BUZAID WINS DRAMA-FILLED RACE AS SERIES LEADER FALTERS Adriano Buzaid (Oxford) took his third Silverstone victory of the season in round 18 of the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship on Sunday, 31st August. Fortec Motorsport's...
BUZAID WINS DRAMA-FILLED RACE AS SERIES LEADER FALTERS
Adriano Buzaid (Oxford) took his third Silverstone victory of the season in round 18 of the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship on Sunday, 31st August. Fortec Motorsport's Brazilian driver, who now has a total of four wins this season, added victory on the National circuit to his double triumph on the Grand Prix circuit at World Series by Renault. Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton) took second, while Manor Competition's Henry Surtees (Lingfield) was third having started 15th on the grid.
CR Scuderia Formula Renault's championship leader Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) retired on lap one after contact with pole-sitter Jordan Oakes (Hopton). Manor's Alexander Sims (Peterborough) came fourth to close the gap at the top of the drivers' standings to 34 points after dropped scores are taken into account, the equivalent of a race win plus fastest lap bonus.
Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton) has now won the Graduate Cup category, for young and inexperienced drivers, with two races to spare. He follows Adam Christodoulou as winner of the rookie competition.
A damp track greeted the drivers for the 18th round of the single-seater series and ever-changing track conditions would play a role in the ensuing 22-lap race. Eurotek Motorsport's Oakes made a clean start from Michelin pole position but Christodoulou was able to draw alongside on the run to Copse. Oakes ran onto the tarmac run-off area as Christodoulou took the inside line, but the pair clashed wheels as Oakes rejoined the circuit. While he continued, Christodoulou spun and was then unable to turn into Becketts due to damaged suspension.
Starting fourth on the grid, Sims spun as he took avoiding action exiting Copse, while CR Scuderia's Ryuji Yamamoto (Milton Keynes) surged from the fifth row to challenge the leaders. Stoneman led through Becketts but Oakes re-passed him at Brooklands before Buzaid took the lead with great traction out of Woodcote as Yamamoto followed in second.
Further contact in the midfield saw CR Scuderia's Jesse Krohn (Sunningdale) lose his front wing after hitting Fortec Motorsport's Riki Christodoulou (Sutton Coldfield), who suffered a broken rear wing. Both continued in the race, eventually finishing 12th and 14th respectively. Meanwhile, from 17th on the grid, Apotex Scorpio Motorsport's Josh Scott (Loughborough) reached ninth place by the end of lap one.
After a brief Safety Car spell, Stoneman immediately took third place from Oakes at Becketts, the pole-sitter then spinning at Brooklands as he tried to regain the place. Two laps later, Stoneman got a great run out of Becketts and passed Yamamoto at the end of the National Straight.
Krohn's lack of front downforce allowed Alpine Motorsport's Rossi (Blackburn) and Fortec's James Calado (Cropthorne) to pass. Lap eight saw Sims, recovering from almost last on the road, reach 11th place by passing Fortec's Oli Webb (Knutsford) as they crossed the start/finish line. One lap later, he overtook CR Scuderia's Scott Jenkins (Bristol).
At the head of the field, Stoneman set the fastest lap to that point on lap 10 to close the gap on Buzaid, only to hand back the time gained and more on the following tour. Rossi and Calado continued to reel in Yamamoto, while Sims was hunting Apotex Scorpio's Kieren Clark (Royston), eventually passing him on lap 14.
The same lap saw Calado retire at Luffield after running wide attempting a pass, leaving Rossi in the clear to chase Yamamoto. The Safety Car was needed for a second period, eliminating Buzaid's 5.5s lead and extending the race to 25 laps. The Brazilian immediately set the NGK fastest lap on the restart at 1min 04.040s (92.13mph) to secure the two bonus points.
Buzaid, Stoneman and Yamamoto had appeared secure in the podium positions but with the field having been bunched up behind the Safety Car, Rossi soon took third place on the run to Brooklands. Fifth-placed Josh Scott then tried to pass the Japanese driver at the same corner on lap 23, but Yamamoto protected the inside line. Just ahead, Rossi slid wide at Brooklands, undoing the hard work completed in setting up what would have been a maiden category podium.
Yamamoto once again held the final podium place but, remarkably, suffered an identical fate to Rossi on the very next lap as he out-braked himself and ran into the Brooklands gravel trap. Incredibly, having followed closely for the whole lap, Scott also misjudged his braking point to end his race in the gravel, while Yamamoto recovered to finish 11th.
Having started well out of contention, Henry Surtees now found himself occupying the final podium place and he made no mistake in maintaining the position despite intense pressure from team-mate Sims. Buzaid took the chequered flag almost two seconds ahead of Stoneman, with the Manor duo almost eight seconds adrift.
With a large number of retirements, Kieren Clark in fifth, Mark Burdett Motorsport's Thomas Hylkema (Skegness) in eighth and Apotex Scorpio's Sung Hak Mun (Worcester Park) in ninth all celebrated their best result of the season.
Commenting after the race, Adriano Buzaid said: "After the disappointment of the penalties in race one, I'm pleased I was able to come back strongly and win this race. When the Safety Car came out twice I thought I was destined not to win this weekend but I made good restarts to build the gap again each time. I had a few 'moments' all through the race but managed to keep calm and get to the finish."
Second-placed Dean Stoneman said: "I got into the lead on lap one but then Adriano got back past at the last corner. Two podiums in the weekend is great points and with Calado not finishing either race it's enough to win the Graduate Cup, which is fantastic as that was my aim at the start of the year."
Third-placed Henry Surtees said: "I usually manage to find a good set-up in the wet and often go forward in difficult conditions. I was helped by the Safety Car periods but made up places at pretty regular intervals. In the end I had Alexander right behind me but just tried to keep my concentration and it was enough to come home in front."
For the fourth season in succession, the title race goes to the 10th and final event at Brands Hatch Indy circuit in three weeks' time. Adam Christodoulou remains favourite to take the title, while Alexander Sims is equally determined to follow former champions Kimi Raikkonen (2000) and Lewis Hamilton (2003).