Like the U18 World Championship, competition for the CIK-FIA Academy Trophy also began in Portugal. Selected by the Motor Sports Association (MSA) of Great Britain, George Russell and Alex Gill were among the favourites for the event. And true to form they cheerfully dominated the first Race! With the best start, from pole position, Russell was directly followed by his compatriot, fourth on the grid.
by CIK P.O.
Never more than a second apart, the two took a 7-second lead on those behind them, with Russell maintaining his lead to take the chequered flag. Behind the untouchable duo, the Finn Joonas Lappalainen just held off the Spaniard Javier Cobian for the last place on the podium. Penalised for jumping the start, the Belgian Amaury Bonduel fell back from 5th to 16th place, leaving Top 10 honours to the Norwegian Martin Ellegard, the Italian Mattia Drudi, the Australian James Abela, the French Driver Adeline Prudent (in 3rd place after two laps), the Frenchman Erwan Julé and the Dutchman Stan Pex. Second after the Qualifying Heats, the Pole Adrian Rozycki managed no better than 13th place.
As straightforward as the first Race might have been, the second was far from uneventful. First of all George Russell was unable to begin the warm-up lap, the Briton finally starting well behind the pack to finish 16th. So Alex Gill took control and throughout the Race resisted Joonas Lappalainen. However Alex was then excluded for a technical infringement (an unauthorised spark plug). Lappalainen therefore took the points for his win, and at the same time a lead in the Trophy ahead of the Spaniard Javier Cobian, second in Race 2, and the Norwegian Martin Ellegard, who took the points for 3rd place following Gill’s penalty. Amaury Bonduel was excluded for non-sporting conduct, so Adeline Prudent finished in 4th position ahead of the Dutchman Martijn Van Leeuwen, the Australian James Abela, the Frenchman Paolo Besancenez, the Estonian Frank Merilaht, the Swiss Felix Hirsiger and the Portuguese Bruno Oliveira.
So the next encounter is in Angerville, from 24 to 26 August, for the second round of a competition which will end in Bahrain on 10 November. It appears that some drivers will be looking for revenge when they arrive at the French circuit. What a show it promises to be!
DOWNLOAD THE OVERALL STANDINGS BELOW