RIKI TARGETS SNETTERTON WINS AFTER TROUBLED TEST Riki Christodoulou (Sutton Coldfield) is aiming to thrust himself into the Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship title race next weekend after setting the fastest time during an official...
RIKI TARGETS SNETTERTON WINS AFTER TROUBLED TEST
Riki Christodoulou (Sutton Coldfield) is aiming to thrust himself into the Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship title race next weekend after setting the fastest time during an official two-day test at Snetterton on 2nd/3rd July. The Norfolk venue hosts rounds 13 and 14 of the single-seater series on 12th/13th July, in addition to round 10, which was postponed at Croft due to bad weather.
Much of the test proved frustrating for Christodoulou as his Fortec Motorsport team had to change his engine on Thursday morning after difficulties on Wednesday. Maximising the potential of the car on Thursday afternoon saw the 19-year-old, who currently lies third in the drivers' standings, set a fastest lap of 1min 04.739s (108.54mph).
The final 45-minute session of more than 10 hours of testing saw the majority of drivers set their fastest lap times. Christodoulou's team-mate Adriano Buzaid (Oxford) was second quickest with a time just 0.054s slower. Manor Competition's Alexander Sims (Peterborough) was third with a time of 1min 04.866s (108.33mph), while Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton) was the leading Graduate Cup competitor and the only other driver to get below the 65-second barrier with a mark of 1min 04.918s (108.24mph).
Championship leader Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) was fifth ahead of his CR Scuderia Formula Renault team-mate Ryuji Yamamoto (Milton Keynes). Manor's Kris Loane (Kesh) edged out Fortec's James Calado (Cropthorne) by 0.003s in seventh, with CR Scuderia's new driver Jesse Krohn (Bardon) only another 0.015s back as the top nine drivers were covered by less than half a second.
Manor's Henry Surtees (Lingfield), Eurotek Motorsport's Jordan Oakes (Hopton) and CR Scuderia's Scott Jenkins (Bristol) all lapped within one second of Riki Christodoulou's time, raising the prospect of two fascinating qualifying sessions and three intensely competitive races at the forthcoming triple-header.
Wednesday's two sessions saw Dean Stoneman head the times in both stints, leading Manor Competition duo Alexander Sims and Kris Loane in sessions one and two respectively. Stoneman sat out sessions one and two on Thursday, which both saw Adam Christodoulou lead the way. Stoneman then returned to the top of the times is session three.
Joining the registered Formula Renault UK Championship drivers on Wednesday were Kazuki Hiramine and Chris Chubb, who tested with Team Filsell Motorsport in UK-spec cars. Nine Formula Renault BARC Championship drivers also tested, with Hillspeed's Menasheh Idafar (London) setting the pace at 1min 05.859s (106.69mph) after removing the engine restrictor that is in place for championship rounds. Triple D's Nathan Coulter (Hillsborough) was second with Welch Motorsport's Kourosh Khani (Corby). Apotex Scorpio Motorsport's Ollie Hancock (Hook), who leads the BARC Championship standings, drove a UK-spec car and was classified 16th overall, 0.696s behind Stoneman's best.
Commenting on his pace-setting performance, Riki Christodoulou said: "It's been frustrating during yesterday and this morning but I'm really happy to come back and set the fastest time. The team did a great job fixing the car and I tried to keep cool and approach the last session in a professional way, focussed on doing my job.
"Having three races at the next event, and with pole position for round 10, gives me a chance to close the gap on Adam if I can reproduce this pace. I need race wins now to get into the title battle and that's what I'll be aiming for."
Qualifying for rounds 13 and 14 take place on Saturday, 12th July followed by round 10. Sunday, 13th July sees rounds 13 and 14 in support of the British Touring Car Championship, with live television coverage on ITV4.