STONEMAN ROMPS TO FIRST SERIES WIN AT DONINGTON Dean Stoneman (Southampton) scorched to a maiden Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship win with a clinical performance in round six at Donington Park on Sunday, 4th May. The 17-year-old ...
STONEMAN ROMPS TO FIRST SERIES WIN AT DONINGTON
Dean Stoneman (Southampton) scorched to a maiden Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship win with a clinical performance in round six at Donington Park on Sunday, 4th May. The 17-year-old Alpine Motorsport driver started from the front row and passed pole-sitter Adriano Buzaid (Oxford) on lap three to clinch a fantastic victory ahead of Buzaid and Manor Competition's Alexander Sims (Peterborough).
Running as a single-car entry and therefore compromised by a lack of team-mates' data to share, victory for the 2007 Formula Renault BARC vice-champion is a notable achievement. He set the fastest time in Thursday's official free practise and made up for a disappointing 16th place in round five earlier in the day. He now leads the Graduate Cup standings ahead of Fortec's Oli Webb (Knutsford) who suffered a left-front puncture during the race.
The decisive move came after two laps of pressure that Fortec Motorsport's Brazilian driver had done well to fend off. Picking up the slipstream down the start/finish straight, Stoneman went to the outside at Redgate and out-braked Buzaid in slippery conditions as light drizzle fell on the circuit.
Sims had a great opening lap climbing to fourth from sixth on the grid before passing team-mate Kris Loane (Kesh) on lap two to take third. CR Scuderia Formula Renault's Ryuji Yamamoto (Milton Keynes) had a contrasting opening from third on the grid, falling behind team-mate and championship leader Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) in eighth by lap four.
Eurotek Motorsport's Jordan Oakes (Hopton) gained the most in the early stages, taking advantage of a spin by CR Scuderia's Scott Jenkins (Bristol) to rise from 14th on the grid to eighth before climbing a further three places on lap two to be fifth ahead of Fortec's Riki Christodoulou (Sutton Coldfield).
Jenkins began his recovery drive by passing Apotex Scorpio Motorsport duo Kieren Clark (Royston) and Tom Mun (Worcester Park) on lap four. The 16-year-old then ran wheel-to-wheel with Mark Burdett Motorsport's 17-year-old debutant Fredrik Blomstedt (Skegness) through Craner Curves, the Swede holding on to 17th place with determined driving.
From lap six, third-placed Sims began to reel off a succession of new fastest laps to gain ground on Buzaid in second place, whose deficit to Stoneman was hovering around the one-second mark. Lap eight saw Fortec's James Calado (Cropthorne) drop out of eighth place as he served a drive through penalty for a false start putting Yamamoto ninth and Worswick Engineering's Rossi (Blackburn) into the top 10.
Two laps later, Jenkins continued his excellent effort with a sweeping passing move at Redgate on Mark Burdett's Thomas Hylkema (Skegness) having dispatched Blomstedt on the previous lap. Sims set the NGK Fastest Lap on lap 10 at 1min 06.680s (105.67mph), with Jenkins' best just 0.004s slower than Sims.
Oakes' superb effort was compromised on lap 13 by a misfire as he exited Coppice onto the back straight. A helpless Riki Christodoulou clipped the back of Oakes as he tried to pass, allowing Adam Christodoulou to gain two places to finish fifth ahead of his cousin Riki and Manor's Henry Surtees (Lingfield), who drove a steady race to a season's-best seventh place having started 12th.
On the penultimate lap, the effort Stoneman was still exerting showed as his car twitched under braking for Goddards but he kept his cool superbly to hold off Buzaid by 0.590s. Commenting after the race, Stoneman said: "After a poor result in round five this is just fantastic. The first six or seven laps were tricky because of the slippery track conditions but I was still able to go side-by-side with Buzaid through the Craner Curves before I got past him. Towards the end of the race he did start to gain on me because I was being a bit over cautious through the last chicane."
Second-placed Buzaid said: "With the light rain before the race it was hard to know what to do with the set-up and Dean was able to be quicker than me at the start. I was also a bit nervous with my braking points because it's sometimes difficult to lead. It's been a strong weekend though and I'm up to second in the championship so I can challenge from there."
Third-placed Sims said: "Unfortunately I made mistakes in qualifying, which meant I only started sixth on the grid. I got an OK start but the track conditions for the first few laps didn't help and I could only manage third. I did try to push later on and close the gap on Buzaid but it was just too little too late. This weekend didn't delivery quite what I wanted but we can start again at Thruxton and I'm confident I can get a good result there."
Rounds seven and eight of the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship take place on 17th/18th May at Thruxton circuit.