GLORY FOR RIKI CHRISTODOULOU AS ADAM FALTERS Fortec Motorsport's Riki Christodoulou (Sutton Coldfield) took his second win of the season in round eight of the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship. His cousin and championship leader...
GLORY FOR RIKI CHRISTODOULOU AS ADAM FALTERS
Fortec Motorsport's Riki Christodoulou (Sutton Coldfield) took his second win of the season in round eight of the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship. His cousin and championship leader Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) could only manage 16th after being penalised for a false start. Apotex Scorpio Motorsport's Josh Scott (Loughborough) had a fantastic to race to second from seventh on the grid, while Manor Competition's Alexander Sims (Peterborough) out-did that effort by storming from 13th to third.
The race saw a major incident on lap three when CR Scuderia Formula Renault's Ryuji Yamamoto (Milton Keynes) made contact with Fortec's James Calado (Cropthorne) and flipped over, sliding on the car's roll hoop before rolling to a halt. The strength of the Formula Renault 2.0 car was shown to be of the highest standard as the Japanese immediately got out of his car and was in relatively good spirits after the race.
The duo were running behind Eurotek Motorsport's Jordan Oakes (Hopton) but he spun at Village causing Calado to ease off the throttle. Yamamoto gained quickly but clipped Calado as he tried to pass, losing part of his front wing in the process before the second contact that caused the accident.
Lap two also saw Manor Competition's Kris Loane (Kesh) and Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton) retire from the race after contact at the Complex. Loane ran onto the grass after rubbing wheels with Fortec's Oli Webb (Knutsford), returning to the track to collect the luckless Stoneman, who received a generous round of applause from his home fans at the Hampshire venue.
Prior to those incidents, which brought out the Safety Car for five laps, Australian racer Scott made a blistering start to lie third at the end of lap one ahead of Oakes. Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton) initially challenged Oakes for fourth but fell back to seventh by the end of the lap.
Adam Christodoulou led from Riki but was issued with a drive through penalty for a false start. Before he had a chance to take it, the Safety Car was introduced and although he came in, he was forced to re-serve it once the Safety Car had been withdrawn, relegating him to the back of the field along with Calado who pitted to replace a punctured tyre.
At the resumption on lap nine, Sims passed Scott for second while Oakes and Fortec's Adriano Buzaid (Oxford) scrapped for fourth. The following lap saw Apotex Scorpio Motorsport's Sho Hanawa (Watford) pass Manor's Henry Surtees (Lingfield) for seventh on the run up Woodham Hill. Riki Christodoulou set the fastest lap to that point to double his advantage over Scott to 1.2s.
As Scott and Sims battled for second, Buzaid looked to take advantage in fourth. Calado continued his recovery drive moving up to 13th on lap 12, while CR Scuderia's Sten Pentus (Bardon) cut the Club chicane but remained in 10th. The following lap saw Pentus' team-mate Scott Jenkins (Bristol) spin at Goodwood but skilfully recover to lie 13th allowing Calado up to 12th.
Scott made his first serious attempt to pass Sims at the Complex on lap 14 of the extended 19-lap race but ran wide and lost momentum. On the following tour Scott did make the move stick, running through the trio of corners at Campbell, Cobb and Segrave to emerge in second. Meanwhile, in last place, Adam Christodoulou set the fastest lap of the race at 1min10.313s (120.62mph) and establish a new lap record.
Calado reached the top 10 on lap 17 by passing Apotex Scorpio's Kieren Clark (Royston), who had himself climbed from 17th on the grid. The pair each gained a place on the last lap when Surtees ran slowly through the Complex and lost four places to finish 11th.
For Riki Christodoulou it was a trouble-free race that allows him to close the gap on cousin Adam at the top of the drivers' standings. Commenting after the race, Riki said: "I must say I thought Adam jumped the start and it's always nice to see the car in front of you pull into the pits. At the restart I tried not to look in my mirrors and just get my head down. By the end of the race I could use it as a test session, trying different lines, because my lead was quite big. It's a great way to end the weekend and hopefully I can repeat it at Croft, which is one of my favourite tracks."
Second-placed Josh Scott said: "I've been getting good starts all year but this one was great. I passed two cars by the first corner and two more at the Complex where I went to the inside and found some grip. Alexander defended brilliantly when he got past me but I got him back in the end. The car felt great all through the race and it's a really positive step for me."
Third-placed Alexander Sims said: "I made up a lot of places early on with a good run through Goodwood and up Woodham Hill. It's a shame about the first race (where Alexander finished seventh) and it turned into damage limitation but I'm getting fed up of driving damage limitation races. We're hanging in there in the championship and hopefully we can find good pace at Croft."
Rounds nine and 10 of the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship take place at North Yorkshire's Croft circuit on 31st May/1st June. One week later the championship will see its highest crowd of the season at the UK round of the World Series by Renault at Silverstone Grand Prix circuit on 7th/8th June.