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03.04.2008

Alesi / Alzen:locked in battle!

With the Speedcar Series inaugural season at the halfway stage Jean Alesi and Uwe Alzen have pulled out a lead over their rivals.

They have each scored two victories, so the Frenchman and the German look odds-on title favourites. With just a week to go to the final round on the Dubai circuit, will one of the two drivers pull out a decisive advantage in Bahrain?

Only 5 points separate Alesi and Alzen but their scorecard is not the same. Jean set 1 pole and scored his 2 victories in the opening races at Sentul and Sepang, while Uwe took advantage of the inverted grids to rack up his successes.

In terms of sheer performance, pride of place goes to the French driver with 201 F1 grand prix under his belt. But he remains circumspect. "What’s obvious is that I want to win the Series. With the inverted grid rule for the second race you have to be very careful and calculating, and not get involved in any scraps to avoid accidents. A retirement could be a disaster, as you don’t open up much of a gap by winning a race. Caution is the watchword where I’m concerned!"

While Uwe Alzen does not enjoy the same reputation as Alesi, he is a redoubtable competitor who has mhoned his skills in over 15 seasons in the most prestigious touring car championships: ITC, DTM, Porsche Supercup etc.

The Phoenix Racing Team did not take long to find out how Speedcar Series works. Alzen bearing the ACI colours is as quick as he is reliable, but he now has to beat Alesi fair and square if he wants to pull out a decisive advantage.

Just a few lengths behind, 2 drivers are still in with a chance of obtaining a good final result. Johnny Herbert and David Terrien both scored their first podium finishes at Sepang. Obviously, as they are 13 and 15 points respectively behind Alesi it will be difficult to close the gap in 4 races, but an upset can never be ruled out if the leaders trip up. Mathias Lauda is also well placed although his absence this weekend to contend in DTM will probably drop him out of the battle.

The other drivers will have different aims because of their positions in the overall classification. Ananda Mikola, who was very quick on home turf in Indonesia, confirmed his pace in Malaysia. Stefan Johansson and Gianni Morbidelli, part of the squabbling midfield pack, have not yet managed to bag a lot of points.

A close eye should also be kept on Hasher al Maktoum’s progress. He is the least experienced driver in the championship, and has driven steady races so far, which indicate considerable potential.

For the moment the First Centreville Team is the one that has met with the least success. Fabien Giroix and Nicolas Navarro have not yet managed to score convincing results despite their excellent performance level.

The situation is a bit more complicated for drivers who arrived midseason. They will have to go pedal to the metal to try and close the gap to the Series’ top dogs! After

the Malaysian weekend JJ Lehto, Alex Yoong and Marchy Lee were happy as they managed to find several seconds extra pace during the course of the meeting. They realise, though, that they still have a long, hard struggle ahead of them to score that elusive podium finish.

 

POSITIONS AFTER SEPANG

DRIVER POINTS

1 Jean Alesi 34 =

2 Uwe Alzen 29 =

3 Johnny Herbert 21 ä

4 David Terrien 19 =

5 Mathias Lauda 18 æ

6 Ananda Mikola 11 =

7 Nicolas Navarro 7 ä

8 Stefan Johannson 6 ä

9 Klaus Ludwig 5 æ

10 Gianni Morbidelli 4 ä 

 

Tell us about your first weekend...

JJ Lehto: "I’d never driven a car like that before! I spent all my time trying to tame the understeer; it’s something I really dislike. I tried different driving styles and we also tried to change the set-up. I’ve still got to find an extra second per lap to be able to battle with the front-runners. The ambience is really great. You see a lot of well-know faces and everybody seems to love being there."

Alex Yoong: "I had a technical problem on Friday and I qualified at the back of the grid. We weren’t able to work on the setup and that penalised me in the races. I did my best for what was a learning weekend. In any case, the car favours the spectacle on the track as well as overtaking. It’s great fun to drive."

Marchy Lee: "I had a very busy weekend as I was also racing in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. The Speedcar’s completely new for me and I feel like I have to start learning from scratch! There are so many good drivers at the start, and that it makes things all the more difficult. I feel confident that I can progress in the coming races."

 

Speedcar Series -Anila Ratnam- J. Roussel, D. Waldron





Author: maggy (admin2)
Last modified: Thursday, 03.04.2008 - 12:29
More reports from this category all copyright automobilsport.com.

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