STONEMAN STROLLS TO SNETTERTON VICTORY Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton) made light work of converting his first pole position in the Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship into a second victory of the season at ...
STONEMAN STROLLS TO SNETTERTON VICTORY
Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton) made light work of converting his first pole position in the Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship into a second victory of the season at Snetterton on Sunday, 13th July. A blistering start left his rivals trailing and he was never threatened as he led home round 13 winner James Calado (Cropthorne) of Fortec Motorsport and Manor Competition's round 10 winner Alexander Sims (Peterborough), both of whom made their second podium appearance of the weekend.
CR Scuderia Formula Renault's Championship leader Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) failed to make the podium for the first time in four events, but other than Sims, his main rivals struggled to take the opportunity to close the gap. Fortec Motorsport's Riki Christodoulou (Sutton Coldfield), eager to make a good start from third on the grid, stalled on the line and dropped to 18th place before working his way through to finish 11th, one place ahead of his team-mate Adriano Buzaid (Oxford).
Stoneman had no such problems getting away and easily led Calado into Riches for the first time as Sims passed Buzaid to lie third and fourth respectively. Further down the order, Apotex Scorpio Motorsport's Kieren Clark (Royston) overtook CR Scuderia's Ryuji Yamamoto (Milton Keynes) at the Esses, but as he tried to hold the inside line it allowed Manor's Henry Surtees (Lingfield) to pass both men.
Clark was then involved in a tussle with Mark Burdett Motorsport's Thomas Hylkema (Skegness), passing the Dutchman before suffering the same fate of running wide to allow both Hylkema and Worswick Engineering's Rossi (Blackburn) through to leave Clark 15th. At the head of the field, Stoneman's lead had already reached two seconds by the end of lap four.
The following lap saw Adam Christodoulou pass Buzaid for fourth place, while Sims set successive fastest laps to pile the pressure on Calado. Two laps later, Buzaid made an error as Manor's Kris Loane challenged for fifth, the Brazilian first running wide at Riches then spinning at Sear to leave him down in 12th place.
As the 18-lap race reached its midway point, Calado responded to Sims' pressure to post his personal best time to that point and take 0.4s out of Stoneman's 1.5s lead. Lap 10 saw CR Scuderia's Scott Jenkins (Bristol) pass Fortec's Oli Webb (Knutsford) for seventh. He would go on to take sixth from Eurotek Motorsport's Jordan Oakes (Hopton-on-Sea) on lap 15, the 16-year-old Jenkins once again showing great race craft as he worked his way up from 10th on the grid and move into 10th in the overall drivers' standings.
Australian racer Josh Scott (Loughborough) was enjoying his best period of the weekend after problems in qualifying, sweeping past Surtees at the Esses on lap 11 and then gaining another place as Webb fell back two spots on lap 12. But the Apotex Scorpio driver's hard work was undone with a spin at Riches as Webb hit back that dropped him to 18th place before he was forced to retire on lap 17.
With four laps to go, Sims was close enough to Calado to have a look up the inside at Riches before slotting back into third place, but Calado's more defensive line allowed Stoneman to pull away and also Adam Christodoulou to close up in fourth place. Riki Christodoulou had now reached team-mate Buzaid in 11th place, the pair running wheel-to-wheel at 140mph down the Revett Straight with the Brazilian maintaining the position, although only for a brief time.
On the penultimate lap, Manor's Kris Loane, who had a relatively quiet race in sixth and then fifth behind Adam Christodoulou, found a burst of speed to set the NGK fastest lap at 1min 05.345s (107.53mph) to secure two bonus championship points that had, until that point, been destined for his team-mate Sims.
The increased threat from Sims had forced Calado to concentrate on maintaining second rather than challenging Stoneman's lead and the result was a gap of over 1.5s at the start of the final lap with Sims less than 0.3s behind. The positions remained unchanged to the chequered flag, however, with Stoneman taking a second win of the season. Calado took a fourth podium of the year and Sims his seventh, ahead of Adam Christodoulou, Loane and Jenkins.
Commenting on the race, Dean Stoneman said: "I'm getting more and more confident as the season goes on and learning a lot more about the car. I made the best use of pole position and got a ballistic start. There were a few 'moments', especially at the Esses, but I calmed down and tried to ease away. I have to thank my team for all their hard work and hopefully I'll be back on the podium at Oulton Park."
Second-placed James Calado said: "It's been a cracking weekend, my best of the year without doubt. Dean just got too good a start and I couldn't even get alongside to challenge. I thought I'd have the speed later on but my tyres went off a bit giving me some oversteer so I focused on keeping Alexander behind me and scoring as many points as possible."
Third-placed Alexander Sims said: "I'm fairly pleased with the weekend overall because after qualifying seventh and fifth, to get one podium is some progress. Again it was a solid job by the team both back at the workshop and here at the track. We need to have a strong event at Oulton Park to keep the pressure on Adam and that's where our focus is now."