MANOR MAKES EARLY RUNNING IN FIRST FORMULA RENAULT TEST Official pre-season testing for the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship began on 26th/27th February with former champion team Manor Competition setting the early pace at...
MANOR MAKES EARLY RUNNING IN FIRST FORMULA RENAULT TEST
Official pre-season testing for the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship began on 26th/27th February with former champion team Manor Competition setting the early pace at Rockingham Motor Speedway. The Newark-based team's Alexander Sims (Peterborough) claimed the fastest time of the two-day test at 1min 15.112s (93.41mph average), a mere 0.006s ahead of team-mate Kris Loane (Kesh, Co Fermanagh).
Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) of CR Scuderia Formula Renault -- the team formerly known as AKA Cobra -- also lapped within one-tenth of a second of the leading time suggesting yet another season of fiercely competitive racing lies ahead.
Tuesday, 26th February saw cars from the sister Formula Renault BARC Championship join the Formula Renault UK cars on track, with a rain shower causing the day to begin with a wet track. Teenage cousins Adam Christodoulou and Riki Christodoulou (Sutton Coldfield) of Fortec Motorsport were first and second quickest in the morning session, Riki edging ahead to take top spot in the afternoon with a time of 1min 15.958s (92.37mph).
Eurotek Motorsport's Jordan Oakes (Hopton), CR Scuderia's Ryuji Yamamoto (Milton Keynes) and Apotex Scorpio Motorsport's Australian newcomer Joshua Scott (Loughborough) joined the Christodoulou cousins and Sims in the top six of the morning stint. Riki Christodoulou and Sims maintained their consistency throughout the day, with CR Scuderia's Sten Pentus (Faringdon) and Scott Jenkins (Bristol), Fortec's Adriano Buzaid (Oxford) and Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton) all improving to reach the top six within a quarter of a second of the benchmark time.
Falcon Motorsport's Andy Flynn (Fradley) was the leading Formula Renault BARC driver of the day with a time of 1min 20.075s (87.62mph) around the 1.95-mile Northamptonshire circuit. Taro Motorsport's Ash Davies (Conwy) was second-quickest ahead of Boulevard Team Racing's Joshua Brooks (Spilsby). Technical difficulties with the timing equipment, which affected the majority of cars on track at various stages of the day, resulted in some drivers including Formula Renault BARC race-winner Ollie Hancock (Hook) and Hillspeed's Michael Lyons (Felsted) ending with a false overall position.
On the second day, exclusively for drivers registered for the Formula Renault UK Championship, Adam Christodoulou made the most of fine weather and less windy conditions to lead the first three-hour session with a time of 1min 15.178s (93.33mph). Buzaid was second ahead of Manor's Henry Surtees (Lingfield), while Loane, Sims and Riki Christodoulou rounded out the top six.
The afternoon session saw a slight reduction in track action as the 2008 tyre control regulations, which permit each driver to use 32 sets of new 'slick' tyres during the course of the season, came into effect. Loane immediately set his fastest time on only his fifth lap at 1min 15.118s (93.40mph), a mark that remained unbeaten until the final minutes of the day.
Adam Christodoulou came close, while Adriano Buzaid and Henry Surtees both showed strong pace before technical issues curtailed their participation. Sims left his challenge until late in the day, completing just a handful of flying laps before edging out his team-mate with the overall best lap of the two days.
Commenting on the first of four pre-season two-day tests, Sims said: "I didn't do a lot differently in the final session, we just used all the information from the first day and a half and from the conclusions we drew we were able to find the best set-up in the end. It's very close with Kris at the top of the times, but I think Henry would have been up there as well without his problem and it's great to have two team-mates pushing me on. It's only the first test so nothing to get carried away with, but it's a good way to start."
The second two-day test takes place on 4th/5th March at Kent's Brands Hatch Indy circuit, which will host the opening two rounds of the Formula Renault UK Championship on 31st March/1st April.