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May 12, 2014 - 11:37 AM
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George Russell Racing Newsletter
Posted by: newsla on May 12, 2014 - 11:37 AM
George Russell Racing Newsletter

British talent on form on street-circuit debut in Formula Renault ALPS

George Russell emerged from a dramatic weekend in the Formula Renault ALPS series with a strong fourth-place finish on the twisty Pau street circuit in France.


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The 16-year-old up-and-coming talent did an excellent job in his first-ever street race to score more points with the Koiranen GP team.

Russell was third fastest in his qualifying group, just 0.179 seconds off the pace of polesitter Nyck de Vries. That put him fifth on the grid.

“It’s a really, really good circuit,” said Russell. “It’s very tricky in the high-speed section, and being my first street track it’s a completely different ballgame to what I’m used to. Also, we only had one practice session before qualifying.”

“On my first set of tyres in qualifying it was going really well. I got my head down and I was fastest from the second lap, and it stayed that way for half the session. When I came out on my second set there were a lot of drivers in front so I had to slow down and do a cool-down lap and try again. That wasn’t ideal but I don’t think it affected my position too much. What’s more important is that I’m losing time in the first sector – in the second and third sectors [the most challenging on the circuit] I’m quicker than the pole time.”

Wisbech racer Russell moved up to fourth place on the fifth lap when a car ahead spun, but then he picked up damage to his left-front wing. That made it extremely difficult to handle the car on a circuit with predominantly right-hand corners, and he had to fight with all his might to fend off fellow Briton Ben Barnicoat for fourth.

“I made a really good start but there wasn’t enough room to move up any positions,” he said. “I had 14 laps without my front wing, I was losing 2.5 seconds a lap and the drivers behind caught me up, and it was a real struggle to fight them off! I was even having to lift off at the kinks that are easily flat usually. So I’m really pleased to take fourth.”

Unfortunately, George didn’t even get to start the second race from the grid as a suspected clutch failure meant he was wheeled into the pit lane.

“On the lap to the grid I heard some clicking noises from the gearbox, like something was trapped or loose,” he said. “On the grid the engine wouldn’t start – my engineer told me that happens when there’s a problem with the clutch. They did get it going again and I did one lap, but then I lost all power. If only I’d been able to start the race properly, with all the accidents I’d probably have finished in the top two.”

Nevertheless, Russell retains his third place in the championship heading to the next round, at Austria’s Red Bull Ring on 24th/25th May. In the meantime, he will be defending his points lead in the BRDC Formula 4 Championship at Brands Hatch next weekend on 17th/18th May.

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