the 2006 Championship at Oulton Park that Fortec Motorsport has failed to place a driver in the top three, although 2007 champion Duncan Tappy won round 16 at Brands Hatch last year before being excluded for technical non-compliance.
Commenting on his victory, Adam Christodoulou said: "It's great to build my lead and for the team to get a one-two. I managed to get a gap over Ryuji in the first couple of laps and although I had a slight 'moment' when I ran wide, I managed to keep a consistent pace in the second half of the race."
Second-placed Ryuji Yamamoto, celebrating his maiden Formula Renault UK podium, said: "I'm very happy with the race, it feels very good to be on the podium. My thanks to the team for making my car very easy to drive. I had a good start to get to second place but Adam was too far in front to go for the win."
Third-placed Alexander Sims said: "The start was always going to be crucial for me to make up places and I managed to climb three places straight away. It was fairly quiet after that and although Kris did start to catch me late on I had it under control. Third isn't exactly where we want to be but it's an improvement on Brands Hatch so we're going the right way."
Round four of the Formula Renault UK Championship takes place on Sunday, 13th April. Scheduled to start at 14.05, the race is due to be shown live on ITV4.