BUZAID HITS THE FRONT AT WINDSWEPT SNETTERTON Fortec Motorsport's Adriano Buzaid (Oxford) set the fastest time during official Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship pre-season testing at Snetterton circuit on 11th/12th March. The ...
BUZAID HITS THE FRONT AT WINDSWEPT SNETTERTON
Fortec Motorsport's Adriano Buzaid (Oxford) set the fastest time during official Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship pre-season testing at Snetterton circuit on 11th/12th March. The Brazilian, preparing for his second season in the championship after switching to the reigning champion team, posted a time of 1min 04.851s (108.35mph) on Wednesday afternoon.
The second day was split into four sessions to allow teams to test using the 'S308' tyre -- the type that is used during the Thruxton race meeting to cope with the high-speed nature of that circuit. The wider tyre that can absorb higher loads was also expected to lead to faster lap times at Snetterton. When using the S308 tyre, Buzaid went quicker than with the FR2.0 tyre in slightly more favourable conditions with a time of 1min 04.580s (108.81mph).
Gusting winds made conditions tricky on day one, but the drivers were met by even fiercer winds on Wednesday morning. This caused unpredictability on a lap-by-lap basis, with all drivers noting the need for full concentration in case of a sudden gust at a braking zone or through the high-speed Coram Curve or Bombhole corner. Top speeds on the Revett Straight increased by up to 4mph with drivers on the rev limiter, although the wind did ease as the day progressed.
With Buzaid securing top spot in the Wednesday's afternoon sessions, it was his team-mate Riki Christodoulou (Sutton Coldfield) who set the fastest time in the first of the four sessions at 1min 05.995s (106.47mph) as drivers adjusted to conditions. CR Scuderia Formula Renault's Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield), cousin of Riki, was second ahead of Buzaid and Fortec's Oli Webb (Knutsford). Manor Competition's Kris Loane (Kesh) and the fourth Fortec driver James Calado (Cropthorne) completed the top six.
In session two, Adam Christodoulou moved to the top of the timesheet with a mark of 1min 05.025s (108.06mph), a mere 0.006s ahead of Calado who was using the S308 tyre. Riki Christodoulou was 0.290s behind his cousin on the FR2.0 tyre with Manor Competition's Alexander Sims (Peterborough) giving an indication of his pace in fourth overall. Sims and both Adam and Riki Christodoulou continued to fight for top spot throughout the afternoon.
Loane and Apotex Scorpio Motorsport's Kieren Clark (Royston) both suffered engine problems that brought a premature end to their involvement before lunchtime, while Mark Burdett Motorsport's Tom Armour (Billericay) missed the day completely through illness, which also hampered his performance the previous day.
Tuesday, 11th March was the proverbial day of two halves with a dry spell of four hours before lunch followed by a heavy downpour at lunchtime resulting in a constantly drying and changing circuit in the afternoon. After struggling for form at Brands Hatch a week ago, Fortec Motorsport's Riki Christodoulou was the quickest driver during the morning session with a time of 1min 05.581s (107.15mph). This placed him 0.207s ahead of team-mate Adriano Buzaid with a third Fortec driver Oli Webb in third.
CR Scuderia Formula Renault's Adam Christodoulou was fourth quickest ahead of Manor Competition's Kris Loane, while CR Scuderia's Scott Jenkins completed the top six drivers who were all covered by just 0.363s over the course of the 1.95-mile circuit.
The afternoon stint gave the Formula Renault UK drivers their first experience of wet conditions since the start of official testing. With the circuit drying throughout the session the lap times continued to tumble before a late rain shower prevented further improvement, making wet weather performance difficult to judge from the final timesheet. All drivers and teams reported satisfactory work in the wet conditions, with Fortec's James Calado (Cropthorne) emerging with the quickest lap time of 1min 06.744s (105.28mph).
Tuesday also saw five drivers from the Formula Renault BARC Championship take part in the test with Apotex Scorpio Motorsport's Ollie Hancock (Hook) setting the fastest time of 1min 08.216s (103.01mph). Boulevard Team Racing's Joshua Brooks (Spilsby) showed improved performance to lap within 0.259s of Hancock's best, ahead of Hillspeed duo Ahmad Al Harthy (Hathersage), Michael Lyons (Felsted) and Welch Motorsport's Kourosh Khani (Corby).
Commenting on the test, Adriano Buzaid said: "It's been a great two days for me and I was able to make good progress with the team, who did a great job as always. During the testing at Rockingham and Brands Hatch we had some problems but today has been problem-free and we have ended up with the fastest time on both types of tyres. I think CR Scuderia and Manor are both more evenly matched with Fortec this season so it should be a close competition."
The fourth and final official Formula Renault UK two-day test takes place on 18th/19th March at Silverstone circuit, with the final two hours of Tuesday's testing taking place on the full Grand Prix layout rather than the usual National layout. The opening two rounds of the Formula Renault UK Championship are at Brands Hatch Indy on 29th/30th March.