UK WCS: Carl Skerlong Brands Hatch race notes

Skerlong Fifth in Winter Series Following UK Debut Mukilteo, Washington (November 06, 2006) -- Carl Skerlong's 2006 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Winter Championship campaign kicked off Sunday 5th November with the 18-year-old ...

Skerlong Fifth in Winter Series Following UK Debut

Mukilteo, Washington (November 06, 2006) -- Carl Skerlong's 2006 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Winter Championship campaign kicked off Sunday 5th November with the 18-year-old Washington-native quickly earmarking himself as a front-runner finishing the opening two rounds at Brands Hatch with seventh and fifth place points scoring finishes respectively. Carl, the reigning Formula TR Pro Series 2000 Champion, now sits fifth overall in the Driver Standings with 36 points heading to Croft on Saturday 11th November for Rounds 3 and 4 of the four-race winter series.

The Fortec Motorsport racer turned his first laps on the 1.9km Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on Friday before Saturday's 20-minute qualifying session set the grid for Rounds 1 and 2 on Sunday, each driver's fastest time used for the first race with their second best time used to set the field for the second event. Carl's fastest lap placed him tenth on the grid for Round 1 while his next best was good enough to bump him up a spot into ninth for Round 2 from the 26-strong field competing at the weekend.

Set to take a standing start for the first time in his career, under a brilliant winter sky Carl fired himself off the start-line with ease following a delayed start to proceedings. Wasting little time in passing his Fortec team-mate Riki Christodoulou into Paddock Hill bend, the American racer soon found himself sitting seventh following an off by Alexander Sims and a pass on Team AKA's Adriano Buzaid. The front-runners then held station throughout the 17-lap sprint with France's Franck Mailleux taking the checkered flag ahead of the Fortec pairing of Richard Keen and Niall Breen.

While he crossed the line in seventh, but set to score points for sixth as sixth place finisher Martin Ragginger isn't eligible for championship points racing in the series under an international license, a post-race penalty for allegedly passing under yellows saw Carl dropped a spot to eighth while claiming points for seventh.

Fired up from his penalty and with an improved starting position Carl again rocketed off the line at the start of Round 2. A feisty opening lap performance from the Fortec teenager was rewarded with a gain of three positions on the sweeping Indy Circuit. Carl then climbed to fifth on lap 7 and held top-five for a handful of laps until a hard-charging Alexander Sims slipped by for the position. Carl then cemented sixth through to the checkered flag on lap 18, his on-track result bringing a fifth place points haul as once again Ragginger, who finished fourth, isn't eligible to score. Franck Mailleux earned his second win of the day ahead of Ireland's Niall Breen and Britain's Jordan Oakes.

Looking back on a productive introduction to European open-wheel racing Carl commented:

"I didn't get a whole load of time on the track before qualifying but for my first time here I think top-ten was respectable and a positive reflection on the relationship I'm building with the team. Being new to the series I didn't want to protest my penalty too much so while it was disappointing to lose a spot after the race we just sucked it up and concentrated on the second race and came away with a fifth place points score from that. Overall it was a good weekend and I'm sitting fifth in the points which is encouraging heading to Croft this Saturday for the final two races."

-credit: www.cskerlong.com

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Series Formula Renault
Drivers Martin Ragginger , Niall Breen , Franck Mailleux , Carl Skerlong , Alexander Sims , Adriano Buzaid , Riki Christodoulou